Tuesday, 26 May 2015


Yesterday, I went to the Surrey show. I love to see the donkey judging and was pleased to see this lady’s donkey win second prize. I photographed her last year as I like the way she seems to be almost at one with her donkey and the ‘retro’ clothes take you back to an earlier time.
I came across her in the paddock area and got chatting. Although the looks a bit stern in this photo she was very friendly and obviously loved her animals. This year she had a young colt and at the judging I could see its behaviour was ‘challenging.’ She looked distracted like a Mum with an errant child but she just walked the donkey round in a circle each time it misbehaved.
I asked her if donkeys every really knew who their owner was and if presented with a new one whether they would immediately adopt the new boss. She said that after a while working with a donkey they get used to your voice. They will not immediately accept a new voice.

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;

John 10. 27

Monday, 30 March 2015

Nearly there

As we come to the end of Lent it might be worth having a quick look at what fasting is about. There is so much confusion. It is not a total giving up of food. It is not a hunger strike. St John Chrysostom says fasting has two functions: the first 'is to break our attachment to material things. There is nothing wrong with such pleasure ( food ) but when we do without food we are reminded that the only true and lasting source of joy is spiritual.' Secondly it is to express solidarity with the poor and urge us to generosity.

Bishop Kallistos tells a story of when he was the more modestly named Peter Ware and an undergraduate in digs. He told his landlady of his fasting. One day enquiring what he could or could not eat the landlady shouted up the stairs, 'Mr. Ware, are you still on your diet?'

Friday, 30 January 2015

Look before you leap

A while back I had to paint my floor. I did it in sections to allow for moving the furniture and allowing me a way out. I was expecting my cat to walk all over the wet areas and leave paw prints like film stars leave footprints in concrete. However, he impressed me as he carefully trod only on the dry sections. Donkeys have a name for being stubborn but they also have a highly developed sense of survival and if someone wants them to do something risky on a mountain pass they won’t. Looking ahead is important. We usually learn the hard way. 
As Christians the perils for us are often unseen: pride, self delusion, despondency, apostasy and other hidden dangers. These need the eyes of faith and some good Christian buddies too. Fortunately we can see many of the dangers ahead.

The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty. Proverbs 22.3.