Sunday 4th. January, 2015 – Back home and off to church 

Now I took this picture yesterday but I wanted to share it today. It is, I believe, one of the most beautiful stretches of the Leeds Liverpool canal and is part of the stretch between Barnoldswick (where the Young Rachel is moored) and Salterforth (to where Mix and I like to wander in the morning if we aren’t setting off on a cruise). As I approached this section yesterday morning I was hoping that there would be no one walking along the tow path so that I could take a picture. But what I saw was Rachel and Mix coming towards us – they had got up a little later than us and were approaching Salterforth as we were returning from there. But enough of that, even on such a dull, dark morning this stretch of canal retains its charm

Rose early and showered before walking Mix. It was back to old routes along the road towards Swinton. After breakfast Mum, Rachel and I set off to church at Gavinton where the surprise was to discover that Ann, our minister, was indisposed and so the service was taken by Bill, a retired minister who lives right next door to the Church. He had obviously been called in at the last minute (Ann had chosen the hymns and so on) and of course, did very well.

We sang ‘We three Kings’ – I think that everyone sings ‘We three Kings’ – and I really cannot understand why this carol is neither in our current hymn book nor in the one before this one. I don’t want to defend every word in it, I wouldn’t like to defend every word of many hymns, but it is so loved, used and is part of Epiphany for so many, that it really ought to be in our hymn book. It also really grasps the meaning of Epiphany and makes sense of the wise-men's gifts for folk who maybe haven't had it all explained to them! And it will certainly use fewer words to do that.

Back home, Mum dined with Rachel and me in the granary (on a fish-pie left by Olive). Olive and Digger had gone to Edinburgh to return luggage to Jeffrey and Devon. In the afternoon I sorted out the bits and pieces that had escaped me while I was away and then I started on the spare room in the Granary – Rachel was working in a similar fashion on our bedroom.

In the evening Rachel went to Berwick to attend the Epiphany communion service while I continued with the spare room and kept an eye on the dogs. On her return we had a snack and then watched Foyle’s War (a new series and every bit as good as the last one) before walking the dogs. Rachel retired to bed and I took in another morning’s play at Wellington before joining her.

I must record something quite surprising: On the Young Rachel, snug and warm in bed, I woke about three having had a bit of a nightmare. I dreamed that the wooden gate at Mount Pleasant had got opened and that the dogs had escaped. Of course as soon as I came to I realised that the dogs were on the bed with me and that it had just been a dream. But on our return last night, when we went out to walk the dogs I said to Rachel, ‘Let’s go and look at the gate’. And sure enough it had been damaged and was open enough at the bottom to allow a dog to escape. Today after Church the first thing we did was to screw it all together again. So the dogs are safe. But I thought it all quite strange!


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