Do not go gentle into that good night

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rage at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightening they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Dylan Thomas

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Joy in a life well lived

“After we passed our eightieth birthdays, we had to admit that the days of our autumn had arrived. We had lived together long lives of interest and adventure; in many ways we knew they were complete. Younger folk were coming along to take our places. Life was good and we still enjoyed it; but we recognised that each day was a bonus, to be accepted with grateful thanks. As the fires of life sank lower, we knew that the bonus days must end, and the life-long partnership must close. When after increasing weakness the time came for my wife to leave us, grief was lost in the joy of a life well lived and thankfulness for the many years it had been shared with mine.”

William G Sewell, 1982

Taken from Quaker Faith and Practice

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Connor spots a grasshopper

Mr Monopoly
Mr Monopoly

Sunday is a catch-up sort of day.  Most Sundays tend to be a mixture of catch-up on all the chores I either don’t have time for or am too dog-tired to do during the working week, and a catch-up on the week’s events in the press, or reading friend’s blogs to find out what has been happening elsewhere in the worlds. I usually try to find time to catch up on some reading, casting a sidelong glance at the piles of unread books, and there is always time for a more sustained walk with the dogs.  This Sunday after an unusual lie-in, there was barely time for toast and coffee before my nephew and his family arrived.  Thinking of having a quiet relaxing day?  Think again.

The dogs are not used to children, Max, in particular, is wary of their interest in him and tries to prevent any intimacy by a series of growls and barks all administered from a safe distance.  Heidi is more forgiving and allows the pampering as long as it does not get too forceful.  The two eldest boys are fond of dogs and know how to approach them.  Connor, the youngest lad, has always been more apprehensive about them and he tends to keep his distance.  The two older boys had come over to help their great-granddad in the garden by weeding out a strawberry patch and picking the abundance of apples and plums from the fruit trees.

So while they were working in the garden I encouraged a reluctant Connor to join me on a dog walk, he eventually agreed but only on the condition that we went as far as the tree and back.  I agreed, but the loophole in the agreement was that he had failed to specify which tree.  Dogs leashed up and ready to go, we made out of the garden, up the street towards the Church, past the parked cars and across the road towards the open field.  As we walked past the Veterinary Surgery, Connor asked if I was going to buy sugar. Puzzled by this I answered no, and why was he asking. He pointed to the vets and said because we were going to a sugary.  Well where else would you get sugar if not a sugary

The conversation ranged from killing zombies in a tree, to cubs and falling in mud and what happens when you pick dandelions.  Some of the finer details of the conversation, I must admit, were lost on me, thought I do recall being given quite precise details on what to do with a zombies brain. We stopped and listened to the bird song and I tried to identify individual calls.  Connor could hear, where I could not, the chirruping of a grasshopper in the long grass.  We looked vainly for this well hidden creature before continuing on the path spotting spiders, minute moths and damselflies on the way.

There is an abundance of berries on the bushes and trees this year we noticed as we stopped to examine the nuts and seed on a fir.  Connor picked a dandelion, blew their seeds into the air, watched them parachute away and made a wish.  I suspect that his wish that Heidi’s leg would grow back is likely to remain unfulfilled.

We walked through a strip of conifered woodland, which once stood as a barrier to keep the game birds in for rich folk to shoot for fun and profit – happy to say the shoot is no more. Once out of the woods we walked across a corn field and it was here that Connor spotted the grasshopper.  Again he heard it before I did.  He crouched down and peered into the grass by the hedgerow and there on a blade was the grasshopper.  Well spotted Connor  Unfortunately the grasshopper was camera shy and hopped away before I could get the camera out.

DSCF1044 (2)Overhead we could hear rooks, wood pigeons and the rival clicks of a pair of robins from across the field.  And high above the mewing of a buzzard.


Returning home we had to wait for the traffic to clear before we could cross the road.

While waiting to cross I reminded Connor of one of the local names for dandelion.

And back in the garden the boys were busy digging away.

The dogs decided to stay and supervise.