Friday, 30 November 2012

Friday's Five - 1 Peter 2 v 9-10

1 Peter 2 v 9-10

But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests,  a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.
 “Once you had no identity as a people;
now you are God’s people.
Once you received no mercy;
now you have received God’s mercy.”

This week Friday’s five is the five truths about our new position in Christ.

Christ is the center of everything.

He is the author and finisher of our faith.

Grace is NOT a doctrine it is a person and that person is Christ.

We receive Christ and accept all his finished work through the cross; he floods us with all of heavens riches. 

We get the inheritance that Jesus deserved.

1 Peter chapter 2 is a wonderful picture of all the grace that God showers upon because of Christ.

A Chosen People – We have become God’s people, his choice, and his wonderful children. He loves us, totally, fully, and eternally and he is overwhelming with bountiful blessings towards us.

We are Royal Priests – Every believer in the New Covenant is a Royal Priest. Jesus is the mediator of the New Covenant and his sacrifice at Calvary was a once and for all time sacrifice that cleansed us from all sin, all unrighteousness. We can now boldly enter the presence of God that dwells inside of us.  Our priesthood is through Christ and is therefore holy and righteous and is perfect.

A Holy Nation – We are a holy people. We have been made holy and we are seated with Christ in heavenly places. Holiness is not something we try to attain by abstaining from sin. Holiness is a free gift from God through Christ and is something we walk in as part of out new creation spirit. We live holy because we are holy.

Show the Goodness of God – God is good to us every second we live. He only gives us good things and never allows any evil to come to us. We are united with Christ and live with the goodness of God in our spirit. Goodness and mercy follow us all the days of our life.

Into his wonderful light – We are no longer in darkness but are in the full, bright, wonderful light of the New Covenant. God is light and in him is no darkness. He lives inside me and I am united with him. His light shines and radiates through my being and life.

We have received the wonderful mercy of God.

Once we were aliens, wanderers, those afar from God, separate from his righteousness.

Now we are sons, inheritors of all God’s riches, royal priest, holy, overflowing with the goodness and light of God.

All through Christ and his righteousness and we did not deserve any of it.

Thursday, 29 November 2012


The free gift of his righteousness
The deep ocean of his loving goodness
The riches of his gracious hand
The enjoyment of the Promised Land
The stronghold of my father’s embrace
The satisfaction as we behold his face

The blessings on me that are showered
The torrent of the spirit towards me powered
The thought that God should love me
The spirit living and making me free
The passion raging inside my heart
The fullness of Christ in my every part.

As I put on the belt of truth
As I cast off the lies of my youth
As I lose the desires of the past
As I revel in your sacrifice at last
As I leave my sin buried without a trace
As I live in the waterfall of your grace

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Bygone Times - Pink Panther Candy Bar

A Strawberry flavoured candy bar.

It was amazing.

Bright pink but it tasted of heaven.

Pocket money was more than often spent on a ‘Pink Panther’ bar and another chocolate bar. Usually an  ‘Amazin’ bar.

I loved the creamy strawberry flavour; there was something opulent about the experience. 

You almost felt like royalty.

Even the bright pink colour felt somehow all right, no one made any ‘girly’ comments about it.

When it was finally taken off the market, i was older and had moved on the other delights

But there will always be a place for ‘Pink Panther’ chocolate in my heart.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Tuesday's Track - Cornerstone by Hillsong

We sang this song at church last Sunday

What an amazing, truth filled song

“My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus Blood and Righteousness”

Everything, everything is in Christ and is by His blood and His righteousness.

Amazing grace

Amazing God

In Christ Alone

“The weak made strong, in the Savior’s love.”

My hope is built on nothing less
than Jesus' blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
but wholly trust in Jesus' name

Christ alone, Cornerstone
Weak made strong, in the Savior's love
Through the storm
He is Lord, Lord of All

When darkness seems to hide His face
I rest on His unchanging grace
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil

My anchor holds within the veil

He is Lord, Lord of all

Then He shall come with trumpets sound
Oh, may I then in Him be found
Dressed in His righteousness alone
faultless, stand before the throne 

Monday, 26 November 2012

Grace Notes - Matthew 8 v 14

Matthew 8:14; "When Jesus came into Peter's house He saw Peter's mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. He touched her hand and the fever left her". .

The New Covenant is the Covenant of Grace.

It is Christ taking our punishment, sins, sickness and the curse upon himself and nailing it to the cross.

When Christ dies in my place on the cross, every guilt and condemnation died with him.

When Christ was raised into new life, I was raised into new life in him.

He died in my place so I could receive all the riches of heaven made by grace.

A free gift, a done deal, a once and for all time sacrifice.

Before the cross, healing had to be earned and granted. After the cross, Christ paid for my healing and it is available to me through his mercy and by his grace.

Rob Rufus explains how the cross changed everything and the great exchange that took place.

"He healed ALL the sick". Scripture must interpret Scripture and the Scripture is going to tell us why He heals all and why it is ALWAYS His will to heal ALL. "This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah; He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases". That is Isaiah 53. Now Isaiah 53 is the place where He took our sin away and the punishment for our peace was upon Him. So Isaiah 53 speaks about all our diseases, sickness, pain being taken away at the Cross where Christ was MADE sickness for us at the same place that He was made our sin. Yet today in the church if you ask someone - if someone comes to Jesus and says; "Lord forgive my sins" would He say; "No it is not My will to forgive your sins?". No! Of course He wants to forgive your sins! Yet the majority of the Church is not convinced that He wants to heal ALL our diseases.

He has already healed all our diseases at the same place He was made sin and forgave us all our sins! Psalm 103; "who forgives all our iniquities and heals ALL your diseases!". He says to the man who was lame and the Pharisees judging Him; "What is easier to say your sins are forgiven you or take up your bed and walk?". Both happen at the Cross and He was speaking about it before it happened at the Cross! So for people to question God's will for healing they should then question God's will to forgive! Because at the same time sin and disease were both dealt with by Jesus at the Cross! It is God's will to save every person on this planet! But everyone doesn't believe! It is God's will to heal ALL that are sick.

There is faith in saying God is able but EVERYONE knows that God is able!

This is the New Covenant! Jesus died to ratify your rights as inheritors and joint equal heirs with God and then He rose from the dead as our heavenly lawyer to make sure it is prosecuted by the power of the Spirit! It is the will of God to heal everyone! But everyone doesn't get healed - because of the Nazareth syndrome. Jesus said "I have come down from heaven to do My Father's will".

In Nazareth the will of God - Perfect Theology - couldn't get everyone healed! Why? Because of their unbelief.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Mercy and Grace

This excellent post is from Sparrow Girl at the wonderful blog Under the Waterfall of Grace.

Mercy is when we don't get the punishment we deserve..Grace is when we get the glorious wonders that Jesus deserves!

Mercy is when God sees us and loves us in our misery and lifts us out of it..Grace is when He sets us up as rich royal children in His own household!

Mercy means we are pitied in our poverty...Grace means we are made rich in Christ!

Mercy is when we don't get cursed by the law...Grace is when we get blessed with the blessing of Abraham and his seed, Jesus!

Mercy is when we are forgiven..Grace is when we are given the very righteousness of Christ!

Mercy is when God made us to die to the law...Grace is when God made us alive in Christ!

Mercy is when we are not forgotten in our pain..Grace is when we are healed of the pain and wounds!

Mercy is when we are cared for in our brokenness...Grace is when we are made complete and whole!

Mercy is when we don't get hell...Grace is when we get heaven!

Mercy is when God doesn't treat us as our failures deserve...Grace is when God treats us the same as He treats Jesus!

Mercy is God fending off the curse...Grace is God piling on the blessing!

Mercy is when God pities us in our sinfulness...Grace is when God loves us just as much as He loves His own dear Son!

Mercy means He won't reject us even when we mess up...Grace means He accepts us as He accepts Jesus!

Mercy means He won't leave us when we're down...Grace means He'll hold us up and lead us in triumph and keep us to the end!

I'm still learning about the facets of mercy and wonderful is God, who shows us both!

By Sparrow Girl

Friday, 23 November 2012

Friday's Five - Psalm 145 v 17-20.

Psalm 145:17-20
The Lord is righteous in everything he does;
he is filled with kindness.
The Lord is close to all who call on him,
yes, to all who call on him in truth.
He grants the desires of those who fear him;
he hears their cries for help and rescues them.
The Lord protects all those who love him,
but he destroys the wicked.

Friday’s  Five this week looks at Psalm 145 v 17-20.

Everything provided by grace is available to every person alive.
No one is excluded.

We can all have the riches of heaven, the fullness of Christ living inside of us.

Just by accepting his finished work and receiving all he has given by his favour.

Faith is my ‘Thank You’ to all he has freely given.

Here in Psalm 145 we have great promises and gifts all through the lenses of the New Covenant.

The Lord is Righteous in everything he does, he is filled with kindness – Righteousness is a free gift from God. I DO NOT have to seek after righteousness; I have received righteousness through God’s kindness and mercy towards me. I am eternal righteous. God sees me permanently as righteous. He is not counting my sins against me. Sin does NOT separate me from the blessings of God.

The Lord is close to those who call on him – Now we are untied with Christ and he lives inside of us and works through us. We have died to our old self and now we are alive to Christ. He has promised never to leave us or forsake us, so we can be assured of his presence in us as long as we draw breath. Just relax and enjoy the presence of God.

He grants the desires of those who fear him – God births his desires in your Spirit. Your spirit is motivated by the heartbeat of God. Live in the fullness of his grace and let God work through you in all you do. His desires will become your desires, effortlessly.

He hears their cries for help and rescues them – Whatever situation in life you face, God is right there with you and has provided the answer for it through his grace. He is constantly good, kind, generous and wants you to enjoy fullness of the new life that connects you to Him. Receive his help, cast you hope and life on his grace and give up trying to please God in your own effort. God is eternally pleased with you; let his grace flood through your life.

The Lord protects all those who love him – Now in the New Covenant, God’s protection on my life is because he has loved me and has reconciled me to himself through Christ. I am protected; my spirit is united with Christ. I am eternally saved and blessed.  Goodness and mercy follow me all the days of my life, as a free gift.

Amazing grace flows bountifully towards my life. Every moment, every day it is all there available to me.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Thankful In The Park

Thank you lord

For friendly people

Who walking their dogs

Stop and chat

And share the moment

Bless you lord

For the wind

That carries butterflies

On unseen currents

And captures the moment


Praise you lord

For children playing

Who beam with joy

And carefree laughter

And enjoy the moment


Bless you lord

For shades of green

That fills me with wonder

And catches my eye

And steals the moment


Thank you lord

For my wife

Who sits beside me

And holds my hand

And shares the moment

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Forgotten Hero's - Elizabeth Macdonald

Queen Elisabeth Medal (M├ędaille de la Reine Elizabeth) 

Elizabeth Macdonald (nee Morgan) along with Dr. Bruce, Medical Superintendent of the Western Hospital, Fulham, helped establish the Belgian Refugee Depot at Earl’s Court in October 1914. She was awarded the ‘Medaille de la Reine Elizabeth’ for her humanitarian work.

She died in 1951, the British Nursing Journal honoured her with the following obituary in May 1951, page 45.

“AFTER MANY MONTHS OF ILLNESS, patiently borne, Elizabeth Macdonald (nee Morgan), widow of the late Rev. D. Macdonald, passed to her rest on February 14th, 1951.

She received her training at Marylebone Infirmary, London, and after some administrative experience at the London Fever Hospital, was appointed Matron of the Northern Hospital, Winchmore Hill, London, N., an office she held with distinction for more than twenty years, and which she relinquished in 1917, on her marriage to the Rev. Duncan Macdonald, then Minister of the Established Church of Scotland, at Swinton, Berwickshire.

Elizabeth Macdonald was an able supporter of the Scheme, inaugurated in 1907, for State recognition of Fever Nurses, and ever an eager worker, she became the first Secretary of this progressive movement for the benefit of the sick; burning much midnight oil in this cause.

In 1914, in recognition of her splendid work, when she was deputed, in the First World War, to take office in an organizing capacity at the Belgian Refugee Camp at Earls Court, she received from the late King Albert of the Belgians, the Queen Elisabeth Medal (M├ędaille de la Reine Elizabeth) and one hundred pounds.

In her last and surprisingly legible letter, written only a few weeks before her death, alluding to her impaired sight, crumpled hand, and the loss of many dear friends, but always looking for the bright side, she remarks :

“However, I’m very happy here, only lonely!” How sad for her who loved life and people!

It is a great consolation to know how grateful she was end how comforted by the care and kindness bestowed on her by the Matron and Staff of the beautiful Crail Nursing Home, Fife.

We who knew her feel deeply, that in the passing of Elizabeth Macdonald’s bright and courageous soul, the world, is, indeed, the poorer."

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Grace Notes - Luke 22 v 51

Luke 22:51 "And Jesus answered and said, don’t resist anymore. And he touched his ear, and healed him."

Calvary was God’s ultimate and final word to a fallen world.

At the cross Christ paid the price for reconciliation, that act of atonement included forgiveness of sins and healing of all our sicknesses.

Every person Jesus prayed with and for was delivered and healed of all sickness and diseases.

The New Covenant is a new creation and if anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation.

We are In Christ, the fullness of Christ lives in us and healing is an expression of Christ living in us.

Andrew Wommack explains that healing has been purchased for us and is given free by his mercy.

“Jesus often healed people by touching them, and others received their healing as they touched Jesus. You can transmit the power or the anointing of God through the laying on of hands (Mk. 16:18; Heb. 6:2). The virtue of God can even be transmitted to objects and then brought to the person who needs healing or deliverance.

Jesus provided physical healing as well as forgiveness of sins. Many scriptures mention the healing of our bodies in conjunction with the forgiveness of our sins. Healing is an expression of God's love and compassion for our physical man. Healing miracles also draw men to God to get their spiritual needs met. Physical healing acts like a bell to get man's attention so that the Lord can minister to the inner man as well.

Healing has been purchased for us as part of the atonement of Christ. The Lord would no more refuse to heal us than He would refuse to forgive us. That does not mean that we deserve healing - we don't. It is a gift from God, just as salvation is a gift from God (Rom. 6:23; Eph. 2:8). We don't deserve to have our sins forgiven. We cannot demand salvation from the Lord, but we can expect it. Likewise, healing has been purchased for us through the atonement of Christ. Healing belongs to us, but it is still the mercy of God that provides healing. Every act of healing is an act of mercy.”

Sunday, 18 November 2012


Vacant space
Echoes split endless void
Worlds untouched by light
Golden fire consumes aching shadows
Whispered words divides crystal oceans
Mountains exalted among chariots of praise
Banks of flowers kissed by heavens dew
Morning blossoms herald a glorious day
Stillness in the air
It is finished

Friday, 16 November 2012

Friday's Five - Jesus is the Door

John 10 v 9

“I am the door: if any man enters in by me, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”

The new covenant is all about Christ.

Everything revolves round him, he is the answer to every problem, circumstance, worry and obstacle of life.

He is totally good, righteous, holy, lovely, and the darling of heaven.

This verse contains five great truths to mediate on: -

  1. Jesus is the door – The way to enter into the presence of God is through the door. It is a free door, with free access available to all those who want it. Like all doors the riches of the owner lie inside and we have the choice to walk up and open the door or just stand on the outside and look or walk away.
  2. He shall be saved – Jesus offers us the free gift of salvation. That salvation includes forgiveness of all our sins, payment of all our debts, healing for all sickness, overwhelming blessings, eternal life and an inheritance beyond our wildest dreams. We are saved from the entire world, sin and the realm of flesh that holds us captive. Salvation is a magnificent, unmerited, undeserved, eternal free gift.
  3. I shall go in- I can enter into the royal family of heaven. I am now a son of the king, a prince, a joint-heir with Christ. All the privileges, honour, enjoyment are mine as I feast on the treasures and pleasures of the New Covenant.
  4. I shall go out – I am an ambassador of Christ. Wherever I go Christ goes. He lives in me and He works through me, with, love, healing, kindness, grace and power. I have God’s strength pulsating through my body, racing in my veins.
  5. I shall find pasture – The lord is my shepherd, I SHALL NOT WANT. God has provided everything for me In Christ. His grace overflows, overwhelms me in a waterfall of provision and favour. Jesus is my all. I have everything that heaven can give, already provided by grace.

This amazing scripture gives a magnificent picture of the goodness of God.

Jesus is the door and as I enter into Him, I become a son of God and I inherit all the riches of heaven through grace.

What an amazing God of total, complete goodness.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Luke 5

Lower him down
Keep hold of the rope

Only moments to go
Look at those surprised faces
The only solution
All our hope, our plan
This man will heal him

He is different
He is full of power
He is the answer

Wednesday, 14 November 2012


Squawking in the morning
Clanging on my roof
Dive bombing after food
Terrorising the neighbourhood
Causing trouble
Being a pest
Waking me up at the break of dawn
Disturbing my rest

Summer time with Seagulls

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Psalm of the Park

I see you lord in your creation
In winding paths around a lake
In birds wadding in muddy puddles
In butterflies that glide past on the wind
In fallen leaves, golden, red and brown
In mighty trees with countless shades of green
In children playing hide and seek
In mothers proudly strolling past with prams
In the smell of rosemary filling the air
In the earthly aroma of autumn beneath my feet
In old ladies walking their dogs
In young couples together hand in hand
In the cry of geese on the wind
In the trickling song of a lonely stream
In everything awash with colour
In the incredible wonder of your creation.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Forgotten Hero's - Sarah Macnaughtan

Sarah Broom Macnaughtan, was born in Lanarkshire in 1864, she was the daughter of a JP and she inherited an income. Before the Great War she worked as a novelist and for the women’s suffrage. When the war started she worked as a volunteer nurse in Belgium. Her diaries of her war work were published posthumously as My War Experiences in Two Continents (1919), available online, full-text, open-access at Project Gutenberg.

I first read some of her diary in Lyn Macdonald's book "The Roses of No Man's Land."

I was amazed at the courage and Strength of this lady and the book is inspiring and brilliant

Here is a passage:

On Wednesday night, the 7th October, we heard that one more ship was going to England, and a last chance was given to us all to leave. Only two did so; the rest stayed on. Mrs. Stobart went out to see what was to be done. The ---- Consul said that we were under his protection, and that if the Germans entered the town he would see that we were treated properly. We had a deliberately cheerful supper, and afterwards a man called Smits came in and told us that the Germans had been driven back fifteen kilometers. I myself did not believe this, but we went to bed, and even took off our clothes.

At midnight the first shell came over us with a shriek, and I went down and woke the orderlies and nurses and doctors. We dressed and went over to help move the wounded at the hospital. The shells began to scream over head; it was a bright moonlight night, and we walked without haste--a small body of women--across the road to the hospital. Here we found the wounded all yelling like mad things, thinking they were going to be left behind. The lung man has died. Nearly all the moving to the cellars had already been done--only three stretchers remained to be moved.

One wounded English sergeant helped us. Otherwise everything was done by women. We laid the men on mattresses which we fetched from the hospital overhead, and then Mrs. Stobart's mild, quiet voice said, "Everything is to go on as usual.

The night nurses and orderlies will take their places. Breakfast will be at the usual hour." She and the other ladies whose night it was to sleep at the convent then returned to sleep in the basement with a Sister. We came in for some most severe shelling at first, either because we flew the Red Cross flag or because we were in the line of fire with a powder magazine which the Germans wished to destroy.

We sat in the cellars with one night-light burning in each, and with seventy wounded men to take care of. Two of them were dying. There was only one line of bricks between us and the shells. One shell fell into the garden, making a hole six feet deep; the next crashed through a house on the opposite side of the road and set it on fire.

The danger was two-fold, for we knew our hospital, which was a cardboard sort of thing, would ignite like matchwood, and if it fell we should not be able to get out of the cellars. Some people on our staff were much against our making use of a cellar at all for this reason. I myself felt it was the safest place, and as long as we stayed with the wounded they minded nothing.

We sat there all night. The English sergeant said that at daybreak the firing would probably cease, as the German guns stopped when daylight came in order to conceal the guns. We just waited for daybreak. When it came the firing grew worse. The sergeant said, "It is always worse just before they stop," but the firing did not stop. Two hundred guns were turned on
Antwerp, and the shells came over at the rate of four a minute. They have a horrid screaming sound as they come. We heard each one coming and wondered if it would hit us, and then we heard the crashing somewhere else and knew another shell was coming.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Remembrance Day - 2nd Lieutenant J.A. Raws letter home.

On Remembrance Day I thought I would post this famous extract from a letter by Melbourne journalist Lieutenant J. A. Raws,.

There are many, many various accounts of the fighting in France.

This account always speaks right into my heart and I think that its short paragraph contains every element of emotion imaginable.

It is a truly remarkable record of the intensity which I can only imagine.

The action takes place during the the battle for Pozieres in July 1916 at the Somme.

"... we lay down terror-stricken along a bank. The shelling was awful ... we eventually found our way to the right spot out in no-man's-land. Our leader was shot before we arrived and the strain had sent two other officers mad. I and another new officer took charge and dug the trench. We were shot at all the time... the wounded and killed had to be thrown to one side ... I refused to let any sound man help a wounded man; the sound had to dig ... we dug on and finished amid a tornado of bursting shells ... I was buried once and thrown down several times ... buried with dead and dying. The ground was covered bodies in all stages of decay and mutilation and I would, after struggling from the earth, pick body by me to try and lift him out with me and find him a decayed corpse ... I went up again the night and stayed up there. We were shelled to hell ceaselessly. X- went mad and disappeared... there remained nothing but a charred mass of debris with bricks, stones, girders and bodies pounded to nothing ... we are lousy, stinking, unshaven, sleepless ... I have one puttee, a man's helmet, another dead man's protect dead man's bayonet. My tunic rotten with other men's blood and partly spattered with a comrade's brains".

2nd Lieutenant John Alexander Raws of the 23rd Battalion who was born in Manchester, England, enlisted at Adelaide, South Australia and was killed in action on 23rd August 1916 aged 33.

His younger brother, Lieutenant Robert Goldthorpe Raws, was also killed at Pozieres. He was also in 23rd Battalion, born in
Manchester, enlisted at Adelaide and was killed instantly by a shell on the 28th July 1916, 26 days before his brother, aged 30.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Remembrance Week - The War Memorial

Names carved into stone tell an ancient tale
Of days long past and youthful dreams that pale
With wounds endured and crafted in travail

Here is a generation of lost hope
A vast list of sacrifice beyond scope
Forlorn and lost to wars evil struggle

Each name a testament to their belief
Their lives extinguished all too brief
Turned back to dust, dressed with deaths apparel

For every name a story was written
Lost in time their deeds now forgotten
Every heart that once followed loves example

The distant guns are now forever silent
Just the long list of those who are absent
And the memory of the cruel battle

Now there is no one left to take the blame
For brave lives given to carry the flame
Of dreams and hopes for future lives to claim

So take your time and study every name
Each one a life of promise and proclaim
Their sacrifice was not laid down in vain.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Remembrance Week - Friday's Five is Armistice Day 1918

Friday’s Five this Remembrance Week is five very different accounts of Armistice Day, 11th November 1918.

Each account is unique and gives a wonderful perspective of that amazing day.

Firstly, from the book “A Stillness Heard round the world by Stanley Weintraub.”

"Dan Walker was in a military hospital in the country, a collection of huts on the edge of the wood, when the matron, trailed by a doctor, entered to make an announcement to the ward. “The War is over,” she said. “This is not a rumor. This is official. An Armistice has been signed. The War is over!” Almost any announcement in the past had been greeted with practical joking and handicaps ignored – “Tippling each other out of bed, bashing at each other with pillows, pushing ourselves along the floor on our bottom, stumps waving….” But what
Walker remembered most sixty-one years later was the “uncanny silence,” akin to the eerie quiet on the line when the shooting stopped.

“Our world, a bloody world, a world of suffering….at time’s close to the ultimate, also a world of laughter, excitement and comradeship beyond description. Our world, and now it was gone – ended – Napoo fini….Now we were just some of the wreckage left behind.”"

Secondly, Christopher Fry was at school in Bedford and 11th November 1918 was a day unlike any other day.

“At Modern School, Bedford, Christopher Fry, restless in the fifth form of the junior school, was being taught by an undersized clergyman known to the boys as “Smuts” when the bells of St. Paul’s Church began to peal massively, a maroon went off, and other church bells joined in the noise. “We cheered and thumped our desks, bouncing up and down in our seats, quite prepared to run out of the building and into the street. We could hardly believe that Shepherd-Smith meant us to go on with our work, as though the world had not been completely transformed. The world was at peace, a state of affairs I could hardly remember and at peace perhaps for ever. There would be bonfires, and flags, and fireworks, and no more death until the time for death….””

Thirdly, also from 'A Stillness Heard round the World by Stanley Weintraub' a story of dancing clergy.

Lincoln, Stanley Downing remembered, he ran home to the sound of pealing bells, past the cathedral. “Two of the Cathedral dignitaries – one with a long white beard and both in cassocks, gowns and mortarboards – met in the middle of the Cathedral lawn, joined hands and performed a little jig of jubilation. In those days the Cathedral clergy were almost as stately as God Himself and the sight of those two elderly dancers is my strongest memory of the day. Knees up, Knees, don’t let the breeze up.”"

Fourthly a soldiers  account of 11th November 1918 from Private Verdi George Schwinghammer,  No. 2639, 42nd Battalion, Australian Imperial Force.

“We could tell by the news in the papers that the war was practically over although we, the Third Division, were told to hold ourselves in readiness to proceed to the line again - the 1st, 4th and 5th Divisions already being on their way to the line.

Monday, 11th November, 1918, the day the Armistice was signed, we marched to Alleray for a hot steam bath and on passing through Airanes found all the houses decorated with tricolours and the church bells pealing and the Frenchies running about like madmen. We wondered what was wrong and halted in the main street for a rest. The Captain then told us that he had interviewed the Mayor who had received a telegram saying that the armistice was to be signed at 11 a.m. that morning - it was then 10 a.m. We gave three cheers and could scarcely realize that the war was over.

When we returned to Warlus, the news that the war was over had reached there and the town was decorated, etc. Next day we had a holiday from drills to celebrate peace. The bells of the old French church chimed night and day for several days. Most of us attended the Victory Thanksgiving Mass at the Roman Catholic Church.

Some of the men broke camp and went to the neighboring cities - some got as far as
Paris. Many were pinched and put in the clink (gaol) as they had no leave passes - others were caught and sent back to the Battalion.

And lastly, a great story of an encounter on a train to Yorkshire between a lady from the Women’s Land Army and an Australian soldier,

"Elinor Pike had changed trains at
Sheffield, travelling from one farm to another as part of the Women’s Land Army. In her compartment was an Australian soldier, as she assumed from his bush hat. As the train sat in its siding, the soldier asked her about her uniform and confided that his sweetheart in Mildura was going to marry him as soon as the war was over.

Then it was over.

The railway carriage throbbed with the sounds of hooters and bells. “We both jumped up,” she recalled, “and shook hands very solemnly, vowing that we would remember that day, even though it was a very chance encounter.”

The train went on through
Yorkshire and eventually they alighted in gentle rain. As they began to move shyly apart, the soldier turned to ask if she would mind giving him her name and address. “When I am married, if my wife has a daughter, I hope she will allow her to have your name.” Although embarrassed by the suggestion, Elinor agreed “and watched him a s he laboriously wrote with a pencil stump on a small piece of paper as we stood on the cold damp platform.”

A few years later she was astonished to receive a letter from
Australia announcing the birth of her namesake, christened in advance on Armistice Day 1918."

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Remembrance Week - A Visit to Hampden Park War Memorial

Slowly flows the stream
Trickling past the shrine
Names etched in granite
From a bygone time.

Without a second glance
People wander by
Just a list of soldiers
From a bygone time.

Richard Fry
William Irons
Henry Smith
Mark Stevens

Each name tells a story
Of sacrifice and dreams
Shadows of the past
From a bygone time.

Take a minute to stop
And read the names
For our tomorrow
They gave their today.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Remembrance Week - The Unredeemed by Edward Dyson

There are some poems that once read have a lasting effect on you.
This is one of those poems.
Edward Dyson was an Australian soldier who experienced the horror of the First World War,
He wrote some excellent verses and 'The Unredeemed' is probably his best.

It really is a hard, gritty work of art.

I saw the Christ down from His cross,
A tragic man lean-limbed and tall,
But weighed with suffering and loss
His back was to a broken wall,
And out upon the tameless world
Was fixed His gaze His piercing eye
Beheld the towns to ruin hurled,
And saw the storm of death pass by.

Two thousand years it was since first
He offered to the race of men
His sovran boon, As one accurst
They nailed Him to the jibbet then,
And while they mocked Him for their mirth
He smiled, and from the hill of pain
To all the hating tribes of earth
Held forth His wondrous gift again.

To-day the thorns were on His brow,
His grief was deeper than before.
From ravaged field and city now
Arose the screams and reek of war.
The black smoke parted. Through the rift
God's sun fell on the bloody lands.
Christ wept, for still His priceless gift
He held within His wounded hands.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Remembrance Week - No Man's Land by June Tabor

I listened to this song, many years ago before a trip to the battlefields of Northern France.

I recall a very hot day near Ypres whilst wandering through a mast of graves at Tyne Cot Cemetery.

It was one of the most moving and inspiring times of my life.

Since then I have been fascinated by all aspects of the First World War and in my own small way I try to keep the memory of the sacrifice, hopes, dreams and bravery of the every day soldier alive.

This song is beautiful and if you ever get a chance to visit the graves and battlefields of the First World War, 


You will not regret it.

Eric Bogle

Well how do you do, young Willie McBride,
Do you mind if I sit here down by your graveside
And rest for a while 'neath the warm summer sun
I've been working all day and I'm nearly done.
I see by your gravestone you were only nineteen
When you joined the dead heroes of nineteen-sixteen.
I hope you died well and I hope you died clean
Or Willie McBride, was it slow and obscene.

Chorus :
Did they beat the drum slowly, did they play the fife lowly,
Did they sound the dead-march as they lowered you down.
Did the bugles play the Last Post and chorus,
Did the pipes play the 'Flooers o' the Forest'.

And did you leave a wife or a sweetheart behind
In some faithful heart is your memory enshrined
Although you died back there in nineteen-sixteen
In that faithful heart are you ever nineteen
Or are you a stranger without even a name
Enclosed and forgotten behind the glass frame
In a old photograph, torn and battered and stained
And faded to yellow in a brown leather frame.

The sun now it shines on the green fields of France
The warm summer breeze makes the red poppies dance
And look how the sun shines from under the clouds
There's no gas, no barbed wire, there's no guns firing now
But here in this graveyard it's still no-man's-land
The countless white crosses stand mute in the sand
To man's blind indifference to his fellow man
To a whole generaation that were butchered and damned.

Now young Willie McBride I can't help but wonder why
Do all those who lie here know why they died
And did they believe when they answered the cause
Did they really believe that this war would end wars
Well the sorrow, the suffering, the glory, the pain
The killing and dying was all done in vain
For young Willie McBride it all happened again
And again, and again, and again, and again.

Footnote : Whether you know this song under the title No Man's Land', 'The Green Fields of France' or 'Willie McBride', it is a song which rugs at the heart .  Eric Bogle was born in Peebles but emigrated to Australia where he found fame with this poignant song. 


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