Peace to you…

She was back this morning- with both of the kids.

I know they are eating my plants (although, as you can see, the grass is overdue for cutting) but they are such beautiful creatures.

I am reminded of one of Justin’s lovely poems- circulated as part of our Aoradh daily meditations-

Peace to you. Peace with you.

You that sleep without resting

Wake without rising, Peace to you.


Peace with you.

You that have grown distant

From the sparrow, Peace to you.


Peace with you.

You that wait in some deep

Valley and know it not yet


As the beginning of a mountain.

May you be wholly and holy

Peaceful and makers thereof.


And while we are on the subject of peace- here is a picture of Michaela and our youngest guest- little Laurie whose parents are staying in the Annexe at the moment.

The kiln descends…

We finally managed to get the kiln down the cellar steps today. It has been a bit of a puzzle- how to move half a ton of metal and fire bricks down some crumbling narrow stairs into a confined space.

Some very kind blokes who are used to moving heavy objects around the hillsides did the job. Thanks boys!

They were able to set up a ground anchor, and use a sledge and winch line to lower the kiln.

Its a big relief- and I look forward to seeing some pots emerging out of raw clay…

New Year, 2011

The year turns

And so will I Lord…

Happy New Year all- may this one be a great one.

We have had a great few days- a house FULL of people (23 people per meal!) lots of music, food and a nice swim in the Clyde on New Years Day.

The latter being a deliberate attempt to put the events of February firmly behind me… I made the paper again recently as part of their ‘review of the year’- dangling below a helicopter for all to see.

Here are a few pics- click to enlarge…

The view from the middle of the Clyde…

I braved the low temperatures and crossed over to ‘the other side’ today. My intention was to go to Helensburgh, but Greenock was full of slithering cars and covered in freezing fog, so I rather tamely retreated.

But no time is wasted. I made some phone calls from the ferry- and appreciated the stillness.

The ferry is a great place to do this. It moves at a steady slow pace- giving around 25 minutes just to sit and think. It sometimes seems a very long time, and other times no time at all.

Today I had the camera with me too…

Renovation and change…

More work on the old house.

The back bedroom/spare room this time- a ceiling that has been hanging on a horse hair thread, because of previous water damage.

Renovation as an analogy of change? Here we go-

  • Renovation is not the same thing as restoration.
  • It always involves a lot of mess at first.
  • It is possible, either through lack of resources, or unwillingness to make the mess, to fiddle around at the surface, and try to ignore the deeper problems. If you do, you will regret it later.
  • Get people to help who know what they are doing.
  • The use we put the house to is very different from the use it was put to in the past- so we need different materials, and to create different kinds of spaces.


Kind of reminds me of an old poem, written in a prayer room a few years ago-



I can hear a creaking

A groaning from the joists

Pipes and drains are leaking

Floor boards are tearing loose


Can you smell the horsehair plaster

Stripping off from lath?

This could bring disaster

Or perhaps could clear a freedom path


There’s a time for all things

The good book says

To reap, to weep, to build, to sing

To mourn then turn the journey on


The marshal yards are empty now

And the cranes stand fixed and rusty

The shipyards moved to other towns

And the churches all lie empty


Lord teach me to move like water

Running from these mountains


Tear out my feet from concrete shoes

And dance me till I flutter

For freedom comes to those who find

Your keys amongst our clutter



Starlit darkness…

The stars are out.

And Michaela reminded me of a discussion we had a few years ago about the mystery of God. It stemmed from me quoting Gregory of Nyssa, who apparently said something like this-

The move towards God is a journey into Holy darkness.

It really resonated with me- it spoke of the mystery of God, and the presence that we often feel in open spaces. It also spoke to me of a process of unknowing that I was experiencing at the time- a loosening of absolutes and a discovery of faith that is no longer built from stones, but is made up of reflected flecks of light.

The first collection of writing I put together was called ‘Blue Dark‘ because of old Gregory… and because of a lovely poem by our friend Susan.

At the time of our discussion, some of my friends (and Michaela) did not get it. God is LIGHT not darkness they said. Darkness is about fear and loneliness…

Then Michaela had this encounter with starlight.

And, unusually for her, wrote a lovely poem. I thought it time to reproduce it here, along with some photo’s taken this evening…

Starlit darkness

In the darkness
Is a childhood fear
Safe from one streetlight
To the next
Fear locked away
Till I am again
Out alone
No streetlights to rely on

In the darkness
Is no hope
No mystery
At best nothingness
At worst a nightmare
Waiting to happen

But then you talk
Of the starlit darkness
And I remember for a moment
The fear
The quick steps up our hill
Only to stop halfway
Breath taken by the beauty
Eyes lifted heavenward
Thankful for the big sky
Eyes searching something familiar
But yet awesome

No more fear
Only wonder
At the beauty of the darkness
That brings out the stars.

Michaela Goan
December 2007