"End to End via the Margins"
Daphne Clarke, above and beyond the call of duty, gave me a a lift all the way from Richmond to Spennymoor in the morning. I walked in towards Durham by a calm and leafy part of the university area, although IIRC, universities are full of stress for staff and students alike, and memory confirmed by some of the things other people have said.
The verse on the miners' memorial in the Cathedral is Job 28:4 "[Miners] open shafts in a valley away from human habitation; they are forgotten by travellers, they sway suspended, remote from people." (NRSV translation, not that in the Cathedral). The Cathedral has cloisters... that seems like a good idea - you can walk and think at the same time. The bookshop had a book in it containing the blessing that Shiregreen URC uses to welcome children. Shiregreen's on the map!
Outside the Cathedral, I met Ruth Crofton, minister at Waddington Street URC, who navigated me (my only contribution to the routefinding was to get us lost) to lunch with member Pam Baggott, who not only fed us, but also consented to being asked The Questions. The place was round the corner from Officials' Row in a former pit village, of which there are may around here. Most of the pits in this part of the county have been gone for several decades, and the former pit areas are unrecognisable as such. Also at lunch I did something else I often do, called "Forgetting To Take A Photograph". I get so carried away with what I am doing that I forget - so there's not much of a record for you of these meetings.
Scenes from the road onwards... A number of pedestrians on these big roads, old men, younger men, women with buggies... A model shop in an old chapel. A third flock of pigeons circling at speed. In Chester-le-Street, a tiny woman in her eighties passed me. When she grinned in friendship at this strange man with his backpack, her whole frame seemed to twinkle. My first view of the Angel Of The North ... more progress!
In conversation with the proprietor of the place I'm staying, Low Urpeth Farm, I discovered that the average age of farmers is 58. 58!
In the evening, the ladies and gentlemen of Bethel URC, Chester-le-Street, took me to a pub and fed me. Not only was I fed and entertained, but they answered the questions as well, although in the circumstances I didn't do it in the formal way with notetaking. It seems to me that Northern is an extremely hospitsble and welcoming synod.
Note: The Lambton Worm is a brilliant local story. Get somebody who can remember it in its entirety to tell it to you.Pictures from today...
Leaving staying place in Richmond
Waddington Street URC in Durham
Earth sculpture of the Lambton Worm on the NCN7
One for Hannah
Angel of the North from the window of where I stay tonight
God of new life,
we pray for all who have to
reinvent their businesses,
even their ways of life
in the light of new economic realities.
For farmers branching out into new things,
for former mining communities
doing new work,
for many others,
we ask your blessing.
And in our churches,
we ask you to help us to change when needed,
yet keep faithful to you.
|© Bob Warwicker. The words here may be reproduced freely, but not for gain, or without attribution. All alterations must have the permission of the author.|