Dunblane: the Parish of St Nicholas & St Blaine

I am blessed to live in a beautiful country, and in a beautiful city but sometimes, I long for the countryside. In Scotland, we are never too far from quiet green hills or coastal rocky beaches full of memories of the saints. The best way to travel is train, from the glories of the Victorian built Waverley  Station - here is the iron & glass roof, and some rather bonny modern art in the concourse. After only an hour, the train arrives in Dunblane - a city in the country. It has a cathedral and medieval town centre, a babbling river and it's very own Orthodox Church, in a converted … [Read more...]

Prayer: a needful thing.

I am talking on Thursday and Friday at the Abbey summer School  here in Edinburgh and I am facing the challenge of setting down in writing things that I have, over the last twenty years, internalised and absorbed. It is a great deal more challenging than I thought! While doing some research, I found the following site, which I found to be very helpful and thought it would be of use to many others. It does a far better job of saying what I want to say, albeit over many pages and not in a twenty minute discussion. Orthodox Prayer contains both practical and theological guides, with lots of … [Read more...]

From hen to board in less than one hour.

our ex-factory hens are laying beautifully. This morning I collected an egg at 7am and it was on the board by 8am! Glory to God for our chance to have these funny, productive animals in our lives. … [Read more...]

Tidying up

using a very sharp carving tool to just tidy up small areas of gold that have sneaked over the outline, as I restate the drawing a little bolder.    … [Read more...]

Three little birds

One of my favourite songs is Bob Marley's "Three Little Birds":  he sang about the usual things but he wasn't afraid to say "give thanks and praise to the Lord, and it will be alright"! So when in need of some energy or relaxation, I tend to play his greatest hits.  Today our own 'three little birds' arrived - although they are rather large!   Rescue hens from the Wing & a Prayer Rescue charity here in Scotland.  I had no idea they would be so large or indeed white! I assumed they would be typical brown/chestnut coloured.. But I don't mind. As you can see they are … [Read more...]

Useful Things

Very rarely I find something that will be useful to other painters & craftspeople. Here is one little gem.  The egg tempera mixture I use has to be kept in the fridge and I use variable amounts. I know others use small bowls or jars but I like the flexibility of squeezable bottles with dropper tops. Finding them has led me to very obscure websites in the past and I hadn't found any in the shops, until now. This little pack of three 35ml/1.18oz sauce bottles from Sistema, made in New Zealand from BPA free plastic are pretty close to perfect. They are big enough for a large egg mix but … [Read more...]

Abbey Summer School: the Trinity and Prayer

Good morning from a truly beautiful sunny day here in Edinburgh - it feels like summer, and everyone is enjoying this early dash of warmth. The apple trees are blooming and I will share pictures of the Meadows soon, as the trees are in full flower. I wanted to let you know about an exciting event this summer in Newhaven, Edinburgh. The Abbey Summer School is a time for the laity to come together and engage with theology and take time to think and pray more deeply on issues that are central to Christianity. This year, the central theme is "The Holy Trinity". The central speaker is Jeremy … [Read more...]


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New Home for Spring

Dear friends, just to say that thanks to Vidahost and Elegant Themes I have managed to migrate the site in less than 24 hours. At the moment it is very much 'bare bones' as I get to play with the layout and pages available. I can't tell you how easy the 'Visual Builder' layout of the Divi theme is for someone who does things visually like me! Please bear with me while things settle down and do let me know in the comments if there are features you'd find useful. I'll be setting up a regular newsletter and members area in the future - keep in touch! NB. These are affiliate links - I'd … [Read more...]

Stormy weather

Edinburgh has been buffeted by high winds for two days now. Thankfully we took precautions after the last storm! We are on top of the highest part of Edinburgh, so take the brunt of any stormy winds around. Those who choose to go against the flow of The World can find that this is the same - the more one chooses to stand with Christ and His Gospel of truth and love, the harder life feels. Let us find our tethers to the ground in the Church, our brothers and sisters, and in praying for others. Please keep me in your prayers, as those who've asked me for my poor prayers are in mine. … [Read more...]

Progress, in Lent and Work.

Life in the Church is circular & linear: our lives return around the axis of the Feasts, the cycle of prayers & services, the seasons of fasting and feasting. At the same time, we run this race towards Our Father, praying for "the homeland of our heart's desire". A foretaste of the Kingdom in that moment of receiving the Gifts, in the bright sad joy of a pre-Sanctified Liturgy, the giddy joy of Pascha, these sustain us when our prayers grow ragged and weary. God grants us moments of grace, when He knows "my heart was failing within me, there was none who knew wherein I walked". For me, … [Read more...]

4 Friends ASD parents need

This blog hits so many of my yes buttons: although our children are on different parts of the spectrum (that's why it's a spectrum & not a zillion different named things), it helps so much to know we are not alone. … [Read more...]

St Thomas: belief, assurance, love.

I've been blessed to have the opportunity to make an icon of St Thomas the Apostle, at the moment when he greets the risen Lord in the locked room - based on the fresco by Panselinos, my great inspiration, from the Protaton on Mt Athos. There is a very comprehensive discussion of this icon here and one of the Festal hymns is quoted:- "With his searching right hand, Thomas did probe Your life-bestowing side, O Christ God; for when You did enter while the doors were shut, he cried out unto You with the rest of the Apostles: You are my Lord and my God." (from the Hymns of the … [Read more...]

New Brushes

This is why you will need to regularly buy new brushes. These are both my favourite Series 7 Kolinsky sable, size 0. The one on the left is six-twelve months old, the one on the right is new. Which do you think will produce better lines? More posts stating the very obvious to follow. Don't forget, not long til the Lenten Triodion starts! … [Read more...]