SITEZINE: HOLY ISLAND'S E-MAIL MAGAZINE
1st December 2016|
- A bit from me...
- Stop Press!
- Crossman Hall
- Lindisfarne Castle
- Goldcrest invasion from northern forests
- Natural England Lindisfarne NNR
- Lindisfarne Priory
- Joys of moving to Holy Island
- News from Ford & Etal
- From the community of Aidan and Hilda
- From the Vicarage
- Parish Diary
- Pause for thought
Holy Island - Emergency Power
|A BIT FROM ME
Welcome to this - our last newsletter in 2016.
Last month I neglected to mention the effort that must have gone
into preparing for those two funerals. To this may I add the further
appreciation due to our clergy for the Remembrance Services. As a
reminder that we are a tiny island community I add a special poem
written by one of the children at 'Holy Island CofE First School'
which I felt specially poignant:
We remember red poppies
of the dead.
We remember green stalks,
We remember black
We remember big, long, small.
We remember poppies
bleed as we fight evil.
We remember soldiers march with rifles
We remember they get their command to fire.
How spirits soared when, on 31st October, contractors arrived to
begin the long-awaited safety improvement work to be carried out on
the causeway. However, elation turned to dispair when on
1st November the island's mains electricity supply
failed - allegedly "damaged by 3rd party contractors"' working on
Fortunately, 'SPEnergy' were prompt in contracting-in industrial
generators to serve community needs. As a consequence there is,
like residents, nowhere throughout the village that visitors
will have been able to escape the constant drone of huge capacity
Whilst we believe that our electricity supply will be repaired by
16th December, we are also looking forward to hearing when the
contractor will return to continue causeway improvements....
Thank you to all who have written
for us this month. Our authors are now due a
well-earned Christmas break and come together again in the New Year in time for
Not forgetting those who, for
various reasons, are stationed away from their homeland at this
time of year, from all of us to all of
you: wishing you the joy of Christmas and the hope for Peace and Health in
the New Year.
We look forward to getting in touch again on 1st
God Bless - Geoff Porter
||Cllr Douglas Watkin|
It is hoped to resume works asap depending
on the receipt of the relevant licence. (ed: from UK Marine
The work done on the southern drain appears to be successful and when combined
with a northern drain hopefully will be a lot better.
However, I am sure ongoing clearance maintenance - which is
included In the relevant permissions obtained - will be
necessary. To clear that area of standing water and hopefully
sand, will be superb.
Whilst the current appearance of the drain is obtrusive I am
sure after a short while it will blend in. It was important to
get on and do some work as the scheme had been held up for
3 years by oblections and counter proposals contradicting each other
with few people agreeing on any course of action. If this doesn't
work at least we have tried something rather than continuing to go
in circles of discussion. It can also be firmly laid on my shoulders
!!!! But occasionally in life, if you want to move on someone
has to be responsible for taking a decision.
The causeway will continue to be regularly maintained and the
current damaged sections will be subject to works as soon as
May I take this opportunity to wish all on the Island a great
Christmas and a super New Year, Health and happiness to you
At a recent meeting of the Trustees, Simon Bevan, Treasurer for the past 16 years
announced his retirement. Simon guided the Trustees though the period when significant
sums of money were dispensed during the rebuild period.
The Trustees paid tribute to Simon's
stewardship of our funds during a very busy and at times complicated
It is with great satisfaction that we announce and
welcome a new 'young' Trustee to our ranks; Chris Douglas.
Chris will take over as Treasurer and was warmly welcomed by
In an ideal situation we have vacancies for two more Trustees. If you are
interested, let me or any other Trustee know and details will be provided.
Well we did it. The Castle is empty for the
first time since the summer of 1903, well, that is apart from 6 bits
of furniture too big to go round the corner at the front door, a
huge computer network cabinet, and a kettle we have generously left behind.
Packing and documenting 1,179 collection
objects in about 5 days was quite a feat and was solely down to the
hard work of the staff and volunteers involved. I myself can very
little credit as I was in very much a 'floating role' keeping a
supervisory eye on everything (!), along with the fact I caught a
sickness bug in the middle of the week. We also had to send everyone
off with the tide on the Tuesday due to the now infamous power cut
so lost half a day. The teams packed an average of 295 objects a
day, which worked out at about 1 a minute, which is a fair old pace
when dealing with historic and sometimes fragile objects. In doing
so we got through almost a square kilometre of bubble wrap, and
about 100 square metres of tissue paper. The following week one of
the removals team clocked up over 60 miles on his pedometer - most
of that was up and down the Castle ramp!
All of this effort is of course not just for
fun, or to get some slightly eerie photos of empty rooms (something
we are all now guilty of). We needed to clear everything out to make
way for our main contractor, Datim Building Contractors based in
Cramlington. We will be formally handing the place over to them on
the 28th November which means from then until the end of the work,
the Castle will be their building - and even I will have to sign in!
Those of you on the Island will soon hear from Datim and us about
the immediate priorities of the work, particularly the scaffolding
which is going up in the next couple of weeks, and over the next few
months you will probably get used to seeing their vans and the
workers around the place. The Castle is in good hands, and the site
managers are very keen to meet as many folk on the Island as
possible and make sure everyone knows what is going on when,
especially where deliveries through the village are concerned.
We are now in the flat above the shop in Elm
House so you know where to find myself, Steve and Daniel if you need
us! Downstairs Mel and Biddy have the shop open in the run up to
Christmas and of course there are bits and bobs to whet your festive
appetites. Festive food and decorations are a staple of the stock at
this time of year and I hear there is 20% off on diaries and
calendars for 2017 (that's the mother-in-law's present sorted).
As always if you have any questions about
what is going please do get in touch and if I don't know the answer,
I'll ask the contractors. In fact, if you are in the village, feel
free to pop in to the new office above the shop and I'll stick the
kettle on; don't worry, we have a spare.
firstname.lastname@example.org // @NTLindisfarne // 01289 389903
|GOLDCREST INVASION FROM NORTHERN FORESTS
Golden Plovers are birds which really live
up to their name provided, of course, that it's a sunny day."
Then the mottled ochre and brown and white
patterning of their backs and heads can really glow in the bright
light, showing off this
plump and very attractive member of the wader family to best
advantage. There are certainly plenty of them around to admire this winter.
Recently, while leading a bird-watching group
along the shore from
Jenny Bell's Well we noticed a broad band of deep gold
stretching out on the sands towards the poles of the Pilgrims' Way.
As we got closer and set up our telescopes
and focussed binoculars, we found that this was nothing more than a
wonderfully bright optical illusion. It was created by the massed
ranks of over 5,000 resting
birds. They were so closely packed that they hid the ground.
They were also filling the air with their low, melodic trilling chorus.
These stocky and short-billed birds were at
rest. As we moved closer, we could see their large
eyes, typical of so many waders and one of nature's adaption
to allow them to feed at night or in low light conditions.
Although Golden Plovers breed in small
numbers across our
uplands they are much more common and obvious, like this huge
flock, as autumn and winter visitors from the far north and east.
A group of Golden Plover at rest on the sands - Mike S Hodgson
While they are with us, they typically gather
on pastures off the lonnens often feeding with Lapwings,
Black-headed Gulls and Starlings, all attracted
by the highly nutritious invertebrate life. At other times they congregate
on the sands, like that huge gathering which created the golden illusion.
Golden Plovers typically move between feeding
and roosting areas in large and tight, fast-flying flocks. In
flight, they flicker from yellow-brown to white as they twist and
turn into the light. On other occasions they stream high over the
tight chevrons, often calling as they go. As they drop to
settle, there is often that lovely far-carrying chorus as they jostle together.
Birds which breed on our higher moorlands are
of the southern race of Golden Plover. During the breeding season
their faces, breasts and bellies are black giving them a striking appearance.
Over these uplands the
male plovers rise high and display with rather mournful whistling cries
designed to mark out territories and to impress the female hidden below.
The plovers nest in short heather or rough
grass and many I've watched in the Simonsides and Cheviots seem to
favour larger patches of cotton grass bogs. Like all waders, they
produce four eggs and their young are able to run
and feed within hours of hatching, a great safety adaption for
vulnerable chicks at threat from a host of mammalian and flying predators.
That selection of cotton grass bogs is
probably quite deliberate. It not only provides superb cover, but
these soggy areas are also generally richer in insects
on which the chicks are totally dependent in their early days.
Later they'll learn how to detect and catch worms and other invertebrates.
The breeding season is short. Post-breeding
flocks begin to form from late June and into July when small parties
start streaming towards the coast. They are quickly joined from
August by incoming parties of birds of the northern race from
distant breeding grounds, particularly in Iceland and northern Scandinavia. Others arrive
from northern Russia and from breeding grounds extending far eastwards across Siberia.
These northern birds make up the vast majority of
our wintering flocks which are so prominent across the island the flats.
Newly-arrived northern adults are often still
identifiable, having more extensive black markings than their
British counterparts. But
that breeding plumage quickly fades. Numbers continue to build up during
and September and October when flocks of over 5,000 are often present.
Some of these migrants pause
only to feed and rest before continuing on southwards while others
settle to remain with us for the remainder of autumn and winter.
This newly arrived bird from the far north is moulting out
of its black breeding plumage Mike S Hodgson
Just occasionally these northern flocks hold
some surprises. On their farthest eastern breeding grounds
populations start to overlap with the American and
Pacific races of Golden Plover. Individuals of those races, identifiable by
plumage, occasionally occur locally, having been caught up in mass movements westwards.
By late February and March many of our
begin to develop their breeding plumage. This makes the northern birds
once again easily identified by their more extensive and solid black markings.
They often linger well into April and even
early May, presumably knowing that their Arctic breeding
grounds could still be either frozen or under snow. At that
stage our own small breeding populations are already nesting on the hills.
But that Arctic summer, while abundantly rich
is extremely short. Within three months many of them will be
streaming south westwards again to enliven the island with their charming presence.
|NATURAL ENGLAND LINDISFARNE NNR
||Mhairi Maclauchlan |
Autumn migration g a summer
helping with the Shorebird Project, Alex has returned as a
seasonal warden to help during winter - it was great to
welcome her back.
Reserve Warden, Beal Station,
Tel: 01289 381 470
ED: Mhairi's blog and facebook page can be found at
| NORTHUMBERLAND COAST
catches the judge's eye to win Photographic Competition
A photo taken by a visitor to the Farne Islands has been chosen
as the front cover image for next year's Northumberland Coast
Chris Orange from Surrey snapped a shot of the Puffin with its
eyes closed during the summer. The image was chosen as the winner of
the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)
Partnership's photographic competition and will feature on the cover
of fifty thousand visitor guides in 2017.
Chris said "This photo was taken whilst on Staple Island, during
the summer of 2016. After several hours in different locations
watching the puffins as they continually flew on and off the Island
to catch fish, I began to get into the rhythm of photographing their
activity, which was a pleasure to witness. As I photographed this
particular puffin I took a couple of frames, and noticed that on the
second shot his eyes had closed in the same split second that I
closed the shutter on my camera. I did wonder if he was winking at
me! A really wonderful moment to capture".
"I am thrilled that my photograph of the 'Puffin with his eyes
closed' has won the Northumberland AONB photography competition, and
it will be an honour to see it on the front cover of the 2017/18
visitor guide. Northumberland has always been a very special place
to me, both for its beauty and its fantastic heritage".
The image was chosen as the winner of the Northumberland Coast
Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership's photographic
competition by judges Cllr John Woodman, Ken Stait and Jane Coltman.
As well as featuring on the front cover of the 2017 Visitor Guide,
Chris will also receive a £150 voucher for Stait Photo in
Explaining why the image caught his eye Cllr Woodman, Chair of
the AONB Partnership said "I've always thought the sand eel is the
secret ingredient powering the bird and seal life of the Farnes,
which in turn embody the AONB. So I'm pleased our choice of cover
picture next year shows that the puffins agree."
Ken Stait who runs Stait Photo in Morpeth and Hexham sponsored
the competition and was also a judge said "It was, as ever, great
fun to go on a photographic tour of the Northumberland Coast with
the standard of this year's entries especially high. We all felt
that the shot of the Puffin captured the essence of the AONB and was
a worthy winner".
Jane Coltman, image manager at Johnston Press said "Yet again I
am amazed by the standard of the entries; it gets better every year.
I am delighted to have been able to judge the competition again".
The Northumberland Coast Visitor Guide provides information to
visitors about the landscape, history, wildlife and villages of the
coast as well lots of things for visitors to do and see during their
stay. The guide will be published next April. Businesses
wishing to advertise in the guide should contact Mike Jones at
Command Print on 01665 713899 or email email@example.com
The judges also chose a runner-up and two highly commended entries:
Highly commended - Bamburgh Castle at Sunset by Alan Leightley
from Seahouses, Northumberland and
Bamburgh Castle in Flower by Elaine Holden from Benton, Newcastle
Runner-up - Haybales, taken immediately north of Dunstanburgh
Castle by Bob Fogerty from Pegswood, Northumberland
|PEREGRINI LINDISFARNE LANDSCAPE
Myths and legends of Northumberland
We've had some fantastic feedback from the
folks that came along to the Peregrini Lindisfarne storytelling
evening at the end of last month. So much so, we hope to invite
Malcolm Green, collector of local folklore and expert entertainer back to regale us in the New Year!
Over the course of a captivating hour and a
half, Malcolm related two stories from Holy Island, Bamburgh and
Budle Bay, as well as a handful from the wider region. He also gave
a fascinating introduction to his craft of storytelling.
Northumberland is blessed in having such a rich heritage of legends
and myth and Malcolm explained this wealth of folklore is a result
of Northumbria being a 'liminal' place - a border county, bounded by
dramatic coastline and scenery, the Tyne and the Tweed.
One of the audience emailed "A quick note to
say thank you for organising the storytelling event with Malcolm
Green. In this digital age where everyone is connected and
information is delivered in sound bites it was refreshing to take
time out and enjoy the tales of another age presented by a master in
storytelling. It was no problem for Malcolm to keep everyone's
attention while Childe Wynd sailed back to Denmark, built another
ship in Rowan wood and returned to give the Dark Queen her Comeuppance!"
National storytelling week is at the end of
January and start of February. Look out for another Peregrini
Lindisfarne event with Malcolm and the opportunity to delve into the
myths and legends of North Northumberland. Keep in touch by visiting
our website www.peregrinilindisfarne.org.uk
or follow us on Facebook and Twitter @PeregriniLLP. And to
find out more about Malcolm Green, please visit www.malcolm-green.co.uk/
Sarah Winlow [firstname.lastname@example.org]
|JOYS OF MOVING TO HOLY ISLAND
One of the many joys of moving to Holy
Island has been to experience the abundant and varied bird life that
the island attracts. In the short time we have been here we have
experienced migrants from many parts of the world who have made Holy
Island a resting place as they journey on. A few days or even hours
have been enough to bring refreshment and re-creation before they depart once more on their journey.
This led me to reflect on the abundant and
varied guests that have passed through the Island and the Open Gate
thus providing a parallel with the natural life of the island. Why do so many people come here?
Many I'm sure are attracted to the natural
beauty of the island, its history and its culture. But there are
others, who like the birds, are needing a rest and an opportunity to
re-create spiritually, physically and emotionally on their own journey through life.
We live busy lives but as one retreatant
said recently, 'time on Holy Island makes you stop and assess your
life; just seeing the starlings coming into roost made me realise that we all need to stop, look and rest'.
How often do we take so much for granted?
The things that we see every day such as sparrows and starlings can
become no more than life's wallpaper unless we take the time to
stop, look and reflect. As individuals, we see things through
different eyes; for example, a tree is a tree but we all see
something in the tree that has a significance to where we are on our journeys.
When we look at an object we can often see
no more than the object itself; sometimes we need to look beyond and
winter can give us that opportunity. In summer when we look at a
tree we cannot see beyond its foliage. But as the leaves fall off what lies beyond the tree is revealed to us.
As the waiting time of advent reveals the
joy of Christmas we are called to look through the bare branches of
2016 and catch a glimpse what 2017 might bring. Whatever it brings
it will be different for each of us; the one constant will be the
beauty of this island and its abundant and varied bird life from
which there are many lessons for us to learn. Even sparrows have their story to tell...
Joint Warden The Open Gate
|NEWS FROM FORD & ETAL
Santa Specials are running at Heatherslaw
Railway on 10th, 11th, 17th & 18th subject to repair work being
carried out on track following recent flooding. But they are all booked in advance.
Attractions are expected to be open during February half term (subject to weather) and expect
more programme information in the February edition.
Best wishes for a happy Christmas and peaceful New Year.
|FROM THE COMMUNITY OF AIDAN AND HILDA
||Revd Ray Simpson |
Now I temporarily reside on the mainland land I lead more church
services in the surrounding area.
After leading a service at
Wooler I stayed on for a hotel pensioners lunch and chatted with
nonogenarian John Hope. He lived as a toddler at the Snook. He told
me about the Stake Nets (fixed to what many now call the
Pilgrim Posts) where they caught salmon.
I also read a Sunday
newspaper. Stewart Lee's article in The Observor referred to
'We are entering a second dark age, but the light
that flickers on the screens of our iPhones, from a five second clip
of a dog sliding on some ice, is blinding us to the encroaching
blackness. Our civilisation teeters at the abyss. We are 8th-century
Lindisfarne monks, spotting black Viking sails on the horizon and
hurrying to hide our illuminated manuscripts, before shaving our
hair into tonsures to look less desirable to frustrated seafarers.
But barbarians come in many guises ...'
I joined members of The
Community of Aidan and Hilda at Whitby for a retreat led by Graham
and Ruth Booth. They asked 'What can we do in the face of modern
barbarians?' People renewed their vows to our Way of Life and
Sue skyped from Geelong , Down Under, as she took her first vows
In Queensland some Aboriginal friends painted
cultural emblems in the trees of a Community member, next to a guide
post with 'Lindisfarne' painted on it.
The International Community of Aidan and Hilda
|FROM THE VICARAGE
||Revd Dr Paul Collins|
As I write this, the
month of December is approaching fast with all the expectation of
Christmas. It is a time which brings all kinds of different emotions
to the fore: memories from a past long gone, or more recent events
of the year just ending; and hopes and fears perhaps for what is to come.
The seasons of Advent, Christmas and
Epiphany hold out to us the possibility of a renewed sense of hope:
and it is this renewal of hope that we celebrate in the different
times of worship across these seasons. The first of these will be
the Christingle Service at 4pm on Sunday 11th December (with
Christingle making from 2.00pm on the day in the Vicarage ). The
School Nativity Performance will be held in Church on Monday 12th
December at 6pm. The Christmas Carol Service will be at 5.30pm on
Thursday 22nd December. The 'Midnight Communion' for Christmas will
begin at 11.30pm on Saturday 24th, and there will be 8am Holy
Communion (BCP) on Sunday 25th and a Family Service and followed by
a shortened Communion service at 10.45am. (Please note that the tide
is closed for these last two services).
The feast of Christmas tells us what
Christianity is truly all about: it is not a list of ideas to be
believed, nor a list of rules to be kept: but it is about 'the Word
made flesh': about a person: the person Jesus of Nazareth. At
Christmas we celebrate the birth of that person: a new life; a life
given; a gift - which hopefully like all the gifts we will give and
receive - expresses love. Here are words of Christina Rossetti -
sometimes sung as a carol - which put this before us:
Love came down at Christmas,
lovely, love divine;
Love was born at Christmas,
angels gave the sign.
Worship we the Godhead,
Worship we our Jesus:
But wherewith for sacred sign?
Love shall be our token,
Love shall be
yours and love be mine,
Love to God and to all men,
plea and gift and sign.
|Sunday 4th December:
||The Parish Eucharist 10.45am - visit of Bishop Christine of Newcastle
|Sunday 11th December:
||Christingle Service at 4pm
|Monday 12th December:
||School Christmas Performance at 5pm
|Saturday 17th December:
||"Journey of the Magi" (see below)
|Thursday 22nd December:
||Service of 9 Lessons and Carols at 5.30pm
|Saturday 24th December:
||Christmas Midnight Eucharist at 11.30pm
|Sunday 25th December:
||8am Holy Communion (BCP)
10.45am Family Service & Holy Communion
Saturday 17th December
11.30am in the Crossman Hall
Tickets available from the Vicarage
(Tel. 01289 389 216)
£6 per adult // £4 per child
Family Ticket 2 Adults and up to 4 children £18
|PAUSE FOR THOUGHT
||Revd Canon Kate Tristram|
Some jokes really are a bit primitive.
Take the classic scene of a man - and it usually is a man -
well-dressed, confident, a little pompous even, walking, or one
might say strutting along the road... and he steps on a banana skin
and ends up in the mud. And everyone roars with
laughter. At least, we adults don't, because of course we are
far too sophisticated to laugh openly at anyone's fall. Children can
laugh because they don't yet know enough of the
tragedy of life.
Why, today, this mental picture of an
undignified slither and fall? Because, in a modern
poem about the meaning of Christmas, I found these words:
"It is rumoured that thrones will be upended and every Caesar stands on
a banana skin."
Every Caesar, every emperor, every human
power stands on a banana skin. The thought echoes that of the
Virgin Mary in the poem known as the Magnificat: "He has brought
down the powerful from their thrones and lifted up the lowly".
But this is just so hard for us really to believe. Our news
bulletins bombard us with stories of the strong and the rich.
Money and power, power and money. Does President- elect Trump
stand on a banana skin? I think we can see that he
might. Does President Putin stand on a banana skin? Well, history
will tell us.
But historians, archaeologists, poets, are
fascinated by the way huge empires of the past have gone with hardly
a trace. The poet Shelley writes of the discovery in the
desert of three broken bits of a huge sculpture: a head and two
legs. An inscription read: "My name is Ozymandias,
King of Kings: Look on my works, ye mighty and despair!"
Had you ever heard of Ozymandias? Nor
had I, until I read that poem. He was a big power in his day,
obviously, and a nasty one. We don't know what happened to
him, but clearly his statue had stepped on a banana skin, and now
"the lone and level sands stretch far away". Sic transit
gloria mundi.w Worth thinking about!
ED: w literal: "Thus passes the glory of the
world." or "Worldly things are fleeting."