Goings and Comings

A last few fireworks to end Carnival Week

This, the fiftieth blog on this website, comes with a thought or two of how the summer is unfolding here in Swanage: Carnival week is over; in fact it ended with fireworks on Saturday evening, which, this time, we watched from the rectory garden. But now, walking along the sea front, the schedule for Lifeboat Week - which is next week - is up and ready to be studied, and activities planned (a visitor was photographing the advertising poster, as one does these days). Also, the first play of the traditional repertory theatre company, the Swanage Rep, is underway at the Mowlem, starting tonight: Waiting For God by Michael Aitkens, the writer of the TV sitcom, the stage adaptation is set in Bournemouth. And, gradually, week by week, we are planning for the autumn: Folk Festival, Harvest Festival, Remembrance etc.

At the same time as noting what is to come, we are watching out for what is going, such as the last disappearing swifts. The great numbers of last Thursday night have gone, but one or two, passing through, remain to be noted; a flick of the wings, and they are gone.  I, also, on the way back from the crematorium today, drove through Wareham Forest, to see some sycamores and horse chestnuts already assuming autumn colours. That on 7th August is quite a symbol of our dry summer and ongoing heat. Some people have their runner beans finished, raspberries more or less fruitless, beetroot small and wooden.  Predictions of expensive vegetables to come are going to be realised.

With much watering, we still have our beans coming on, including the dark, almost black, pods of the dwarf French Bean Purple Queen, which turn green in boiling water. We have also one or two surviving plants of the runner bean Sunset Improved with pale pink flowers, added to the standard Scarlet Emperor. With courgettes and tomatoes, the remaining potatoes, and lettuce and rocket, the rectory garden should be feeding us for a few weeks yet.

All Things Bright and Beautiful this afternoon, our service in St Mary’s for those with memory loss and carers, was well attended, and brought visitors too, to partake of cream teas with us afterwards. We thought of Jesus walking on the water, from today’s Gospel, with Peter stepping out onto the lake to meet his Lord. Sinking or being held up; bold faithful steps or the hesitant moments of failure from those early disciples, they are all there in the story which we read; and to experience, as we are here today also, Christ’s words: “Take heart, it is I; have no fear.” (Matthew 14: 27).

John Mann