View from the PamCam – when my worlds collide

Today’s view from the PamCam is from tonight’s rehearsal in Pemberton’s bandroom. There are no cornets required tonight so I’m doing some reading for my forthcoming summer school whilst listening to the lower brass being rehearsed on the national finals piece.

Theological reflection in practice meets brass band in practice. Definitely straw for the bricks there!


Photo of the Day

I was walking down the street today and saw the most beautiful sight. This stunning butterfly resting on a bush literally stopped me in my tracks.

Glorious beauty on my own doorstep.


View from the PamCam – Sermon Writing

I began thinking about the sermon I’ve been asked to deliver tomorrow way back on Tuesday. I always begin with prayer, asking God to speak through me and to form the words in my mouth and through my pen.

I read the passages of scripture and made a few notes, then left it until this morning before actually making a start on constructing it. Today has been a day of ins and outs, and it was only at about 8pm I managed to get fully into writing mode.

This photo is showing the stage of typing up my handwritten script. It’s a bit longer than usual, so a bit of editing is required in the morning before I set off for church.

The Good Samaritan, and what it tells us about God’s love.

I’ll perhaps post it here tomorrow.

God bless you.


New Craft – Bracelets

I recently had a birthday, and I was given some money with the instruction “spend it on something for yourself, don’t spend it on bills”.

Tough call! I’m not used to treating myself and thought about perhaps trying something new in the craft department. I am fond of all things Celtic and I have long since been fascinated with learning how to draw Celtic knots. I was trawling Pinterest the other night looking for inspiration, and I stumbled on a link to someone’s Etsy page where they were selling beaded leather bracelets. I was interested in buying one for myself – it was definitely a treat and definitely not a bill!!

Trouble was that they were all fantastic and I couldn’t decide which was my favourite.

Then I thought, hang on, for the price of a bracelet, you could perhaps get some basics and make your own….

So I did! I got a starter kit from amazon and was excited to give it a go.

And this is my first attempt.

It is made using a narrow leather cord, and following a couple of YouTube videos showing me a few techniques and ideas, I came up with this design. It is a Josephine knot with two simple closure knots either side of it.

It’s a little big for me and I’ve crushed one of the jump rings by accident, but I will tidy it up tomorrow and it will be ready for wearing properly.

I quite enjoyed making this one and I am going to make another to wear alongside it with a cross and some beads which I will use as a prayer bracelet.

I love finding new crafts to try!


The Bees Are Buzzing

This little guy is off on a world tour. I’ll let you know when he arrives!


Daybook Entry – 10th July 2019

For Today… 10th July 2019

Outside my window… I have a beautiful rose growing

I am thinking… about volunteering at the local hospice to gain some ministerial experience in a non-church setting

I am thankful… for my Mum making our tea tonight

I am praying for… a light to my path

I am wearing…my hair in its most curly mode, i.e., just towelled dry after my shower today and left to go wild

I am creating… a list of things I need to take with me next week to Vicar Camp

I am going… to need a bigger bag!

I am wondering… if the weather is going to be cool or warm on Friday. I have another walk planned

I am reading… “Shadow Man” by Margaret Kirk

I am hoping… to finish my final assignment for my MA before next Thursday so I can concentrate on my final exam piece at last

I am learning… the art of expert time management at the minute

In my garden… all is calm, all is green

In my kitchen… there is a faint sniff of neglect in the air. Not had the time or inclination to cook properly for a while, but hope to remedy that soon

A thoughtful quote for today… “The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today”

A peek into one of my days… late night last night working on a written assignment for Vicar School

One of my favourite things… is submitting assignments after a long battle to get them done


Here Is Love, Vast As The Ocean

Sometimes, when I feel that I can’t give any more of myself, I am reminded of the one who gave his everything. This hymn says it better than I can.


Everything’s Going To Be OK

For anyone who needs to hear this today, everything is going to be okay.

Book Review

Book Review – The Serpent’s Mark

The Serpent's Mark: Perfect for fans of Rory Clements and S G MacLean (The Jackdaw Mysteries Book 2) by [Perry, S. W.]

Tilbury, England in the winter of 1591. This is the second book in the series (the first was The Angel’s Mark) and this book takes off more or less exactly where that one ended.

Nicholas Shelby, physician and reluctant spy, returns to his old haunts on London’s lawless Bankside. But, when spymaster Robert Cecil asks him to investigate the dubious practices of a mysterious doctor from Switzerland, Nicholas is soon embroiled in a conspiracy that threatens not just the life of an innocent young patient, but the overthrow of Queen Elizabeth herself.

With fellow healer and mistress of the Jackdaw tavern, Bianca Merton, again at his side, Nicholas is drawn into a sinister world of zealots, charlatans and dangerous fanatics…

Who are the main characters?

As above, the main characters are Nicholas Shelby and his friend Bianca Merton. He is a physician who has turned his back on the practice, and she is an Italian apothecary – licenced only because Nicholas put in a word for her at the guildhall – who runs a tavern. Along with a handful of small characters, these two form the backbone of both books in this series, but this book introduces a plethora of other minor characters that will probably not return in the next.

Where is it set?

It is mainly set in Bankside, which is the south bank of the River Thames in London and  known as Southwark today. It is a tough area of London and houses a lot of immigrant workers from the ships as well as the more nefarious characters who would rob you as they looked in your eye and said good morning.

My thoughts on the book:

I desperately wanted to love this book, but was disappointed that I only liked it. I am a big fan of C J Samson’s work of the same period (the Matthew Shardlake chronicles) and I was hoping that this would be as good as those, but sadly it’s not. The first in this series was a promising start – a likeable and well-rounded central character in Nicholas Shelby, a likely and believable supporting character in Bianca Merton, a decent enough plot with enough subplots and secondary plots to it that it looked like it was forming the basis of a decent series. However, this second book doesn’t live up to that same standard as the first in my opinion. The plot – Nicholas trying to stop a fellow physician from doing experiments on a young lad with epilepsy, a secret son/grandson who may or may not have been Queen Mary’s, a very improbable Kit Marlowe hanging about in the Jackdaw tavern testing out a dodgy play and so on – just feels a bit too contrived and a bit too forced to me. The subplot of the developing relationship between Nick and Bianca also felt a bit too contrived to me too. The narrative is quite repetitive in telling us that he is grieving for his wife who died giving birth to his child, and yet by the end of the book, all of a sudden there is a romance in the air. Doesn’t quite sit right for me.

I have read a lot of other reviews on this (Goodreads and Amazon) and I find that I am alone in finding it lacking somewhat. There are hyperbolic statements from other authors and critics all over the book’s Amazon page saying it is “sumptuous” and “delicious” etc, but I think I might have been looking at a different book! I have to give it credit for being a good paced narrative, with a proper story arc that had a beginning, a middle and an end, and I am (as ever) in awe of any author who can get his nose to the grindstone day in and day out to get a novel written in the first place. But I am a bit disappointed by it and found that there was a bit too much repetition, cliché and obvious plot twists for it to deserve the hype on Amazon and elsewhere.

Will I read the next in the series?

Do you know what, I probably will. I have a feeling that this is a series that will probably mature and develop as the books are written – so long as they are not rushed and are not “dumbed down” to meet publishing deadlines etc. The two main characters have grown on me during the two book series so far and I genuinely want to know what they get up to next. Just, next time, can we have a bit more of an original plot and not so many occasions where we are told about Nicholas’ love for his dead wife please?

Would I recommend it to my friends?

Yes. It is a historical novel in the sense that it is set in 16th Century Tudor England, but the writing style makes it an easy read. It is not bogged down by a lot of “old” language and even though I’ve moaned about it being not as good as the first one, it is a decent read if you don’t want anything too challenging to tax you.


Our Duchess

Drinking from a dinky cup, my Gran, the Duchess looking happy at 92. I am so glad I have her genes!!