Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Blessing of the Animals ...



Off to Church we went … with two horses – something different to do when farming family visit from Vancouver Island … the dog had to stay behind … 

'Buttons'



... there’d have been too much barking and general kerfuffle … after all we don’t want to upset the congregation, visitors or rattle the village any more than necessary?!




Being blessed - a friend's pony


The Service was on the village green, known as the Tye, in front of the Church … there were lots of hymns or songs, four readings with prayers, and the Blessing of the Animals … 





St Andrew's Church on the Tye





... the Vicar visited each and every critter there: mostly dogs, three ponies and I expect a cage or two with some little critters as Lenny would say in it …








At a friend's house post having a carriage ride


As an aside: apparently the hymn “Morning Has Broken” was written in Alfriston in 1931 by Eleanor Farjeon … probably better known and to a broader audience through Cat Stevens’ recording - with the same title.




Cara wanted to play - one
boy wanted to zizz!


The family were entertained with carriage riding, horse and pony grooming, dog outings, walking to see the Long Man of Wilmington … lunches and suppers … some slept!


Extended table - with
fun Beachy Head mats




It was a lovely relaxed time … dinner and lunches were served, left-overs eaten and added to … 


Fresh from the tree in
the garden




... mulberries, by the squishy squashy ‘millions’, were used … 


Aga meringues


.... home-made Aga meringues – this is how they should be … 


Feeding the boy!




... the kids made sandwiches of whatever they chose … a goodly mix!




Fresh Salmon on offer, along
with Pork Pie, Cheeses, salads etc 


one evening Roast Lamb, another Salmon, et al ...



Henney's Dry Cider




...a local wine from West Sussex, Cider brought up from Frome in Somerset … more wine and champers – sadly I was driving!




Aaah - siblings!


Lots of nattering and catching up was done … even with your sibling!





A place to relax in the pergola
out of the full sun ... 
Well that was an easy post … lots of photos, bits of information, some captions … Bank Holiday 2016 remembered …





Ripening grapes

The family had last visited in March thirteen years ago – on an incredibly hot day – so hot – we moved lunch outside – my mother was up from Penzance, Cornwall … another fun day … It was Mother's Day - March 30th 2003.


Before we went down ... 

… the weather was the same this year … but it was a bank holiday … though this time we went to Church … to Bless the Animals – we hadn’t done that on their last visit … and the ponies weren’t around … dogs and cat were …


That’s it … it is incredibly hot – as I write this at the beginning of the month … 
The Prayer for all Creatures

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

63 comments:

Elephant's Child said...

What absolutely delightful memories. Thank you.
Mmmm mulberries. The birds get ours. Every year.

Rhodesia said...

I have been to a couple of these Bless the Animals services and they are great fun. I loved them both times I went. Thanks for the reminder Diane

Mike@Bit About Britain said...

Looks wonderful, Hilary...shame you had to drive! Lovely part of the world. Give my best regards to the Old Man of Wilmington when you next see him.

bazza said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bazza said...

Hi Hilary. I am really surprised that Cat Stephens didn't write that song. He mainly recorded his own compositions.
Incidentally. I really like Vancouver Island. It's about the size of England with the population of Eastbourne. Probably.
CLICK HERE for Bazza’s fabulous Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ EC - yes a wonderful weekend ... I think the family have made a point of picking as many mulberries as possible - but there were plenty on the ground and on the tree.

@ Diane - it was the first Blessing Service for Animals I'd been to - so it was great to be a large family group ...

@ Mike - I know ... sometimes driving is a nuisance - still it does me good ... not to drink. I will give your love to the Old Man ... when I pass fairly soon I expect.

@ Bazza - I had to reply to this a.s.a.p ... we're the 9th largest island, while Vancouver Island is the 43rd ... and we in Eastbourne have about 80,000 people, while Vancouver Island has 209,000 ... surprising isn't it! But comparing towns to islands doesn't really help though ... our population is 65 million or therabouts ...

Apparently he didn't write the song ... must have loved the hymn though ... it originally appeared in the second edition of Songs of Praise (1931), to the tune "Bunessan" composed in the Scottish Islands. See more in Wiki ...

Cat Stevens certainly popularised the poem-hymn ...

Thanks for your comments - it was a lovely weekend ... Hilary

Mason Canyon said...

I've never been to a Blessing of the Animals service but the town where I did live has one every year. This makes me wish I had attended. I'll have to check around where I live now to see if they have one thought I don't think Traveler would like it. He's a rather shy cat.

Thoughts in Progress
and MC Book Tours

Liza said...

I'm glad you had such a lovely family visit. You made me wish I had been there.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Glad they got to witness such a unique event. I've never heard of blessing animals.

Betsy Brock said...

Oh, that's sweet for the animals. And I love that old hymn...so beautiful! It can get stuck in your head...in a good way!
Beautiful table setting and those mulberries look amazing!

Out on the prairie said...

I need to get a few blessed and see if it changes their thoughts on how to act.I had them all over my yard after a storm blew a gate open. It was nice they stuck around, but they got into a lot of beds they shouldn't have.

Nick Wilford said...

That sounds like a grand day out. I hadn't heard of such services but I bet the animals enjoyed it as much as the humans did!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Mason - I'd never heard of such a Service either ... perhaps the village has recently introduced it. It was a lovely event - bringing together all the villagers and seeing some old friends (old or long known!). What a lovely name for your cat: Traveler ... wonderful!

@ Liz - it was a fun weekend ... with lots going on ...

@ Alex - they are all animal lovers ... so this was really good timing for a visit ...

@ Betsy - I think the ponies enjoyed being with us and their day out (as such) ... The hymn is a really pretty one - and often gets used here ... we sort of rough the table setting - but it's the garden room next to the kitchen - so satisfies all types of meals. The mulberries were delicious - the tree obviously loves its setting ...

@ Steve - oh dear ... that was a disgraceful act of escaping .. but at least they didn't want to leave you!! Storms - we never know what will get broken - and not morning (as in the song) this time .. hope it wasn't too much mess or too difficult to sort out.

@ Nick - I think we all enjoyed ourselves ... probably the dog wasn't too happy - but if she didn't bark: all would be well and she could have joined us.

Cheers to you all - we did have fun ...

H.R. Sinclair, Southpaw said...

That sound delightful! I've been to a Blessing of the Animals before. It was chaotic but fun.

Jo said...

The dogs didn't get to be blessed?

Sounds fun. Hope you had lots of cream with those meringues. On my one and only visit to Cornwall, I ate meringues and Cornish clotted cream every evening - delicious.

Kathleen Valentine said...

I think this is such a sweet tradition. There are places here where they do the same thing. I am jealous of those meringues.

Ann Carbine Best said...

I LOVED this post, Hils. I'd say it's among my all-time favorites. Blessing the Animals, so beautiful ... Jen and I are so caught up right now watching Heartland, filmed in Canada ... the horses in it all so wonderful, almost human. It's on Netflix.

Such a wonderful relaxing Sabbath you had. Wonderful photographs. JUST perfect.

Cherie Reich said...

My parents' church has had a Blessing of the Animals before, but it was nowhere near as fancy. It looks like you had a lovely time.

Joanne said...

looks like a delightful time despite heat. I love the term nattering and I would like some homemade meringues. Stay cool!

D.G. Hudson said...

I love the idea of blessing the animals. It reminds one of the farming roots we all have. How nice to have visitors that you haven't seen for a while either. If that's your place with the table, it looks so welcoming. I'm a city girl so I know nothing of farm traditions.

Julie Flanders said...

Aww, I love Blessing of the Animals services. When I volunteered at an animal shelter we took the shelter dogs once and had such a great time. Thanks for sharing these wonderful pictures.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Holly – everyone, every animal even, was well behaved – but it was lovely to see …

@ Jo – nope … the dog would have caused havoc! So retired home. Yes we had cream … and I remember your Cornish sortie for your honeymoon …

@ Kathleen – it was lovely to be able to join in with everyone … the meringues were VERY good!!

@ Ann – that’s great: thank you. I’m glad you’ve found something to watch that Jen is enjoying too – films and series with animals always draw our heart-strings don’t they…

So glad you enjoyed the mix of photos … a happy day …

@ Cherie – I’m not sure this was fancy – but it was well done – and the weather held off just! We had fun …

@ Joanne – the heat came afterwards … it has now gone – and is cool (sadly). At least that Sunday the weather stayed dry … Nattering was the ideal word for the range of subjects we all covered. Those meringues are always soooo good – good thing they’re not in my store cupboard!

@ DG – it was a lovely Service to attend – and we do all have farming roots of one sort or another. The West Country tour lady – Emily Hobhouse’s great niece, Jenny, is their mother … so family links … but again a year later it was good to catch up with them.

Sadly not my table – but a great place for a party of any kind … it is always welcoming … we’re not farmers either … but Jenny’s husband was … and now her son runs the farm.

@ Julie – how lovely to take the dogs to a Blessing Service; so glad you enjoyed all the mix and match of photos …

Cheers to you all – delighted you enjoyed reading the post - Hilary

M Pax said...

Sounds like a great service and a splendid day. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Victoria Marie Lees said...

Oh my gosh, I wish I were there. I've said this before, Hilary, I love all your photos. You've made me soo hungry. These memories are the treasure that you store in your heart. Thanks for sharing them with your readers. All the best!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

How sweet that they bless the animals. My Rocko needs a blessing. Or an exorcism.

Lynn said...

What a lovely time! It sounds amazing - full of friends, family and yummy food!

I love the look in Buttons eye. Sweet.

Anabel Marsh said...

Interesting tradition! Sounds as though you had a lovely day (even if you couldn't enjoy the wine).

Denise Covey said...

Loved this, Hilary. In Los Angeles, they have the blessing of the animals. I included it in a story I wrote awhile ago. Lovely idea. It looked like a wonderful day out for family and friends. Now I'm hungry and thirsty. Geo is a cider freak. He'd love a bottle of that!

Hmm. I wonder what is classed as hot in the UK?

Denise :-)

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Looks like a good time was had by all (except maybe the dog who got left behind.)

I don't think I've ever seen or eaten mulberries.

Liz A. said...

A great day out for all. Sorry it was so hot.

Rhonda Albom said...

I have never heard of the blessing of the animals before. How interesting. Thanks for sharing!

Robert Bennett said...

This looks absolutely amazing! It reminds me of the old apple festival back home. Every year, the entire town just kind of shut down in favor of meeting at the courthouse and enjoying apples and cider and fun.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Mary – it was fun and we did enjoy ourselves …

@ Victoria – just glad you enjoyed vicariously our weekend … adding the photos brings posts to life. I know – fun, easy meals … always good. Exactly memories are here (on the blog) to stay – thanks …

@ Diane – I’m not sure when they started having the service – I’ll have to find out. Oh dear Rocko – sounds a character!

@ Lynn – yes there were plenty of people around … with lots going on – and happy times. Buttons – does seem to be eyeing us doesn’t he …

@ Anabel – I’m not sure it’s a tradition in the village – perhaps it now is for a few years and will stay the course. Pity about the wine … but I had one glass – which I enjoyed .

@ Denise – that’s great to read about the Blessing of the animals in Los Angeles … and that you included it – many strands of stories could be developed. I had cider recently when I was away with a friend … Cornish Cider and it was delicious.

Hot here is anything over 80 degs F, or 27 degs C plus … quite hot enough .. but we were in the 30s this year … 90 plus – not often ….

@ Dianne – oh I think the dog was happy – she’d had a walk up the Downs, and was running around all day with apples to be thrown! Another walk later on, and generally involved – except for the Service.

Mulberries are so good – but very messy – watch the stains!

@ Liz – thanks … it was cool that day of course, but has been very hot here in the south.

@ Rhonda – I’ve seen them around, but have never been to one til this year.

@ Robert – apple festivals are another story … they’ll be coming up fairly soon … and some of the market villages will definitely celebrate …

Thanks so much – great to have your comments and interaction … cheers Hilary

Gattina said...

What a nice day you must have spent ! I remember the long man of Willmington very well, was very amazed when I saw him first !
It cooled down here but it is still over 20° that's good !

Hart Johnson said...

That looks a lot better than when I've gone to church. And do you know... I hadn't actually known what a Mulberry was... In the blackberry family? Or is it its own thing? Love the ponies!

Christine Rains said...

How wonderful! I think it fun to have the Blessing of the Animals. We have Mulberries here too. My son and his best friend pick them and get covered in the juices.

diedre Knight said...

I've yet to read a single post that didn't elicit a sigh. How enchanting to live where even large expanses of grass are given lovely names! Blessing of the animals is a right thoughtful ritual - I wish we'd do that here. I like the song "Morning has Broken" and remain a fan of Cat Stevens, though I haven't heard a peep about him in ages. I've never had a mulberry, but wouldn't mind trying one;-)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Gattina - we had a couple of days when they were around. The Long Man is a landmark. It's back being lovely weather wise again here til Sunday I think.

@ Hart - it was a fun outdoor Church Service ... as long as it wasn't raining as it can so easily do in England. Having your question re Mulberries - I'll write a Bran Tub post shortly on them - they deserve some attention ... the ponies are happy to be around with everyone ...

@ Christine - the Blessing of the Animals was a lovely Church Service. So good to read your son and his friend pick them: and get covered in ruby red juice! Fun for them ...

@ Diedre - many thanks ... so pleased you enjoyed the post. We have some wonderful words here in Britain ... it's fun to 'read' the landscape or history into the names that we use ... signposts to the past ...

It does sound as though some Churches put on similar Services for Blessing the Animals ... Cat Stevens is on his second North American tour ... it started on the 12th September ... so he's still around (only 68) ... he's using "Yusuf" as his stage name ...

Thanks everyone ... lovely to have you all here and to see and read your comments ... cheers Hilary

Elsie Amata said...

That sounds like an absolutely fun time! Such wonderful memories to cherish. The family gatherings are my most favorite to look back on too. All that food laughter. Great times!

Kali Delamagente said...

That was fun. I feel like I've had a glorious, exhausting day!

Sherry Ellis said...

I've never heard of a "Bless the Animals" service. I think it would be entertaining to see all the creatures that show up, and how they react to one another.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Elsie - always family gatherings are fun aren't they ... and all that food, then all the laughter too ... thanks -

@ Jacqui - it was fairly exhausting all round and I mostly watched - not much help with ponies ... and the food was catered for ... I just chatted happily and wandered around ...

@ Sherry - some people have - I'm not sure I had til this weekend - but quite honestly can't remember. The dogs that were there -were fairly well behaved and the ponies as long as they could graze on the grass were happy!

Thanks for visiting - cheers Hilary

beste barki said...

Sounds like you spent a day in heaven, Hilary! How wonderful. Salut, Beste

Margie said...

Lovely post, Hilary!
Loved all the photos, such lovely memories for you!

Thanks so much for the kind words on my last post!
I am back home from visiting my sister , was so wonderful to see her and she will be coming to visit me in October for a week!
She is such a brave soul and my hero!

Hugs
Margie

Deborah Weber said...

Oh what a wonderful time of celebration. I've never been to an animal blessing service, although I think it would be great fun. Hopefully with both critters and people behaving well - which is not always the case with group gatherings. But toss in some delicious food and everything is always better isn't it?

Shannon Lawrence said...

Sounds delightful! Glad you had such a good time.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Beste - it was a lovely family affair and kept us all amused and busy ...

@ Margie - thanks re the post - we were lucky ... wonderful weather and all things happened happily ...

I'm glad you had a peaceful time with your sister and that she's coming to visit shortly ... you'll love having her around ... especially as she's your hero and a brave soul to boot ...

@ Deborah - all was happily arranged ... good timing for an animal loving family and it was wonderful to be able to catch up. Good food, relaxed setting and beautiful weather definitely help ...

@ Shannon - many thanks .. it was fun ...

Cheers to you all - Hilary

Deniz Bevan said...

Aww, so lovely. They have this in Montreal sometimes, on the mountain. But I've only ever seen it on The Vicar of Dibley, and that episode always makes me cry!

Jeffrey Scott said...

Lots of great animals, lots of great photos.
I love the pony. He looks just like Li'l Sabastian.
Aww, he'll be missed.
Thanks for sharing. :)

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

It sounds like you had a fantastic outing. Next time, you should plan to spend the night in the area, so you don't have to be the designated driver. :)

I love the idea of a service to bless the animals. I'm afraid, for our cats, the pastor would have to make a house call. No telling how nutso they'd get around all of those other critters.

Paula Kaye said...

Loved Cat Stevens version of Morning has broken!! One of my favorite songs!!

Suzanne Furness said...

I have heard of animal services/blessings though I have never attended one. Such wonderful memories from a grand day out, thanks for sharing with us all.

Mark Noce said...

Beautiful and picturesque! Now I have to go there:)

Jean Davis said...

Blessing animals, what a neat event. The ponies are adorable!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Deniz - what a lovely setting for the Service - a mountain above Montreal. I've never seen the Vicar of Dibley version ... I'd better keep my eye out ...

@ Jeffrey - thanks - ponies are lovely to have around aren't they ... and give much joy to the people who use him from Riding for the Disabled ...

@ Susan - I wasn't far from home ... and this is home-normal life - so all is well. Oh yes your cats and ours too would cause riots ... they are fun - but do love their own life.

@ Paula - Cat Stevens' version of the hymn has stood the test of time hasn't it.

@ Suzanne - I do them marketed occasionally - but have never attended one. It was a fun weekend ...

@ Mark - the village is very pretty ...

@ Jean - certainly the locals with some added visitors joined in ...

Cheers to you all - it was a lovely family time ... Hilary

Inger said...

What a perfect post for me. I'm still reading Flora Thompson's books about life in Oxfordshire in the 1880s and 90s and I so want to be there. And this could have been then. I guess in this troubled world it is lovely to go back and dream of peace.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

The food looks amazing. I'm happy you have such great memories, Hilary. You probably already know, but the Royal Family arrived in Victoria this morning. The news is full of their appearance and itinerary. Hope they enjoy themselves. I'm not able to attend any of their visits. Though, here in Prince George, we're thrilled Prince George will see our province.

A Cuban In London said...

Beautiful post and lovely photos. Unusually warm here as well.

Greetings from London.

Friko said...

I have heard of animal blessings but I’ve never attended one. No village I ever lived in has had one. Marvellous.
And to do that with a large family around, children too, music and lots of good food and drink.

What fun it must have been. I remember that hot September day, it’s all over now. Rain is clattering against the windows as I write this.

Where are you now? Did the move go well?

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Hi Inger - so glad this post makes you smile and remember the English countryside. Oxfordshire is a stunning county ... I've always loved it. We are in troubled times ... peace we need to find for us all. I didn't watch the tv programme about her trilogy - Lark Rise to Candleford ... now I must read her books though ...

@ Joylene - we had a lovely time ... easy going and relaxed, but with family discussions on life etc. I'd heard mention the Royals had arrived in Canada - but there's way more going on here - that's higher up the news wavelengths. Difficult times. I've just noted the whole family has gone over. Enjoy the photos ... as I know you're a great Royalist - thank you for that.

@ ACIL - London I'm sure has been much hotter than down here - I've had similar warm periods in London a few decades ago ...

@ Friko - I'm not sure if they have the Service every year in Alfriston ... I'll have to check. But it was a wonderful idea to take the ponies down ... and to join in.

We're about to have rain ... it's hardly rained all summer - for me that's been a blessing. I'm on the Seafront now - and all well thank you ...

Cheers to you four - it's lovely having such interesting comments - take care - Hilary

DMS said...

Love these memories. Looks like such a fun time. I am such a fan of animals and especially horses- so those photos were my favorites. :)
~Jess

TexWisGirl said...

how wonderful. :)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Jess - thanks so much ... so glad I touched your heart with the ponies ...

@ Theresa - it was ..

Cheers to both of you - animals lovers ... Hilary