Friday, 5 March 2010

Lent reminds me of our beautiful altar and more...........

Dear All
Isn't it strange how something can suddenly grab your thoughts?  I say that because I was musing on my next blog but as I was doing so I caught sight of our beautiful altar in St. Hilary's.  That is the beauty of having St. Hils in constant view when I am in our living room.......a constant reminder of all things good in my life.
 You can all see it above in close up as Priscilla Jane too admires it.  I will spare you the hassles encountered this afternoon whilst taking all of these photographs but I can assure you it involved various permutations of hand held flash with image stabiliser set, daylight bulb with tripod and timer, tripod with flash and timer, no tripod, timer, no timer.......................shall I go on?  ALL, of course, in an attempt to get that ONE perfect shot!

Where was I?  Sorry about that as I have plainly digressed again as is my wont!  Oh altar!  NOTHING would persuade me to part with it (a complete nonsense of course - WHERE would St. Hils be without an altar?!) because it really "says it all" in terms of the Christian message as it is encapsulated in the words, "In Remembrance of Me", carved along the front.  To me, it also explains the meaning of Lent so well in just those few words.
We SO have to thank Mark and Sharon Stockton of Stockton Miniatures for this master piece. I would NEVER cover this message up and that is why I so love my hardanger ribbon bands which fit along the top so perfectly and which allow for me to embroider a simple hardanger cross on each end.

I have to apologise though because Ernest (mallard duck husband to Esme and son of Eric!) and GP (young Grace's pet guinea pig!)   have insisted on sitting ON the altar.........I am not sure that any REAL church minister or church leader would be so readily accepting of such a thing in their church.  However St. Hils is not quite an ordinary church is it?  For one thing...................each member of the clergy and congregation is only 1/12 scale in size!!! 

Whilst I am thinking about it I MUST share with you something that did amuse me the other day.  Again it is all about search engine ratings and this time I think, if my memory serves me right, it was Yahoo on this occasion.  Would you believe that our modern day parable on the "missing teaspoon" came seventh in a search someone had made for the parable of the "lost sheep".  Whoops!  I found that whilst checking my statisitics one day.  Lets hope they were not completely displeased with their rather eccentric "find"!!

Apologies for wondering off there again!  I am back "on piste" again now I promise!

I wonder if any of you will have noticed a particular theme in our church?  I say this because we have not only had Mark and Sharon Stockton provide us with church furniture but also John Cheal, who has made us various "bespoke" pieces including the organ, eagle lectern, tea trolley and altar rail.  The furniture that we have received from Stockton Minatures is made out of the beautiful wood, black walnut.  I can still remember my emails to Sharon Stockton because I was just SO excited when I found their website.   Vic Newey had put our church together from the original kit and had even extended the width of the floor from ten to thirteen inches so we had more room in what was still, in effect, a glorified room box.

I was desperate to find some suitable church furniture but nothing seemed to be available online or in the UK mainstream dollshouse shops or shows.  However Stockton Miniatures in the United States of America was to prove  my saviour! 

As you can see with this close up of one of the pews from Stockton Miniatures, Ben is admiring the little  carved logo which is on every pew end.
John Cheal was anxious to ensure that his furniture, where appropriate, also had this logo on.  You can see below an enlargement of the portion of the organ ............

Priscilla Jane is SUCH an observant girl isn't she?  She has spotted the logo here on the altar rail too.....

The altar rail is actually made out of non-precious metal, ie brass, and wood. John has made great use of the logo taken from the Stockton's furniture as you can see and with the use of the brass and wood the effect is really lovely and so realistic!

When I commissioned John to make this altar rail we discussed it in detail because John wanted to know how I wanted to play things.  You see an altar rail in a real church usually has the centre part of the rail on a hinge so that it can open so that the minister and anyone in the procession can enter the sanctuary.  We discussed this at length until John suggested that he simply had the middle part of the rail as a separate piece which could be taken out or slotted in depending on the kind of pose I wanted to photograph.  You can see more on our News page where John is seen demonstrating the altar rail.

I have also spent some time this afternoon "playing" with a pose which has included Ambrose and Adele with this stand up small wooden cross which we bought from a Cathedral shop somewhere on our travels.  I think I made mention of this on an earlier blog...........  You just wouldn't believe HOW difficult such an "easy" pose would be to photograph.  I set the scene up on the right hand side of the altar thinking that my Ixus 980 camera would be happy to give me a good macro focus on Adele at least.......but no...................all of the photos were just too blurred to be usable.  So I decided to place Ambrose, Adele and Prince on the LEFT hand side of the altar instead with the said cross.  I eventually had something that didn't look too below. Apologies because Syd the pigeon is ALSO on the altar together with Eric and GP!

I then tried again with just Adele and Prince on the right hand side of the altar below.
I am not quite sure WHICH of these two photos I will put on our home page at the moment.  I don't feel that we are far enough into Lent to use them yet however.....perhaps when we come up to the fifth Sunday which is also called "Passion Sunday".

Phew - have I lost you all yet....I hope not but apologies if I have because I do have a tendency to ramble............
And now the smell of fish and chips in the oven downstairs beckons.......nothing better on a Friday after my last day of the working week.....
Till the next time.............

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