Sunday, 9 May 2010

Beating the Bounds of St. Hilary's.........what is that about?

Hiya Everyone!
I am back again a week later to tell you how things have progressed in St. Hils even despite my continuing sickness which has necessitated further time off work sadly and two hospital consultations next week (which I hope will shed some light on why I have been so ill!) but I promise I won't bore you with my health woes because I am fed up with them too!  Our hand reared cockatiel, Pebbles is losing his feathers which makes him rather dozy and miserable sometimes.............if only I was only losing MY feathers!

Although, therefore, my flesh has been weak, my mind and spirit have both been pretty strong when it comes to further ideas for St. Hils and so, as a result, you may all have noticed a couple of new photos on our home page! Today is traditionally called "Rogation Sunday" and, when I remembered this a few days ago I was almost immediately anxious that our St. Hils congregation and clergy observed this great annual tradition (to find out even more visit Linton Parish Council website which gives a very full account of the origins of this tradition) which includes what is called "the beating of the bounds" of the parish.  Every year at this time people of various church parishes meet up and quite literally walk around the boundaries of their church parish and "beat the bounds" using walking sticks. By this they are blessing the boundaries of their church parish and, in rural areas, also blessing the newly sewn crops so that they yield a good harvest in the Autumn.  It will come as no surprise that this tradition pre-dates Christianity but Christians adopted it and used it as a way of blessing the church parish and all the crops that were being grown.

Enough of all that historical stuff and more about how St, Hils has adopted this tradition!  Firstly I had one problem.......WHAT do we use for the obligatory walking sticks required for everyone to enact out the "beating of the bounds" of St. Hils' parish?  Answer.....EASY..........cocktail sticks!  I think cocktail sticks are great for miniature work.  (a confession - Pebbles our cockatiel must have been on my mind because I have had to correct "cockatail" to "cocktail" TWICE!)

Ahhhhh.......I can hear you all exclaim in horror that I have included a pair of rather lovely and expensive looking embroidery scissors.  Fret not because these are now rather ancient and their bite is not as good as their appearance.  I can assure you there is a lovely pair of newer and sharper embroidery scissors now sitting in my embroidery box all ready for any future embroidery.  So these scissors above are a great accessory for me when it comes to every day cutting and trimming of tiny things  I have included Andrew's wood glue which I did use for a few of my first walking sticks but I soon realised that it is just as easy to make that handle by wearing down much of the cocktail stick with the scissors and, at an appropriate point, bend the stick at the weakness created taking care NOT to completely break it off.  However the glue works pretty well if you fail to avoid that break.

Here, above, you can see the results of my efforts.....  POOR Magnifi-Cat though!  He sat there ever so expectantly hoping that HE too would have a "made to measure" walking stick but have I obliged.........sadly not!  I will certainly have to ensure he doesn't miss out before we finish our story..........I promise you all that one!
Now to the walking sticks' story which I have been formulating this afternoon in my head.  Ambrose, I have decided, has made all of these walking sticks for the children back on his family farm where he lives with his widowed father.  What a clever lad he is and you can see him below arriving with some of his new creations.....

Of course he has not left the animals and birds out of this occasion and so you can see above he has also included sticks that are the right size for them too!  Lucky Eric loves his new stick!
I have to admit that I have almost too many photos which I took today which I would like to show off to you so I will have to be frugal here or I will bore you all to death with a long tome!

I had already decided to pose the dolls along the side of the church so that necessitated a good clean and dust of the proper sides which are hardly ever used because I prefer to have the transparent acetate sides so all can be seen inside. 

However on this occasion needs must and you can see above the church properly "clothed" with its' proper sides up.  Oh could look better couldn't it because here you can see both the towels on the top to protect it from our avian resident and also the daylight bulb used to illuminate many of our photographic shoots.

Ah......THAT is better isn't it?  You can all see how precarious things are when I attempt to balance the dolls along the slim ledge left once the sides are up.

Now you have all seen the actual pespective and size of the church I thought you would like to see Eric and Sepp with their walking sticks as they pose along the side of the church.  How clever of Sepp to hold her own stick to beat the bounds of the parish!  As you can probably observe, her "walking stick" is no more than the bitten off pointed end of the cocktail stick but it works perfectly! 

The children mustn't be forgotten so here above you can see what I have to confess is my favourite photo of the afternoon...........  Gracie insists on bringing her tambourine along as she wants to sing AND beat the bounds of the parish and when she sings she HAS to play her tambourine too!   That will certainly liven the event up won't it?
All looks spic and span doesn't it......................well think again............

Oh dear!  Yes the inside of the bell tower downstairs IS a mess!  Let me explain.  Andrew very kindly extrapolated all the standing dolls and placed them there for me before we put the sides of the church up.  I wanted to have the full range of dolls which I knew would work well standing along the side of the church awaiting the time the vicar starts to lead them on their pilgrimage of beating the bounds of the parish.  However in addition to dolls lying on the floor the display unit had also fallen over in the meantime and I have yet to pick up all my tiny cards and calendars which consequently fell out and on to the church floor...  I wonder if any of my "children" will do it for me?

As the children and clergy walk around the boundaries of St. Hils' parish beating the bounds, they will also remember to bless all the people who live within the parish too.   However I have to report that they suffer a rather big distraction on their pilgrimage.  As you all may remember, Aunt Sal's Tearooms is not far from the church and who should be standing at the door of the tearooms beckoning them in but Archie who is the proprietor.  I wonder if they will feel tempted to go in and enjoy a nice cup of tea and piece of cake or not?
I won't let on yet but suffice it to say I am sure that the vicar will know that, after a long walk around the parish, they will ALL fancy a nice cup of tea..........................................
So my new page idea is coming on but not complete so watch this space................................

I must away and leave you all in peace now.................tidying up and placing dolls and wildlife back "in situ" beckons and I will tell you why.  I found poor Syd, Homer's pet pigeon, in one of my props boxes yesterday and have NO idea how he got there!  More worryingly he was in the same plastic clip bag as my gardening tools.......................arghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Till the next time!

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