Count Down

 Action 49: This is the season for apples. If you – or your neighbour – has a surplus, use some to make mincemeat. It will have matured nicely by Christmas.

Chop 500g of apples into small pieces – leave the skin on but discard the core – and place in a large bowl. Add the  juice of 2 lemons. Add a teaspoon each of nutmeg, mace and cinnamon – or use ready mixed spice. Add 800g of dried fruit: use a mixture of raisins, figs and apricots. Chop the figs and apricots into small chunks: this is easily done using a pair of scissors. Add 250g of sugar. 

Traditionally mincemeat includes suet – vegetarian or otherwise but I choose to omit this as there is usually plenty ty of fat in the pastry and the brandy butter. 

You can also add a couple of tablespoons of brandy but this is optional. Mix  all together. Leave the mixture in the bowl for 3 or 4 days stirring each day – cover with a tea-towel. Put into jars and it will keep for several months. We keep some back to make  for triangle mince pies for Trinity Sunday. 

Green Tau Reflection

Life choices that bring blessings 

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also;  and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you. Matthew 5:38-42

The above comes from the Beatitudes: Jesus’s teaching to the crowds on the approach to life that would bring its own blessings. 

An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth sounds very mercenary. A contractual arrangement in which neither side looses out. A fair’s fair deal that leaves no space for argument not for generosity. It has the feel of a fixed price market. Anyone who tried to pay more than the asking price would be a fool. Yet Jesus invites the listener to be that fool. To pay more than the asking price. To give more that is required or demanded. To act in a way that undermines the normal way of doing business. It is a radical counter-cultural way of being that will bring its own blessings.

In the world of the climate crisis, old ways of doing things will have to change, old traditions and  old  norms will be replaced by new ways. Heating homes with gas will be history; the supermarket run in the car and the lift to school will disappear; holidays won’t start at the airport; strawberries will be a treat for the summer not Christmas.

Change like this can be hard to accept. After a life time in which cars have become the default means of transport, it is hard to rethink in terms of walking times. After a life time in which air travel has become part and parcel of the holiday package, it is hard to rethink in terms of trains and local destinations. After a life time in which seasonal food describes food linked to sporting/ social events, it is hard to re shape our eating round a annual cycle of what is currently in peak production: raspberries in June, plums in August, avocados in February. 

Change can be expensive as new practices, new products are scaled up and developed. The bonus of economies of scale take time to kick in, the benefits of lower energy bills will be felt gradually over the years whilst the initial cost of new equipment – heaters, electric cars, solar panels – may be steep.  

Following Jesus’s teaching, we can become trend setters, living a new lifestyle, adopting ways that will curb GHG emissions and restrain the climate crisis. We can lead by example and do things that are not the norm, that are not (yet) fashionable. We can choose to walk or cycle that bit further than usual rather than going by car. We can refuse to buy the plastic wrapped fruit or sandwich. We can explore the UK rather than the world. We can decline avocados in summer and strawberries in winter. 

Those of us with money can invest in carbon neutral technology, we can buy the eco friendly products and services, and we can do so generously, supporting producers as well as the climate. Train travel can be more expensive that going by car or plane, but we can choose the climate friendly option. Organic food may be more costly – now – but we can choose it over cheaper products that are less environmentally friendly.

Jesus asks that when we choose how to live, that we choose to think of the needs of others and be ready to meet their needs first. The results? A transformed world!

Falling in Love 8

Something we will probably only ever see in a picture or on film, is an iceberg . Icebergs are huge lumps of fresh water ice  that have broken away from an ice shelf or glacier. Icebergs float because frozen fresh water is less dense than sea water. Most of the iceberg will be submerged in a ratio of 1:7. Currently the largest iceberg is A-76 – which is in the Weddell Sea in Antarctica – is 170 km in length and 25 km wide!

Most icebergs are white but can be various shades of blue – or even black – depending on the amount of air and impurities in the ice.


The world around us is full of curious, beautiful and amazing things. As small children our curiosity and our amazement knew no bounds. Every day would produce novelties- things to see, things to chew or eat, things to grab and hold, things to poke and explore. 

As we have grow older we have often lost that sense of wonder. Things that were new have become mundane. In the rush to be busy, small things flop below the radar. Decorum dictates that we shouldn’t prod or lick things and, unless we’re wine tasters, swirling stuff around our mouth and spitting are frowned upon. Stopping suddenly just to look is discouraged – it interrupts the flow of traffic. Daily routines take over. 

And our love for the world wains and falters. 

The season of creation-tide runs from 1st September till 4th October, the Feast of St Francis. Let’s fall in love again with creation. 

Count Down

Action 46: Set up a bird feeding station in your garden. Use a selection of bird feeders that will hold  different sorts of bird food – suet cakes, seeds, peanuts etc. These will need to be hung from a pole or the branches of a tree. You can include a bird table for those birds prefer to eat from a flat surface but you may find everything gets eaten by pigeons – try a table with a roof to lift access. Locate your bird feeders where they cannot readily be accessed by cats but can be accessed by you, as you will need both to keep them filled and to regularly take them down for a good clean. Mouldy food is not good for birds. The RSPB has instructions for DIY bird feeders: https://www.rspb.org.uk/fun-and-learning/for-kids/games-and-activities/activities/make-a-recycled-bird-feeder/

Also include a shallow bowl for water. Birds need fresh drinking water.

If …

Soil Plant Hands Growth Environment Nature Dirt

If we are called us to beat swords into plough shares,  

we are also called to turn military jobs into green ones.

If we seek to establish peace,

we must generously offer both love and practical gifts. 

If we shift from passive to active travel, from cars to cycles,

we shall need cycle paths and secure shelters.

If we replace petrol engines with electric motors, 

we must also turn petrol stations into recharging points.

If we swop meats for a vegan diet, 

we must also turn beef farms into arable farms,

sheep fells into woodlands,

dairies into nut fromageries.

If we switch to green electricity,

our pension funds must invest in renewable energy.

If we green our pensions, 

surely we will green our banks too.

Creator God, help us to see the changes we must make,

Give us the wisdom to support them, 

the energy to achieve them 

and the joy to celebrate them.

Amen.

Count Down

Action 47: Green your pension: this article comes from The Guardian
There’s an estimated £2.6tn invested in UK pensions. You might not know it, but much of it funds environmentally harmful industries and activities such as fossil fuels or deforestation. Your pension may not seem like a powerful eco tool, but according to research by Make My Money Matter, Aviva and Route2, getting a green pension can be 21 times more effective in cutting your carbon footprint than  giving up flying, going veggie, and switching to renewable energy combined. In fact, this research shows it’s the most powerful step an individual can take to reduce their carbon. And it’s not just a high-impact activity – it’s also popular. More than two-thirds of us want our money to support people and the planet. By pressuring your provider to invest more sustainably, or finding a more climate-friendly option, you’ll be able to sleep easier knowing your pension is now a force for good. 

https://www.theguardian.com/green-your-pension/2021/jul/08/green-your-pension-and-four-other-unexpected-ways-to-lower-your-carbon-footprint

Falling in Love 7


Acorns are small but have a look of completeness. Their smooth skin and rounded shaped topped with its own little cap. That little cap is such a perfect fit! Once the acorn has fallen, its cap discarded, its skin broken, the journey of growth begins and over the years, that acorn will be transformed  from seed to majestic oak. There are oak trees in Richmond Park that were acorns back in the days of Henry VIII.

The world around us is full of curious, beautiful and amazing things. As small children our curiosity and our amazement knew no bounds. Every day would produce novelties- things to see, things to chew or eat, things to grab and hold, things to poke and explore. 

As we have grow older we have often lost that sense of wonder. Things that were new have become mundane. In the rush to be busy, small things flop below the radar. Decorum dictates that we shouldn’t prod or lick things and, unless we’re wine tasters, swirling stuff around our mouth and spitting are frowned upon. Stopping suddenly just to look is discouraged – it interrupts the flow of traffic. Daily routines take over. 

And our love for the world wains and falters. 

The season of creation-tide runs from 1st September till 4th October, the Feast of St Francis. Let’s fall in love again with creation. 

Eco Tips

Keeping Warm in Winter

  1. Wear layers of clothes. Each layer will trap air that is warmed by your body. Every layer is another layer of insulation. 
  2. Wear thermal underwear or alternatively wear extra leggings and T-shirts which will be save  having to buy extra clothes.  
  3. Outside wear a hat, gloves and scarf – and why not do the same inside? Historically people have often worn hats inside – neat bonnets, Tudor caps,  Monmouth caps, smoking hats, head squares and scarves, beanies and berets. 
  4. Cosy socks and slippers are pluses too – make sure your winter shoes and boots are big enough to allow for warm/ thick socks. If you have thins socks, double up and wear two pairs.
  5. Close curtains and pull down blinds at dusk for once  the sun sets, temperatures will drop. Drawing your curtains will keep the warmth in the room. The more layer between you and the outside, the better the insulation. You might have blinds and curtains for example. Alternatively you can get extra thermal linings to hang behind your curtains. 
  6. If overnight your bedroom has remained warm, allow that warmth to permeate the rest of the house before opening the windows to air the room.
  7. If windows are draughty, you can seal the gaps with a proprietary stick on strip.  
  8. If your doors are draughty or if they are not very thermal efficient (maybe with lots of glass) you can hang a curtain to pull across at night time. You can make a sausage shaped door stop  to prevent droughts that come under a door, or if it is an external door you could fix on a draught excluder. 
  9. Take exercise – it will warm you up. If you get cold through sitting still, even running up and down the stairs a few times will help. 
  10. Wrap up well and have a brisk walk. 
  11. Have plenty of hot drinks and at least one hot meal a day. 
  12. Use a hot water bottle in bed – you can also use one if you are sitting down for a while, either under your feet or on your lap. Equally if you are sitting still for a while, have a blanket to put over your knees. Or if you are watching TV you might  wrap yourself in a blanket.
  13. Make a hand warmer – this could be a cotton bag filled with uncooked rice  that you heat for a few seconds in a microwave. You will find plenty of DIY instructions on line. Or you could use a small heat resistant bottle or jar, fill it with hot water and wrap it in a sock. 
  14. Our own body heat will  heat up a room. Plan your day so that you spend most of it in one room rather than heating up several spaces. 
  15. With all these measures, you should be able to turn your thermostat down so reducing your carbon footprint. Similarly use the controls on your heating to limit the number of hours you need the heating on. During the day, especially if the sun is shining, or if you are active, you will not need extra heating.

Falling in love 6


The oak tree is so embedded in our past that we associate it with the essence of Englishness: strong, resilient, with luxuriant growth. Yet the oak tree is native across the whole of Europe and the virtues of strength, resilience and abundant life are equally widespread.

The world around us is full of curious, beautiful and amazing things. As small children our curiosity and our amazement knew no bounds. Every day would produce novelties- things to see, things to chew or eat, things to grab and hold, things to poke and explore. 

As we have grow older we have often lost that sense of wonder. Things that were new have become mundane. In the rush to be busy, small things flop below the radar. Decorum dictates that we shouldn’t prod or lick things and, unless we’re wine tasters, swirling stuff around our mouth and spitting are frowned upon. Stopping suddenly just to look is discouraged – it interrupts the flow of traffic. Daily routines take over. 

And our love for the world wains and falters. 

The season of creation-tide runs from 1st September till 4th October, the Feast of St Francis. Let’s fall in love again with creation. 

Count Down

Action 46: Knit something warm for winter: wrist warmers and beanies are  easiest if you are a beginner. You could try a beret, leg warmers, scarf or, if you have the time, a jumper. You might like to use yarn made from recycled cotton (t-shirts!) linen or silk,  or wool that comes from one of Britain’s rare breeds of sheep.