Tuesday, 10 August 2010

English Heathland and Much More

We were driving past Dunwich Heath in Suffolk in May when I thought how interesting to photo this kind of terrain which is very different to woodland areas and meadows.
This is not a place to wear shorts, the ground is covered in Gorse which is very spikey.
The ground is also very uneven so care needs to be taken but it is so worth while as the area is teeming with birds and small animals, particularly rabbits.
Such a safe haven for them as the Gorse keeps people away from their burrows and nests.

Guess what I have been doing while Alan has been recovering? Re-arranging some of my garden, something I said I would never do again. It started with a severe pruning session which got me realising that I did not really like some of the shrubs which had just been 'space fillers' in  the past.

Added to that we had removed all the roses from the front (aged and somewhat diseased) and knowing that one should never re-plant roses in the same place for a while I had bought a very reasonably priced 'shrub package' from my newspaper. Needless to say not the best thing to do as some of these shrubs did not take to the open and often windy position.

So I was looking for space to transplant the surviving ones in the back. This ended up in my not only discarding some of the shrubs but re-citing a number of them to accommodate the new ones. Doing this in drought conditions has meant lots and lots of watering but everything seems to be surviving.

Having so much Lavender in my garden also meant digging out and replacing some of them as Lavender becomes far too straggly after about 5 years. Hopefully things will look better next Summer than they do at this moment!

Alan is 'back to normal' but having to take 2 lots of medication which he has never done in his life before. His follow up tests are not until late September and his Consultant follow up not until December.

He was able to accompany me last week when we attended another brilliant 2 day session on studying the Torah at Pilgrims Hall.

Rabbi Alan who leads these sessions is a brilliant teacher. He does not 'teach' in the accepted sense but sits amongst us and gives one keys from the original Hebrew and encourages everyone to delve into the Scriptures themselves. If someone comes up with something that is irelevant to the topic in hand, he honours them by being able to show them where their seeing does fit it.

So in effect we are studying the Hebrew way and not the Greek way with a Bible scholar who is brilliant at bringing out the original text in the geographical, political and original time scale to be not only historical but totally relating to the time scale in which we live now. All very personally challenging as well as informative.

Interesting to see how in the end the main theme throughout the Bible is to return us to the state and place we were always meant to be in the beginning - living in the Garden of Delight (Eden) which is of course not a geographical place but a place of 'being'.

This has been our third study session and we are looking forward to February when we will continue. In the meantime I am participating in the studies that are undertaken in the College in Jerusalem and thinking about the on-line studies that the ministry (Torah International) are planning in the near future.

These studies are so amazing, even something as well known as the 23rd Psalm took on such a whole new meaning that it felt like something we had never read before.


Winifred said...

Glad to hear Alan is recovering well. Looking at those gorse photos reminded me of my Girl Guide days when we used to go out to collect dry gorse to use as kindling for our firelighting and camping. Wonder whether they still do that.

Your Torah studies sound interesting. I tried learning Hebrew but it was so hard I gave up and turned to koine Greek. A bit easier. Studying that in the original was very interesting. As you say you find out so much more about what it really meant when it was written. Having a good teacher makes such a difference.

You must have such energy to tackle your garden Barabara. I still haven't done anything to mine this summer. Our clay soil is awful so I tend to just stick bushes in. Even they take a while to establish. I really should st down and design it. I have the books!

melissa said...

This is a wonderful post, in a practical and spiritual sort of way. I've never seen gorse, so that was good---and what you said about Eden. I've never thought of that before (ashamed to say!).

You sound well...and that your husband is recuperating is good to hear too. :)

bennie and patsy said...

I have been thinking about Alan and so glad he is back to normal.

Needled Mom said...

The English Heathland is really an interesting looking area, It looks very dry as well.

Glad that Alan is doing so well. It is a pain to have to take medications - at least to have to remember to take them!!!

Your studies sound very interesting. I know you will enjoy them.

Vee said...

Good to know that Alan is doing so much better even if he does have to take medicine now. :D So many of us have that aversion that I understand it, but have had to overcome it myself.

Gorse is a term that I had never heard until reading E. Goudge. When I looked it up, I thought that it was a kind of juniper, which I even have growing out behind the garage. It is prickly and would be very difficult to walk through. (I confess that I mowed right over the top of it last week.)

The Hebrew lessons sound fantastic. I have always heard about the layers of meaning when one delves into the original language.

Willow said...

I'm so glad to hear a good report about Alan. Tell him how pleased we are. Rearranging the back garden sounds fun :) How I would love to take those courses!

Adrienne said...

It's good to hear from you again and know that your dear hubby is recovering. Your photos of Gorse brought back so many memories. We lived on the southern coast of Oregon for nearly four years and that area is covered with Gorse - brought by an earlier Scottish settler. I know all about walking carefully around Gorse and the biggest fear there was fire. It has an oily center that is like lighting gasoline once a flame starts. A Gorse fire wiped out much of the town early in the nineteen hundreds. Loved hearing about your studies!

zetor said...

You seem to have been working hard in the garden but I'm sure the hard graft will be worth while, although photos of your garden always look lovely. I didn't know about splitting Lavender will have to do that with mine.
Thankyou for your comments , mentioning punting on the Cam ,did you go to Cambridge Uni?I ask because my daughters did and I was wondering what college you attended.

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

So glad to hear the good news that Alan is doing well. I loved seeing your pictures and hearing of the Torah study too. Bible study is something I never tire of and am always learning something new. Take care with all that gardening. Here it is so hot we don't dare do much outside. Everything is so dry. Watering is something I need to do as it doesn't seem like we'll get much rain this week.

Melanie said...

What a great way to learn about the Bible- directly from a person who is familiar with the culture in which it is set and written.

Glad to hear than Alan is doing well.

I needed to do something in our garden today- the lavender is partly harvested so we can get up the front path again. I left the rest for the bees. Just now I was picking red currants. I just hope I have the time to make jam with them now. If not they will have to be frozen.

Edith Hope said...

Dear Barbara, What an interesting and varied posting which touches on all manner of subjects but, most importantly, reassures us all that Alan is clearly moving in the right direction. I do wish him well.

The pictures of the heathland remind me somewhat of the New Forest, or at least how I remember it from way back in the 1950s.

barbie said...

The pictures are achingly beautiful. Send one up for me if you can (prayer that is)

Beth said...

Beautiful photographs, Barbara! It sounds like you are working very hard in your garden - best wishes. A garden is always a work in progress, isn't it?
Blessings, Beth

Balisha said...

Hi, Delighted to hear that your husband is doing well. While a partner recuperates...getting out in the garden can be therapy. The temperature here is in the high 90's today...so no gardening for me. Your studies sound very interesting. I hope you tell us more. Balisha

one planet said...

hello from north germany a..
oh I was soooo surprised to find s o who blogged about scones I d rather want to bake soon ..tks for following you .. andrea

Elizabeth said...

Gorse -- horribly prickly stuff -- so vivid in your pictures.

Gosh what a lot of work transplanting stuff in a drought!
and now I hear that you have lashings of rain!!!!

So glad Alan is doing well. Send him all my best wishes.
I was most interested in your studies with the rabbi.
I think all religious have much to teach us.
Great and shameful controversy here over the possibility of an Islamic center downtown which any thoughtful person would welcome. One of the basic tenets of the US constitution is freedom of worship which is an excellent thing!

Anyway hoping you have a peaceful and lovely weekend!

Linda said...

That countryside looks a lot like the Luberon area of Provence. Lots of sharp things to walk by. Hope your husband is soon totally recovered.

Susan said...

Love learning more about the Jewish feasts and all they represent and the fulfilling of them even up to and including beyond this day. Exciting stuff. As it was in the beginning, so it shall be!!!!!!

Susan said...

So glad for the great report on Alan!!!