It’s International Day of the Sparrow

Growing up in the 60’s and 70’s I remember our urban backyard against the background sound of traffic being an oasis of birdsong. Blackbird, thrush, robin redbreast, finches, very rarely pigeons or gulls. Most predominant if I remember aright was the humble sparrow.

Over the decades the number of sparrows seem to have declined, it is so rare now I see or hear a sparrow that I always comment upon the sighting.

This morning I read 20th March is recognised as International Day of the Sparrow, a day appointed in India. I wonder if I will get to see and hear a sparrow today.


Hidden, In Plain Sight, by Teddy Entwisle

My sofa buzzed, phone buried deep within. I had been heading for bed, the message could be important!

It wasn’t. Did pique my interest though. Geocache published 2 miles away. After 10pm, I’d be in with a chance of First to Find. Quickly dressed, downloaded coordinates to my Garmin and soon I was pedalling north through the dark city.

The arrow slowly turned west, likewise I took the next turning left. 1.5 miles. In my head I tried to place the location, seemed possible outside the city.

The arrow now pointed south, there was a path ahead, twisting and turning by the brook. I bumped along that, not slowing for the tree roots, don’t tumble, don’t slow.

Close by now, the Garmin says just 100 feet. Stash the bicycle, not first though, can already see others searching, torch lights to and fro. I still had a chance, my Garmin more accurate than the phone app most people used.

I let the needle settle, just 5 feet away. I looked for a way over the ditch. Somewhere, a tree stump, branch, a shallow hole. Feeling around, what was I looking for? Always a challenge. The others were still looking, so had not found.

I stood on a log and peered down a hole – it being dark didn’t help! Hands and knees now, tugged a loose root. My hand closed round a canister, fingers slightly trembled, was I right?

Lid off, point torch, finger in, poked out the tiny tiny logbook. Carefully looked, Yes, Yes, Yes. My heart sang with delight. Filled in my entry, logged First to Find.

Decade, by Teddy Entwisle

As he ran footsteps echoed in the narrow street behind him. Ducking through an archway he flattened himself against a wall gaining a few seconds before they realised and returned.

Up the cobbled lane and out into open countryside. Finally downhill till he burst onto a pebble beach. No hiding his presence now. But he could hear too when his pursuers gained the beach.

Possibility of success glinted in his eyes, up the bank, being caught less likely now….

With an almighty leap he landed in their camp, tore up the flag pole thereby claiming victory for his team.

In My Phone Case…

My phone comes loaded with so many useful gadgets, I suppose they are apps, to me though they’re gadgets. There’s an FM Radio Player for data free listening, step counter which always thinks I’m swimming when I’m washing up! I can draw, write, do sums, take pictures, look up interesting facts, update WordPress. I can listen to stories, read books, watch a YouTube video within seconds of it being released.

That little Brick that barely strays from my side, gains all my attention, pays for my bus tickets, that reports back to its masters all I think, do, places I go – that stops me raising my head to cheerfully tip my hat at passers by can virtually do, or do virtually, absolutely anything. One day I might even be able to make a phone call on it.

It even comes with the ability to write notes!

But I’m old fashioned, I do like to write my notes with pen or pencil on good old fashioned paper. I did try note takers on the brick meaning every shopping list I wrote could be accessed across my devises at a stroke of the finger. But how much more satisfying to write an old fashioned list on a scrap of card, piece of paper, in a pad. So in a card pocket of my phone lives this notepad. I designed it from scrap paper rescued from the bin and this picture I absently doodled sat on the upper deck of a double decker. The back cover slides into a credit card pocket and inside all sorts, shopping lists, task lists, doodles.

Sometimes it’s nice to get back to life before my brick.

For some it is still Advent

Christmas seems to start earlier and earlier each year. For some as they pack away from summer holidays focus turns to laying Christmas plans. The Christmas Eve mad shopping dash for many years was my favourite.
There’s the start of Advent, or following Half term Break, or seeing their first Christmas Advert.

We are all different and fiercely defend our own perception of the facts. What we think is what is!
Did you know Christmas orders for stock in shops is ordered in in January. And of course organising those events starts way into the previous year!
I heard a comment this year, “My Christmas starts as the solo treble sings the first note of Once in Royal David’s City.”

Christmas can be over for some at the shout of Last Orders Please on Christmas Eve, others dismantle the Christmas Tree after the last Christmas Pressie has been passed out.
I’ve heard tell of decorations coming down and packed away before Boxing Day has barely begun. We’ll probably keep ours up till 12th night, who knows, maybe beyond.

Melchior, Gaspar and Balthazar, those three wise men or kings or magi were still far away on that first Christmas Day. Despite their appearance in all our nativity plays Advent for them would be another 12 days or thereabouts when they were able to celebrate Jesus birth in Bethlehem.

My church tradition follows a calendar showing we are still in the season of Christmas which ends on 2nd February. This is when we celebrate Candlemas, then we move into Ordinary Time.
Of course these are calendars we have built around our faith, we can celebrate Jesus birth, baptism, life, resurrection at any time and do so, but this is when we as a faith community celebrate Jesus birth.

I’ll be proudly wearing my Christmas jumpers, right through the season – maybe even till the weather warms.

A Valuable Hour.

Eldest GrandDaughter has been quite unwell, hopefully on the mend now. Today I video called her, chatted a while then we settled on a game.

Each armed with paper and pencil, (we added in pens and colour later) we took turns suggesting items to doodle on our papers.
She started with Phoenix, then I went with Tree. There followed Sea Dragon, People, Snow Dragon, Owl and finally Beach Bunny.We then decided to pull them together by adding in scenery and colour thus making one picture each out of many.

Not sure how Phoenix like my Phoenix is, hers is amazing. My favourite in my picture is the Owl, or maybe Beach Bunny and Sea Dragon nattering. On the other hand GrandDaughter leading GrandDad along the branch is quite an idea. In her picture such detail under all that colour.

Matters not my favourite character – we had fun, freed up time for Mum to get on with work and was good therapy for us both. Definitely though, my favourite hour today.

Unexpected Gift CCW21Nov2022

Task: letter thanking for unexpected gift.

Time: 15 minutes.


Has been a while since I scrawled a few words. You know, inspiration comes and goes, it hides in unexpected places. Look as I can it’s not there, then it just Pops out.

Maybe on a walk, asleep, supermarket,… then it has to be laid down in ink – or instantly forgot. That sadly happens a lot.

But when I think back the hours, nay years of pleasure I’ve had, pen in hand, Treading, Doodling, Scrawling – sending and letting go.

So thank you God for my unexpected gifts, Words to write, Pen and Parchment, doodling and scrawling here and there.

Gifts that are yours, not mine, given to help me, and maybe through me, others. Thank you indeed.

Your loving, often confused, knowingly loved and saved child,


Scribbling whilst out on a Tread


Gazing at the book in my hands, it had been repaired in the past, layer upon layer of silver fabric tape garishly ugly in appearance, though it had provided good protection. Further repeated use caused cloth to again break away from board and spine, pages had begun once again to drop away from the cloth binding. However the book had been handled carefully.

Sitting at my workbench I carefully tugged one tiny piece of dried fabric tape at a time. No rushing, tiny tug here, gentle peel there, continually watching to see how the many previous repairs had been added. Eventually, partially dismantled, the original book lay before me, I started the slow task of re gluing soft cloth which holds the book together back down to the spine and resealing where it was starting to peel away from the front and back covers.

All that had been lost in the dismantling process was the spine, took time to fashion a new one from card and tissue backed binders cloth.

With everything glued and clamped I finally went to bed. The glue needed to dry, then all that was left with a steady hand was silver lettering on the new spine.

The book ready again for daily chorister use in the choir stalls.

Heron at CherryHinton Hall

Not a long walk but enough to stretch the legs. At half way I paused to draw Master Heron standing lazily amongst the reeds. Resting, recharging, awaiting his next meal? Flapped lazily away as two moorhens dashed past brushing my shoulder!

I looked back to see what had spooked them, a spaniel leaping through the undergrowth, maybe thinking of an early lunch. He was called back by his master.

The Story of Zacheus

©️ Dominic Barton Aug2022

Good with numbers and very small

He’d take your money, keeping almost all

Made him rich, and very poor

all that cash, no friends any more


Ate like a king, drank the best wine,

Lived in a  palace, thought he was fine

But no one to talk to, no one to chat,

Began to realise he was a bad lad.


He heard about Jesus, miracles he’d done,

The man who reckoned he was Gods son!

Zach ran out the house desperate to see

Couldn’t see through the crowds so he climbed up a tree.

Looked to the left then to the right,

Then straight ahead, the guy walked into sight

‘Jesus’ he shouted, ‘Jesus I’m here!’

‘Come to my house for tea and a beer’


The crowds gasped in horror, they couldn’t believe,

Jesus accepted, they gasped and seethed!

So to Zach’s big house went Jesus to feast

Zach listened and followed Jesus in a heart beat.

So Zach changed his life, he’d heard and took heed

Gave back his money, more than he’d stolen in greed.

Now Zach was a pauper, he’d thousands of friends

The best sort of tale, be blessed, The End.