Monthly Archives: April 2014


Dear friends, this post goes up late because I just lost track of the days! I am relaxing with my family, and thought it was still Sunday. Isn’t that lovely? But still, sorry for my tardiness.

As we approach our second birthday Kirk and I, or ‘The Management’ as he wryly terms us, are taking stock. So we will be back with you in June with some fresh new ponderings. In the meantime, we would like to point you back to some of our pieces from the first year of Come In From The Cold posts. We will take it in turn to link you back to some favourites of one another’s writing. I just very much enjoyed rereading Kirk’s post, ‘Only three percent? It’s a start…’ I am sure you will enjoy revisiting it too! I know Kirk has done a lot of work on getting to know his neighbours better, so committing himself here clearly paid off. Here’s a little quote from his piece, which seems like a motif for life: ” I have a real sense of where I need to go, and it’s next door!”

Have a good week, friends!


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Beauty in Nature


In the spirit of not ‘forcing the issue’ with my writing, I’m posting a series of photos I shot on Friday while traveling in Alaska.  Tons of thoughts spin around my head begging to get out, but alas, I don’t possess the organizational skills at the moment to responsibly let them out!  Thus, I’ve decided to share these photos with you. I’ve always loved birds of prey, ever since a kid and my father was swooped on by a red-tail hawk while running one day back home in the canyons of my childhood.  I remember being fascinated by their beauty, size, grace and power.  The subject of these photos may be the most stunning, visually, of them all…

Have a wonderful week friends!!  Cheers! Continue reading

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Safety in Numbers

It isn’t always easy to think of something to write for a weekly blog. Last night as I walked to the pub to meet a friend, I mulled over ideas and rejected them as insufficiently developed. Half a bottle of red later and I felt more… creative?… as I made the journey home. At the point I switched on the torch on my phone I realised how safe I feel living in this village, and I knew what I wanted to write.

path through grass, sign saying 'ratho community woodland'

a lonely path?

Many years ago I lived and worked in a tiny little village in the Yorkshire Dales. At night, one of my colleagues regularly used to throw on a head torch and stomp around the countryside surrounding Malham, enjoying the feeling of peace she experienced. I marvelled at this and realised how much of a people-person I really am. I have lived and travelled in many cities and rarely felt truly unsafe, night or day, yet I would be terrified to be alone in the countryside at night. I am completely reassured by a faith that there is always someone who could (and surely would) come to my aid. Of course there is always the slim chance that someone may wish to harm me, but with enough folk around me I feel confident that someone would help. And I know that, sadly, this isn’t always how it pans out and that some awful things do occur. But I am not talking about what I know to be true here; I am talking about what feels true to me.

So as my phone lit my way up the path from the pub, I was struck by a sense of protection. The path runs through a little community woodland and takes about sixty seconds to walk, but it doesn’t sit right by any houses (and it is the proximity of houses that usually offers me reassurance at night). But last night it was the sense of the whole village surrounding the path that comforted me. Not an anonymous house immediately within reach, but many buildings housing people I actually know and trust all around me. I felt I could call out and a familiar face would speedily arrive if I needed them.

photo of path past rickety fences and red bike shelter

Houses over the fence – this bit of the walk is safer, Mum!

My mum reads this blog (hello, Mum!) and I would like to reassure her that I did realise that choosing the woodland path is not a sensible thing to do on my own and I promise I will take the longer route next time. Promise. But that doesn’t matter. What matters is the richness of that feeling I had as I strode up a torchlit path at eleven pm. I felt known, noticed, valued, and protected.

My paid work often involves working with people who have a disability and their families or support staff. The concept of the “Vulnerable Person” has led to a fearfulness of ‘bad people’ and a wish to protect disabled people from perceived risk. To be honest, I think the most meaningful and significant life experiences nestle right up beside risk. And I believe that getting to know a hundred people is safer than only knowing two, even if one of those hundred turns out to be a bad egg. Because if one person let’s us down, we still have ninety-nine people looking out for us. Connection not only fuels happiness and wellbeing, it places us more visibly within a network of care and support. And we all need that from time to time.

path leading past fence and towards brick houses

arriving home

It isn’t always easy to think of something to write for a weekly blog, but it is never impossible. We are living ‘community’ every day; this stuff is never-ending…


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Gifts of the Frisbee

Today our good friend Peter Leidy contributes to Come In From The Cold as a guest blogger!!!  Enjoy!!!

My wife, Betsy, and I are on the plane home after a lovely time in Puerto Vallarta.  We like to stay in the old part of the city, miles away from the all-inclusive resorts, strolling the town and swimming in Banderas Bay.  We love the colorful mix of locals and tourists (mostly Mexicans from Guadalajara and Canadian/US visitors.)  Ahh, the days on Los Muertos beach.

Peter and Betsy

Peter and Betsy

I had brought my Frisbee with the hope of finding willing players, but so far, no luck.  Continue reading

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