Improbable and impossible

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On Tuesday grandson Luca came to tea, requesting ‘toad in the hole’. We googled ‘toad-in-the-hole’… Apparently putting meat in a batter has been around for centuries – it first appeared in print in 1762!

Why toad-in-the-hole? I like the improbable story of a golf tournament in the town of Alnmouth in Northumberland, where the local golf course was overrun with natterjack toads.

A golfer putted his ball, only for it to jump back out the hole – followed by an angry toad whose sleep had been disturbed.  

The chef at the local hotel commemorated this with toad-in-the-hole, baking sausages in batter to appear like toads poking their heads out of golf holes.

Today, 24th June, many Christians celebrate as the Feast of St John the Baptist. His arrival was as improbable as the natterjack toad. I love the way St Luke describes it…

The angel arrives and is telling Mary that she is to be the mother of Jesus: ‘Even Elizabeth, your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.’ Elizabeth then becomes the mother of John…

On Monday (21st June) many remembered and celebrated the summer solstice – the longest day of the year. Some friends got up early and went down on the beach to see the sunrise. Apparently some hardy folk went in the sea and swam…

John’s improbable birth leads to an unconventional life living in the desert, wearing camel skin clothes, calling people to repent and be baptised. When he sees Jesus coming he says, ‘He must increase, I must decrease.’

The feast of St John the Baptist is in the middle of summer linking the notion of ‘increase and decrease’ with the seasons – as daylight hours decrease so John’s importance was to decrease as Jesus’ increased…

Musing on the improbable and impossible… miracles… birth, seasons, the spiritual, and natterjack toads.

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