On Saturday we went to Ashbourne sheep fair, on the recommendation of a friend. It was brilliant. They had all different breeds of sheep, brief talks about them, loads of wool at all stages of processing and quite a few people there with spinning wheels, spinning the wool. They were so friendly and helpful, I saw one lady had a drop spindle which is what I bought recently and exclaimed “a drop spindle, I’ve just bought one and don’t have a clue what to do with it!”, she then showed me and also showed me how to use her spinning wheel and how to tease the wool out. She also advised on the type of spinning wheel to get if we were going to be serious about spinning our own wool. I’m not kidding, the ladies that were doing it were so good at it and it just looked so relaxing. One of them said she sometimes nearly falls asleep whilst she is doing it. Another spinner also talked to me about the best types of wool to use and what not to use to start with (apparently Merino is a difficult one). I so enjoyed it and meeting them. There were a couple there with their Shetland sheep (they don’t live in Shetland) and we spoke to them. We don’t have to have Shetland sheep because we are going to live on Shetland, but they do look ideal, they’re fairly small, they lamb easily, have plenty of milk for their lambs, seem fairly tough and apparently are easy to handle and are nice natured. They are also not prone to foot problems. Their wool is good to work with and according to the people we spoke to they are self shedding which may mean they don’t need shearing, but we need to look into that a bit more. There was another called a Ryeland, which we also quite fancied (as in to keep on the croft to eat the grass and for wool) it looks a bit like a teddy bear and has good wool for spinning.
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one. (John 10:27-30)
Jesus is talking about us and himself in the above writing, I love this passage, it sums up the gospel really, if we know Jesus and put him in charge of our lives, he knows us intimately and we are safe because we have eternal life with him, he is in charge and we are with him and trust him. Nothing and nobody can change this fact, including ourselves. It also says that Jesus is God, which is confusing sometimes, but he is, he came to earth fully man and fully God, put himself at the mercy of humans as a baby and then lived with his family growing up and experiencing all human life, even though he is God. That is quite remarkable. It’s like a king deciding to become part of a normal family but not telling them who he is, just being there with no pride, no thoughts that he is better than anyone else, just being and growing and learning and then starting his ministry in his thirties where he proclaimed the kingdom of God, saved, delivered and healed all who came to him. Well, it is a king doing that actually, the King of Kings!
Jesus ought to be the ultimate feminist icon really, he hung out with, spoke to, healed and forgave women at a time when they were classed as pretty lowly. I love the story of a woman caught in adultery, I’ve always identified quite strongly with this particular story. The Jewish religious people brought a woman to Jesus who they said had been caught in the act of adultery. According to the law, they could stone her, Jesus just seemed to keep really calm and said: let him who is without sin cast the first stone. He was the only one without sin and could have condemned her, stoned her, given them permission to stone her, but he did not – He said:
Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”
“No, Lord,” she said.
And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”