Nature and Faith in Images and Words

Rod's Blog

Rod's Recent Ramblings

A collection of thoughts, musings, photo's and poems, as and when inspiration strikes.

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Posted by Rod Ferbrache on September 6, 2016 at 4:10 AM Comments comments ()

Having just watched the film “From Rags to Riches” it has challenged my gratitude.

All too often I take what I have for granted, and for this I am sorry. It has caused me to reflect on my life to date and to count my blessings.


1. I am grateful that I had parents who loved me, and brought me up to love the Lord Jesus Christ.

2. I am grateful to have met my wife so early in life she was still at school. That I have been her only love, and that when she married me for better or worse she meant it. The blessing of praying together everyday, reading God’s word everyday, and to share all our heartaches and joys. To spend what is truly our happiest days together in retirement.

3. I am grateful that I have been allowed to be a father. To see both my girls find partners that mean so much to them, and to see the happiness that they have found in each other, when so many couples struggle in their relationships.

4. I am grateful that I have been allowed to live long enough to see my four grandchildren enter this world, and to be such a wonderful intrinsic part of our lives.

5. I am grateful for having so many wonderful friends. People who were there for me in the dark times, who have laughed with me in the good times. Friends who delight in my passions, pray for my needs, and who I know will be there for me when the sun refuses to shine.

6. I am grateful that I have a hope that one day at the Lord’s appointed time I shall leave this world with the knowledge that one day there is going to be one almighty reunion that will go on forever.


Yes I am grateful, never grateful enough, but endeavouring in future to be so much more grateful.


Garden Bird Photography - Tips and Hints

Posted by Rod Ferbrache on September 12, 2014 at 7:50 AM Comments comments ()

I have been bird watching for 19 years now, and one aspect that still brings me most pleasure is my garden, and the birds it attracts. Over the years I have seen over 60 species touchdown into the Christa-Galli "nature reserve". This includes rarities such as Hawfinch (twice), Wryneck, as an unprecedented January bird, Black-throated Bulbul from who knows where, as well as Kingfisher, Lesser Whitethroat, Great Spotted Woodpecker, and many other commoner species.

However it has only been in the last couple of years that I have been seriously photographing garden birds. This has been made easier by constructing my own theatre stage to ensure getting closer to the birds than would be naturally possible. I thought it might be interesting for folks to see my set up, and it may even inspire some to try something in their own garden. Obviously there are two ways of getting close up pictures of birds. One as I have already mentioned is to get as close as possible to your subject, or more expensively, to buy the big lens that will bring them closer to you.I must say at the outset, that I am blessed by having the size garden that I do, yet what I am about to demonstrate could be achieved with a much smaller garden.

The first thing is to provide somewhere to hide from the birds, and below is how I do it. This small tent was purchased for only £24 from Aladdin’s Cave. Once it was erected I put inside a quite comfy small fold up chair that is about a foot high. Then having mounted my camera on a tripod, and put it inside, I marked out where the lens would need to poke through. I then cut out a “window out of the side of the tent, the dimensions as shown. I purchased a piece of green garden mesh for Camp du Roi stores for 50p, and secured it outside the window with string and pegs. Having cut a cross through the mesh for my lens I was ready to go. I left the tent in place for a few days, and in no time the birds got used to it being there, and totally happy with me being inside provided movement and noise were kept to a minimum.

I have recently upgraded to the click up hide from Outdoor Photography.

Here is my new hide in situ.

The next thing was to make sure the birds would land where I wanted them. First I moved my feeders from where they were, to where I wanted the birds to come. It only took a few days before the birds found them, and started to use them. However nobody likes photo's of birds on feeders, so a bit of scenery was needed. I always have a wood pile in the garden, but if you haven't you can always find bits that are left out in the countryside or in fields that will do the job.

I positioned my "Props" so that they all faced towards the window I had made in my tent. I also ensured that they would be in just the right place for the early morning sunlight to light them up. Also the morning is when the birds would be most active when it came to feeding. All the tree trunks that you see, I'm sure you will agree, have quite a natural look about them. How could I ensure though that the birds would land where I wanted them? Well I simply made some holes out of sight that I could fill with bird food, and left the rest to nature!

Add water either as a birdbath, or small pond and this will be an addittional bird magnet.

Ensure your props are as far away from the background as possible. this way it will keep your backgrounds clean.

There will always be a limit to the number of species you can attract, but as with feeding, the greater the variety the more species will visit. Next year I am going to make a mud puddle in the hope that I can entice some swallows and House Martins to use for their nest building. By my tent being mobile I could position it by the pond to photograph washing and drinking. Move it under the apple trees and get Redwings and Fieldfare feeding on the fallers. In fact really the sky literally is the limit!

Below are just a few photo's to illustrate just how natural you can get photo's to be. Plus if you get bored by the same props, just swap them for some different ones, they are free after all. I hope this may just give you a few ideas that you could try.


Evie's Dedication

Posted by Rod Ferbrache on September 12, 2014 at 5:20 AM Comments comments ()

Today has been another milestone in our family. Evie our little grand daughter was dedicated at church this morning. In the Baptist church the Dedication Service replaces the Christening Service. It is a time when we give thanks to God for another precious life, and dedicate her to the Lord. It is also a time when we as a family and church promise to be there for her throughout her life. To care for her, pray for her.

As a proud grandfather it was a privilege to be asked to write a poem for the occasion, as it was for Zach's dedication. Below is the poem which I read today, and is written from the heart about a little girl who has a very big place in our hearts.

It is now over three years when I put pen to paper

And wrote of my love for Zach

We are here once again all gathered together

And so I thought we’d just look back,

To the time when I told you of the concern on my mind,

When I shared of my much guilt and shame.

That I didn’t do babies, not one tiny bit,

They really were not my game.

It’s surprising what happens over just a few years

How babies get under your skin.

I am finding so much of the time spent with them,

Make you giggle, laugh, and grin.

I wondered about things, and how would I feel

When grandchild number two came along

Would I love them as much as I had loved Zach?

Would the bond I have be as strong?

Then Evie was born, a little girl – O Blow!

I was used to having a boy,

She was so different, in so many ways,

Yet an undeniable joy.

She was quiet, and placid, always content

No trouble to look after at all,

And yet in a very special way,

I did in love with her fall.

All children are different; they are their own little selves.

With personality traits.

Are they like their mum, do they look like their dad?

Will they share the same pet hates?

There’s a lot about Evie yet to be revealed,

How will she grow up – we just don’t know.

But our prayer today is that from this young age

Into Jesus she’ll learn to grow.

The bond that she has with Zach is so strong,

You see it in the way that they play.

He is her big brother, her protector and friend,

I just know that so close they will stay.

We have evidence here before us in church,

What happens when God is involved.

A husband, a wife, with two children sweet,

The mystery of true love is solved.

God bless this dear family, as they grow as one.

May His presence be in all that they do?

Lord give them the grace to be there for each other,

May their love for you ever be true?

I have found these three years the most fulfilling yet,

And one thing I must admit – I didn’t do babies,

I was right about that. But I do now ….. Just a bit!

Evie...God Bless you on your special day!

Lauren's Dedication Service

Posted by Rod Ferbrache on October 7, 2009 at 2:42 PM Comments comments ()

Thank you for coming to my special day

I'd love to be able to talk

There's so much on my heart I want to make known

But as yet I can't even walk

So I hope that these words you're about to hear

Will in some way make up for all this

And when I have finished and Uncle Rod has sat down

You can come and give me a kiss


To my mummy and daddy, I love you so much

I depend on you all day long

For the worries you had when you knew I was due

You both were so very strong

And I know that my life will have up's and downs

There will be times of concern and fear

But to have your strong arms to cuddle me tight

Will be enough, and to have you so near.


To all of my family, Michael, Emma and Luke

You look after me oh so well

When I grow up I'll say "You can play with MY toys",

And it will be my turn a story to tell

I know at the moment I can't do very much

I'm no good at playing a game

But the time will soon come when I'm running around

And we can all be playing the same


To the folks who are here, please pray for me

I've been dedicated today

So that when I grow up I'll love Jesus as well

And I'll learn how to worship and pray.

I'll need you to show me the way I should live

How to use my hands and feet

To learn how to speak, where I should go

If my Saviour I'm going to meet


So thank you again for my special day

When we says thanks to God just for me

And when people ask who does she look like

When they look, may they see only Thee

I want to be a child of the Lord,

To walk in the way that He leads

So today is the first step that I have made

You have helped to sow the first seed -

That one day will grow for all to see -

 An example of God's love and grace

Oh, may they see Jesus in all that I do

Until I shall see His blessed face.



Father of the Bride Two

Posted by Rod Ferbrache on October 4, 2009 at 12:00 AM Comments comments ()




When I think of the years that I’ve been a dad, I’ve had reasons to be very proud,

As my two girls have grown into what they are now, I want to shout it out loud,

You wonder as you gaze on a newly born babe, “What kind of girl will you be”?

Is that your mum’s nose, are your eyes just like hers, do you have just a little of me?



When you went off to school on that very first day you looked and indeed were so young,

How will you cope, will the teacher be nice, will the day for you be far too long?

Are there going to be friends you can count on for sure, when the world deals one of its blows?

Have I given you wisdom, instilled in you love, that’s something that God only knows?



How my heart ached for you, how I felt for your pain, I would gladly have taken your place,

During all those long years of suffering you had when you were enduring that brace,

When you told us that day to Japan you would go, we wondered how you would cope –

To learn Japanese, to fend for yourself, it’s certainly taught us to hope –

That those long months away at only nineteen would serve as a lesson for life,

But you left one behind who meant so much, for today you’ve become his wife.



When you returned we wondered, what will she do? We couldn’t see you in an office or shop

You had so much care to give away we felt it just couldn’t stop

It thrilled us so much when you started to train as a nurse to look after the ill

When you went on the ward the patients received so much more than simply a pill.

You brighten each room that you enter; there is always a smile on your face

Wherever you go, whatever you do, you will make it a better place.



Today I am proud to be standing here as your father on your special day,

Please bear with your dad a few moments more as there’s something I just want to say,

Wynter and Kate you are special to us, we hold you right here in our heart,

As you step out again on a venture that’s new, we pray that right from the start,

You will know just as we have, in all of your life, God leading each step of the way,

That your marriage may be the kind that we have, when you fall in love every day.

I know that ahead the path is not clear; the future is not ours to see,

But God bless you both, we love you to bits, and this comes from your mum and me.





The Clematis and The Oak

Posted by Rod Ferbrache on October 3, 2009 at 2:27 PM Comments comments ()


It was such a joy to be able to write this poem for my youngest daughters wedding. The day was so perfect in every way, and these words brought a tear to many an eye.

The Gardener stood with his hand outstretched, and in it held a seed

A closer look revealed to me it wasn’t any weed

For in his grasp I clearly saw an acorn small and round

I wondered for a moment the reason why he found -

The need to have this item so common, so well known

But he said to me, you wait and see, until it’s fully grown


Into the ground the acorn went, t’was tended with such care

Yet what seemed to me like endless months the soil remained so bare

But then one day I saw a shoot emerge above the soil

The Gardner too had noticed it, but never ceased to toil

He weeded, feeded, kept an eye on what was now an oak

The ground around was kept so clean, this seedling mustn’t choke


And then he stretched his hand again; I leant forward so I could see

The tiny seed inside his grasp was as small as small could be

He told me this was a special seed that needed extra care

It couldn’t go in open ground that now was cold and bare

It went inside the glasshouse where conditions were just right

The Gardner gave it water, and gave it heat and light


It too began to germinate into a plant so fair

Eventually it too was placed outside in the fresh air

The years went by unnoticed, the oak and plant did well

The tree grew tall and handsome, the clematis, a beautiful smell

But something happened gradually, that no one seemed to see

The plant and tree grew bit by bit until it came to be

The plant reached out and grasped the oak and both grew up together

They soon became inseparable, that no matter what the weather –

The oak gave to the plant support and strength and protective cover

The plant brought scent and beauty as they entwined each other


I met the Gardner recently; we spoke of this and that

It didn’t take so very long before we began to chat –

About the tree before us, and the beauty of the shrub

I pointed out those two were one, and what an awful job –

That we would have to separate the two now joined together

He said that wasn’t in the plan, and had I thought that whether –

When he had planted both those seeds he had upon his mind

That if he grew them close enough together they would bind


You see we meet today together not because of chance

It’s not a coincidence that tonight Kate and Wynter will dance -

Together as husband and wife, that two become as one

The Gardner planned it years ago, today it has been done

God brought you both together, a woman and a man

We are not here by accident; it’s all part of His plan

Wynter be a strong oak tree, a support for our dear Kate

And Kate be beautiful and cling to him, you are his one soul mate


Marriage brings so many strengths; there are challenges with it too

But as you start this step together there’s one thing you must do

And that is like our story of the oak tree and the flower

If you hold each other tightly you will have such power

Let God who brought you both together, who tended plants and earth –

Give you both a marriage that you agree is worth –

More than any money, than any life apart

I urge you both that every day you give your life, your heart –

To one another, may you be ever true

Start and end each day together, with the words “I love you”.



Two Streams One River

Posted by Rod Ferbrache on October 3, 2009 at 2:25 PM Comments comments ()


I was asked by my niece if I could write a piece for hers and Matt's wedding, I was of course honoured to do so.


Two streams began, they were both miles apart

Each not knowing the other was there,

So consumed by the journey they were travelling on

Life was fun, and without any care.

Though as time went by there were barriers to cross,

No brook is obstacle free

There were rocks and bends, waterfalls too,

Yet on the whole was plain to see 

Their way had direction as onward they flowed,

The water became deep and wide,

Twas only when looked from above you could see

They had gradually flowed side by side.


Then after a period of time had elapsed

A date in heaven was set.

Destined by God, no, not by man,

These two streams eventually met.

We see here today two streams have become

A river that flows into one,

The reason you see, is God had a plan,

T'would be easy to say Job Done.

Yet this is the start, not the end of the road

For Nikki and Matt have set out

On a journey together with God as their guide,

And His blessing there is no doubt.


Once water meets up you can't tear it apart,

You can't tell which drop came from where.

So too with a couple who God has made one,

It's not a haphazard affair.

He's committed to them; they're committed to Him

There are three in the marriage, not two.

Not a thing to take lightly, this is for life

When they say to each other I do.

I'm sure you like me would wish them both well,

Asking Him that their marriage be blest.

And forty years on still be able to say 

I think we have passed the test!



Father of the Bride

Posted by Rod Ferbrache on October 3, 2009 at 1:37 PM Comments comments ()


I can honestly say that this day was one of the happiest in my life. Everything was just perfect.
Due to my poets bent it was expected for me to write my speech in rhyme.
It was such a pleasure to speak the words below over my daughter and her husband on that day.
Yes parenthood can be an awesome responsibility, but that is matched by the tremendous pride and pleasure that it brings too.

I woke up this morning and got out of bed
I opened the curtains quite wide
Then looked out the window, the sun was high up
Out came an involuntary sigh.
I gazed at my bathers still wrapped in their towel
They won’t travel far today.
My binoculars too seemed to beckon to me
I apologised and said you must stay.
“You see, just today I’ve been told what to do
And swimming and birding are banned”.
I must dress in a suit and yes even a tie
A wedding’s apparently planned.

It’s been busy at home these last few weeks,
I’ve seen dresses come in and go out.
“Do I look OK in this?” I am asked
The answer I gave brought a clout!!
And then there’s the guest list, yes all of you here
Have been carefully chosen, each one.
If we invite Mary and Peter I’m told
Then we’ve just got to have Uncle John.
If you look under “L” in the phone book you’ll find
That the Langlois go on quite a bit
But if under “F” the Ferb’s are found
They too on one page wouldn’t fit!

So no wonder we’re here at the OGH
If you all wanted to have seat.
The down side as far as for me is concerned
I’ve been told that this is my treat!
Since most of you people are familiar with church
And we’ve not had an offering yet
A retiring collection in lieu of a gift
Is something I thought I might get?
But since I am here and I’m up on my feet
I suppose you expect me to say
“As the dad of the bride I’m swelling with pride
To be giving my daughter away

One begins to think of the things I will miss
Now my girl has left our nest.
It won’t be the rush to bathroom each day
To be there ahead of the rest.
I’ll also be sure that the razors I use
Will be mine or even brand new
When the phone rings at tea time
And I jump from my chair
I won’t have to say “it’s for you!”
In fact if it rings I really expect
It will be a wrong number – or worse
It’s usually for Martels whose numbers like ours
When someone requires a hearse!!
Some people say your are losing your girl
I suppose in a way it is true
But on the plus side I’ll be gaining two rooms
And one girl less using the loo.

I must say I’m worried by the marriage she’ll have
Not knowing whom her husband will be.
We’ve seen Tim as so many characters now
I wonder when he comes home for tea
Will it be Rafiki that comes through the door?
Or will it be slick Mr Finch.
It could even be Pumbaa who shouts “I’m home luv”
Or if he’s really mixed up - Bet Lynch!!
There’s been West Side Story, and a part in Fame
Jesus Christ in Super Star.
With so much talent, and the gift of the gab
There's a good chance he could go far

When you start a young family you have goals and dreams
Of what you would like them to be
But there’s no guarantee of how they’ll turn out
Only time allows you to see –
If pleasure or pain is the fruit you must bear
You can only give them your best
There’s only so much that you can impart
You must leave them to do the rest.
Time has passed so quickly; it seems no time at all
Since with Cindy’s and Lego they played
But now they’ve grown up and with pride I can say
From our values they have not strayed

I’m proud to be here, to be called Sarah’s dad
To be part of her special day
There may be a tear, a lump in the throat
But Judy and I want to say
If Tim and Sarah have half of our joy
If they have just a part of our life
Then she’ll have the best husband the Lord could provide
And Tim will have the best wife.

We know that the Lord has played the main part
In bringing these two side by side
They have sacrificed much in the last three years
As their paths had to often divide.
But that time has flown past, the future stretches ahead
We know not what it may hold
But this I can say with all of my heart
We all wish you a life of pure gold.
Just cherish each moment - they only pass once
Savour each of the days that you share
Don’t be the last one to say sorry, I was wrong
Be quick to show that you care

The secret of marriage is not give and take
It’s not always the things that you do.
No, be quick to forgive, do not harbour a grudge
And continually say, “I love you.”
I’m sure all of you here would like to join me
In wishing this couple God’s best
Then I’ll pass my cap round, give as much as you can
As I'm down to my very last vest



Eighty Today (2003)

Posted by Rod Ferbrache on October 3, 2009 at 1:33 PM Comments comments ()


How the years have quickly gone
And yet she remains the same
Our mum has reached her eighties
But still completely sane
The words like energetic, sprightly, fit and lean
Are often used to describe a girl
Whose only in her teens.
But when it comes to mother
Each of these words are true
She isn’t really all that old
She’s practically brand new!

She hasn’t any wrinkles
They are only laughter lines
She wears no Nora Batty clothes
But keeps up with the times,
The bike has frequent outings
Though when it rains – no fuss
She grabs her O A pension card
And jumps up on the bus!

Her days are really hectic
She’s never in for long,
Off in the car with Enid
Or with the Shiloh throng.
There’s lunch up at the Forest,
House group or Bright Hour,
Often working in the garden
Just tending every flower

There’s always time for others
Especially older folk,
When telling her she’s one too
She thinks it’s just a joke.
But recently I’ve noticed
She’s hooking out some snaps,
Of things that happened years ago
When we were quite young chaps.

And so we’re celebrating,
That’s the reason why we’re here.
To each and every one of us
She’s someone kind and dear.
Although today she’s eighty
We look ahead and then –
Before we even know it
We’ll see another ten!

We thank you mum for being you
There’s so much we could say.
Yet what we’re really saying
Is have a lovely day!
You’ve helped us all in many ways
To make us what we are,
And just as Mr Falla said –
Well done! OK, Ta!


I said I don't do babies but.......

Posted by Rod Ferbrache on October 1, 2009 at 3:25 PM Comments comments ()

 This was a poem I wrote for our Grandson's dedication service, as my wife will tell you I am a changed man!


When the news broke that a baby was due,

So many were filled with such glee,

They said "Oh how wonderful, super, what joy,

How excited and thrilled you must be?".

I shrugged my shoulders and cracked a weak smile,

Endeavoured to share their delight,

But deep down inside I felt nothing stir,

Though I strived with all of my might.


 I've never gone "coo  oh don't you look sweet"

When looking at proud mother's tots,

All I could think of was the smell of sour milk

Dirty nappies when the kids got the trots.

You might have guessed by what I've just said,

I don't do babies, they're just not my scene,

They sleep so much, need a regular feed

And other than that, just scream.


 So the news of a grandchild although good in itself,

Didn't exactly make my day,

Thrilled for our daughter and son-in-law too,

But hoped it wouldn't get in the way,

Of days on Fermain and bird watching trips,

Of doing the things that I do,

I don't do babies you see; they're not much fun,

I much prefer when they're two.


Then you can chat and chase them about,

Play hide and seek in the park,

Make sandcastles, mud pies, catch tadpoles and fish,

Scary stories when it gets dark,

But a baby,  what can you do with them,  not very much,

They just lie there, they're, no pleasure at all,

You've got such a long wait for them to grow up,

And it's months before they can crawl.


Oh no, I don't do babies, not one little bit,

At least that's what I used to say,

But all of that changed when Zach turned up,

It happened all in one day!

I still don't do "coo" and go, "goo goo, wow,

Doesn't your baby look sweet",

But I tell you what, when it comes to our Zach,

Each moment with him is a treat.

He's transformed my life; he is so much fun,

There are lots and lots we can do,

There's bath-time, there's feeding, playing on the floor,

And walks with the buggy too.

He giggles and laughs, makes faces and noise,

Each one a delight to behold,

I live for each moment I spend with him,

The joy he gives can't be told.


I'm thrilled and proud to be standing here,

Sharing this service with you,

We entrust him to Jesus to grow into a man,

Who follows the path that is true,

I know as I stand here, there is a risk,

You look upon me as a nut,

For all I have said, and it is quite true,

I said - I don't do babies ........... but.?