Saturday, October 30, 2010

Big Silence

Our recent visit to the Borders, of Scotland allowed us to do the touristy bit. The ruins of abbeys are treasures waiting to be discovered. The monks of Melrose have left many traces to explore and savour. Here generations of faithful lived out their calling and left their marks. There are traces of a lively community and many little side chapels with their separate piscines - each a place for particular prayer. I was reminded that silence is a treasured part of monastic life.

Perhaps in an effort to seal out the rush and puff of everyday activity a wall was built between the religious enclosure and that of the lay people. I wondered what it would have been like living near the monastry in another age.

In the wall there is a doorway through which you would have had to pass get to the monks 'enclosure' - overhead as you cross the threshold there is this image ofChrist's face - reminding me of St Patrick's Breaastplate.
Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

Recent mini series entitled 'The Big Silence' saw a handful of people, whose very busy lives meant they had little or no time to discover peace and quiet, introduced to silence first of Worth Abbey and then to the Retreat House of St Buenos. Each found refreshment and encounter.

The above average temperature, superb seasonal colours and glorious autumn sun were all combined to refresh and encourage this pilgrim.


Have just deleted accidently the post I was working on!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


On our recent visit across I lost my little wallet! We had stopped off in Knutsford Services for a cuppa, comfort break and a short walk,
around the perimeter for Wizzy to investigate the smells. Juggling paper cups, car keys and dog, I put the wallet on the roof of the car.

Two hours later, in the Cotswolds, I realised what I'd done - phoned the police and services - and then cancelled the cards.

On our return I found a padded envelope which included the wallet and this note:
Found your wallet in the carpark of a service station on the M6 but unfortunately I couldn't find you or an Isle of Man car.
I realise that you have probably cancelled them but here they are and you can at least be sure that they are safe and unused.
Kind regards,
Am so delighted to have it back, and to be on the receiving end of the kindness of 'Paul' - He did not address his note so am unable to contact him. Nevertheless - Thank you Paul.

Worth remembering that there as some truly thoughtful people around.

Friday, October 22, 2010


This years' season of mists and mellow fruitfulness has been delightful. The colours so deep, rich and warm. It has always puzzled me that some don't like this time of year. It can be cold and windy ... but the scenery makes up for so much.

The first verse of Keats poem to Autumn, which my husband loves and often quotes at this time of year:

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.

The tranquility of Dryburgh Abbey managed to reach deeply into my heart - refreshing those neglected corners. It's easy to understand why the monks of old, saints from earlier centuries, chose this place for contemplation and prayer. Though the ravages of the reformation and conflict have left ruins, the timelessness marks of the Creator remain. In our very busy lives - some might say too busy lives it is good to take time aside for restoration. Here is a place to which I will return.

Even Wizzy was delighted with her outing - we were furnished with a special biodegradable doggie poo bag!