S T   C U T H B E R T ’ S  H O U S E Hermitage of the Diocese of Nottingham               

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Easter 2010

I am torn as I write this between my secretarial duty, and the spring-sun drenched garden which is calling to me like so many siren voices. The Easter sunshine has been a real blessing this year.   

The first hint of this beautiful Resurrection season arrived  as I responded to a call-to-arms from friends who continue to participate in the Student Cross Pilgrimage which I used to frequent.  They were a little short of walkers this year, so I unearthed a knapsack, aired an old sleeping bag & set off to join the one day leg which joins the pilgrimage on Good Friday for the walk into Walsingham.  Despite forecasts, the weather was warm & dry, & I was delighted to discover that cross carrying is a bit like riding a bike – you can never forget how.  The liturgy was, as ever, a real refreshment, and it was a great joy to meet up and relax with so many old friends.  I am still glowing from the experience, and so it is with a great lightness of spirit that I can wish you all a VERY HAPPY EASTER!

The last 6 months have, to my mind at least, been dominated by a dodgy left leg.  Having self-diagnosed via the web that my femoral nerve was not working, I have since been informed by no less than three consultants that … my femoral nerve is indeed, not working. Not at all.  Null.  De Nada.  Kaput.  No explanation has been offered, though I have been tested for every conceivable, nameable syndrome in the book.  I do at least have the reassurance of knowing that every other part of my mortal coil (which has been prodded, scanned & x-rayed from every conceivable angle, inside & out) is amongst the healthiest this side of the Resurrection.  The closest I am likely to get to a diagnosis is that I have an “idiopathic femoral neuropathy” – which caused a psychiatrist friend of mine to break out in a broad grin when I told him.  I leave you to draw your own conclusions.

The fallout from my medical adventures is that I have had to relinquish my work with Rebecca – a profound young woman with multiple disabilities who lives locally.  Once this became inevitable, a few scary weeks living off not very much at all persuaded me to explore the possibilities of returning to teaching, stick ‘n all, on a supply basis.  A local school invited me in for a try-out &, although I anticipated the day with some anxiety, I am delighted to report another “bike-riding” experience.  There is new technology to be grappled with of course (one lad, when I commented on the provision of laptops in the biology lab, glanced at my stick & then earnestly began to explain what they were & how they could be used!) but the rules of engagement still seem to be more or less the same:  there is nothing quite so welcoming to a returning teacher as being addressed “Miss” by a spotty, broken-voiced adolescent.

The menagerie at SCH was supplemented in the early springtime by a pathetically thin black & white stray who was only just surviving by snatching at the chicken meal whenever she could dodge the sharp beaks.  To cut a long story, she is now part of the household, fit, and feisty.  She is still tiny & looks to be a little poppett – but has a Mike Loach pedigree & a Hitchcockian gleam to her eye: she plays with her claws extended, and she likes to play.  Suffice, and sadly to say, Ecfrid, my massive dollop of a ginger tom and erstwhile cushion and companion, threw himself under a lorry when he was left alone with her for the Easter weekend.  He is buried now in the garden along with the previous three.  Five cats in three years seems just a tad profligate; but I sense, as I am eyeballed furiously in a pause from her frustrated attempts to catch the cursor as I type, that this one is here to stay.

My adventures in calligraphy have continued apace (ref attached) & I have been delighted to be invited to exhibit locally on a number of occasions.  Most exciting is involvement in the European House of Arts festival in Lincoln 18/19 June, and I have a couple of open weekends here through  the Lincolnshire  Art on the Map scheme - 8/9, 15/16 May and then later in the summer, 24/25 July and 31 July/1 August.  You are all very welcome!

With every joyful blessing.    

Rachel HDN