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

Home About SCH  Essays Gallery of Greeting Cards

Easter 2017

Dear Friends and Family.

Happy Easter!  And a special welcome to anyone who is receiving this newsletter for the first time as a result of the media flurry at the end of 2016.  (links at the bottom of the page).  “Discombobulating” probably best describes the experience of being woken on Christmas Eve with the news that SCH was trending on the BBC homepage.  We all appreciated the positive response, but I think Mr B. especially enjoyed the love sent in his direction!

It has been a quiet, but busy, start to the year, launched with a bit more writing for the Redemptorist Sunday Bulletin, this time exploring the experiences of faith in the context of a serious illness.  http://schdn.co.uk/onbeingpoorly1.html  From the reader-response it would seem that my ponderings resonated strongly with very many folk who had also “been there, bought the t-shirt”.  Thank you for all your supportive comments and prayers and best wishes.  Very much appreciated!  

I had a lot of fun, early spring, providing a luncheon service to a quad of orphaned lambs housed with some village friends.  They are voracious feeders!  It took longer waiting for the kettle to boil (they like their feed ewe-udder-warm) than for the four of them to guzzle through their bottles.  My duties finished in early April when the youngsters outgrew their pen and were considered of sufficient heft to cope with the great-Lincolnshire-outdoors in a neighbouring village.  I was delighted when rambling in the area recently, to be surprised by some very familiar bleatings – Jack, Dougal, Crilly and Mrs Doyle all looked very happy and at home in their field of Wolds-green.  

One of the big house projects planned for the start of this year was The-Definitive-Removal-Of-The-Ivy-From-The-Garage.  I had hoped, a couple of years back, to take advantage of a professional gardening service I hired when I was poorly, and had asked them to “trim back the ivy” as part of their work.    I was informed, after a brief inspection, that this was a “property maintenance” task, and nothing to do with the gardeners!  A year later, as I succeeded in at least severing the roots at ground level  I began to appreciate their judgement: despite the severing, the ivy continued to flourish the whole year through!   This year I decided to take it seriously.  

With the aid of my whole (substantial) paraphernalia of gardening and DIY kit, I soon discovered that the fibrous aerial roots all along the ivy branches and tendrils had embedded themselves into the wooden door and external coving surrounding the building, and this was how they were thriving, in their parasitic-best-way,  at the expense of their hosting structures.  Removing the ivy necessarily involved removing the coving as well, leaving me with the unhappy problem of a foot gap twixt roof and wall – more carport than garage!  The laws of physics: centres-of-gravity, rotating-forces and moments became the most welcome of the godsends of science, as I devised means of manipulating a number of five-metre long timber coving constructions 3 metres up onto the roof!  The marvel, as each one finally swung into place with the touch of a little finger, almost brought tears to the eyes of this emeritus physics schoolteacher.  Now held securely by a potent combination of friction and gravity I expect to derive great pleasure, all summer long, from just sitting on my terrace and admiring the finished job.

If I can bear to tear myself away from roof-gazing, then I will be hitting the trail again with another summer of walking.  After last year’s epic (the Viking Way), the long-distance-footpath bug appears to have bitten hard.  My driving capacity is still limited (East Midlands, South Yorkshire and the Humber), so I unearthed the local OS maps and spent a happy afternoon poring over them for likely candidates.  The Cuckoo Way is a 76km footpath which follows the two-century-old Chesterfield canal east-north-eastwards from Chesterfield in Derbyshire, to East Stockwith near Gainsborough.  My Ancient-Visiting-Privileges have recently been transferred from West Sussex (where my Aunt was a Poor Clare nun) to closer-to-home Worksop (where my parents currently enjoy the relinquishing feebleness of advanced years).  The Cuckoo Way fits in perfectly with my more-regular visits, the driving route from Owersby to Worksop weaving all around the line of the canal.  Anticipated highlights include the Staveley Puddle, the Norwood Tunnel, and Gringley-on-the-Hill (highest point in Nottinghamshire).  Mr B. is looking forward to sampling the facilities at Dog-Kennel-bridge, and I am happy to report a healthy scattering of hostelries all along the route for my own refreshment.  If anyone would like to join me for a section (no more than 5 watery miles) over the summertime, please get in touch.  No sponsorship this time – just for the pleasure. https://www.ldwa.org.uk/ldp/members/show_path.php?path_name=Cuckoo+Way

Whichever way your own path leads you during this fine weather season, I wish you all the enduring peace and hope of Eastertide as companion in your travels.

God bless you.

Rachel HDN.  

Ps.  As ever, please let me know if you would like to be removed from this mailing list.

Pps.  Media links as promised:  

Surprise!  I’m sure I planted broccoli

Spring sunshine in the garden

Dougal, Crilly, Jack, Mrs Doyle

The garage!