November 2017

The grass is freckled with fallen leaves.

A crow  attacked a magpie on the lawn

but by banging on a window

I became the herald of peace ...!




known for its waxy white flowers.

 It is a gift from friends who first met us at Talacre Abbey,

and now come to Chester in the autumn.


6th November

It is strange how inspiration comes and goes

while the distant cars on busy roads

still sound like the surf on the sea-shore ...

The leaves continue to fall,

patterning both paths and flower-beds and grass

with the warmth of autumnal colours.

Yet all inspiration has vanished

and I sit at the keyboard not knowing what to write.


We celebrated a Memorial Office today

for all our deceased relatives and benefactors.

This was a day late as the 5th fell on a Sunday.

 Guy Fawkes was being remembered

on several previous evenings

with fireworks and loud explosions

in which we, as Catholics, do not participate,

although we enjoy the fireworks !

At least one Sister saw the display

of lights coming from the Roodee.

I wonder how many people now know

that Guy Fawkes  was a Catholic

in a century when Catholics were being persecuted?

But then he and his associates wanted to

destroy the Houses of Parliament and the Protestants in it.

They were executed at the stake, hence the

subsequent ‘Guys’ on  bonfires....


A later depiction of Guy Fawkes


10th November

The wind is howling and the trees sway,

 shaking off their leaves.

The Welsh hills in the west are invisible

but our tall trees shine in the sunshine,

with every single branch dancing to a

different rhythm ....

I think we human beings are like that:

we have the same roots and trunk

but retain our own identity.

Life in a religious community echoes this -

we are clothed in similar garments

but our movements and our thoughts

remain our own.


11th November

Our garden is full of different plants and shrubs.

A few days ago our gardener Dave

showed me a plant he had never seen before.

A Sister researched it and found  out its name:

it is called a  “thorn apple”.

(It’s name in Latin is Datura stramonium.)

Changes in our climate have altered many aspects

of nature and in our  area

 autumn itself has not yet fully begun.


 This plant is classified as a weed ......


 15th November

Leaves from trees have been falling steadily

and Dave has been gathering them up.

He spent yesterday morning

conveying them to a local tipping-site.

Some bushes have been gently flowering

even though their leaves had been cast off.....

It was too wet for the cats to go out,

although Brunie came out in the afternoon

when the rain had ceased,

and Cornflake had been out before it began !



November 2017

 It is the season of gulls again.

They perch on our guest-house roof waiting for food

to be scattered on the grass within our monastic enclosure.

They wait patiently and quietly for a long time.

When I emerge from the door to scatter bread,

return  indoors, their raucous chatter

proclaims the time to descend.

While still in flight, skimming over the grass

 they snatch some food -

only to be briefly replaced by some companions

who are equally hungry.

It takes about five minutes before peace returns.

This is not quite the same as the poor

“feeding from the remains left under the rich man’s table”

but the need of gulls for food seems to be as great ......



When the trees their summer splendour

Change to raiment red and gold,

When the summer moon turns mellow,

And the nights are getting cold;

When squirrels hide their acorns,

When the woodchucks disappear;

Then we know that it is autumn,

Loveliest season of the year.

 Carol L. Riser


21st November

Periodically, when we are at prayer together

in our lovely Chapel, certain words suddenly enlighten me -

but then they slip away like running water.

Why is it that our minds cannot always

retain the loveliness and profundity of thought ?

Perhaps it is better that we only have fleeting glimpses

before the clouds gather once more.

In childhood I loved seeing the sun’s rays

appearing from behind the clouds.....

Today the weather is dull but golden leaves

still enlighten my mind

as fallen leaves shine on the grass and flower-beds....



Mandala Autumn Glory


It was another of those bright, rather wistful days when,

what with the wind and the rain

and the piercing November sunshine,

every tree and bush and sapling  in the woods

 seemed thinner and lonelier;

 leafy branches no longer touching warmly,

 but only the tips of twigs,

 almost unleafed, touching with a little restrained gesture

of farewell, until the spring sap should rise

and leaf-buds spread out,

 bringing them all together again.

Cecily Hallack


Advent will begin again quite soon

making the circle of the year into a veritable round.

When I was young an artist told me that all Nature

is a circle ..... the branches of trees

and natural growth - even our own bodies.

It is a strange wonder  - but when we look

at our hands and fingers, our legs and  our arms,

we can glimpse something of that truth .....

A circle is a symbol of wholeness,

and we are part of it.