February 2017

During the last week we have had readings

from the Letter to the Romans.

Some days ago the words from Chapter 6:2

were a revelation to me:

"You have been taught that when we were baptised

in Christ Jesus we were baptised in his death;

in other words, when we were baptised

we went into the tomb with him

and joined him in death,

so that when Christ was raised from the dead

by the Father’s glory,

we too might live a new life."

The Jerusalem Bible.


Sometimes the readings simply

flow over my head - but not like baptismal water !

I mentioned this at one of our pre-Vespers

meetings, and was delighted to learn that other

Sisters, too, had had similar experiences

at different times.

The Word of God is never static -

it really is ‘alive and active’.

Even after many years of monastic life

God remains ‘ the God of Surprises ‘.


Primula now in bloom


2nd February

The weather is very unsettled.

The gulls seem to have gone out to sea,

as they do in stormy weather.

This means that the garden birds are better fed.

The sun shines occasionally, the wind blows,

and the harlequins and ladybirds

are leaving their winter quarters indoors.

I have just taken a harlequin outside.

It ran to the tip of my middle finger

when I opened my hand

and, like a miniature aeroplane,

launched itself into the air.

It was marvellous to see this

most unexpected take-off.

Perhaps this is something from which

the makers of aeroplanes learned aerodynamics?

Another skein of geese is now flying overhead

in their V formation.

Where are they going ?


Ladybirds and harlequins

Photographed by C.C. some years ago


5th February

During Morning Office these lines from Psalm 103

drew my attention:

I will sing to the Lord all my life,

make music to my God while I live.

May my thoughts be pleasing to him.

I find my joy in the Lord.

Unfortunately my thoughts are not always good

and so the joyousness fades away....


It is now Saturday 11th February

and my week in the kitchen is almost over.

The day is overcast and for a short while

snow fell before turning into rain.

The gulls are still around, and cat Murphy

came somewhat late for food.

He has now consumed a fresh packet of Felix

under his bench on the recently cleaned path.

He is still squatting there, hoping for some more food.

Does he not get fed elsewhere ?


When I was still quite young I asked

one of my teachers how it felt to get older.

She told me that she felt just the same as always.

I am now at the age when I can confirm this for myself.

The only difference is that I get tired more easily...


The daffodils have pierced through the earth

with their green spear - buds.

Snowdrops are out everywhere and hyacinths

are forming above ground from hidden bulbs.

My brother and I, being born in February,

often had hyacinths for our birthday,

specially grown for us by our mother.

It was difficult to find suitable presents for children

during the Second World War.


Sunday 12th February

We are now in the third week before Lent...

The Morning Office reading from Genesis 1,

‘ The creation of the world’

was complemented by the ‘Hymn to God’s omnipotence’

from Job 36: 25-30

"... the greatness of God exceeds our knowledge,

the number of his years is past counting.

It is he who makes the raindrops small

and pulverises the rain into mist.

And the clouds then pour this out,

sending it streaming down on the human race.

By these means, he sustains the people,

giving them plenty to eat.

And who can fathom how he spreads the clouds,

or why such crashes thunder from his tent?

He spreads the mist before him

and covers the tops of mountains.

He gathers up the lightning in his hands,

assigning it the mark where to strike ...."


New Creation

Friday 17th February

The japonica in our garden is now in flower,

and the first primroses are in bloom.

The hyacinths, which were planted out many years ago,

are emerging opposite the garden crucifix.

White hellebore is now visible, and rhubarb

is emerging from the soil - amid many weeds -

more kindly and truly called ‘wild flowers.’

Human beings are strange - what we don’t want

to grow in the garden amid cultivated plants,

although they are more truly part of it,

we term ‘weeds’ and try to do away with them.


This has made me think of indigenous people

who have been treated so brutally by invaders

throughout the centuries who seized their land.

Now other people are fleeing for their lives

and we, the former invaders, give them scant welcome.



Wednesday 22nd February

During the night the wind blew and rain fell.

It continues to rain, reminding me of a story by Giovanni Guareschi.

His son was asked by a teacher to describe a certain day.

It happened to be raining that day and the youngster

wrote "It is raining. It is still raining. It is raining."

He obviously lacked his father’s creative skill !

(It was Guareschi who wrote the Don Camillo books

and a light-hearted book entitled

"The House that Nino Built".)


It was a great pleasure to have Hazel Stephen here again

for a few days, helping Sister Monica with the preparation

and filling of lavender bags, thus allowing Sister M.

to concentrate of the designs for them.

They sell very well at Buckfast Abbey.

Hazel made contact with us after the showing of


when Michael Symmons Roberts

was in charge of the programme on site.

He was then a youth with ginger hair.

He has kept in touch with us ever since

and is renowned as a poet and writer.


Raindrops continue to role down the west-facing

window-panes, and cat Goldie slumbers on my bed.

It is a rather dull day for the cats and I ...

Our gardener Dave came today, despite the rain,

and decided to tidy-up the shed.


Small violets are in bloom

and daffodils are bowing their heads.

Crocuses have emerged from the soil

and elsewhere primroses reflect the pale sun.


23rd February

We awoke to a howling gale and a raindrop dance

on the window-panes.

I learned that this was caused by a storm force 10,

which is known as a "whole" gale.

The evergreen trees are doing a dervish dance,

the movements are known to them alone

as they follow the guidance of the shrieking wind.

Dead branches are breaking from the deciduous trees.

If any birds are already nesting

one can only pray that their young are safe.

These thoughts come from inland -

how much more dreadful at sea for fleeing refugees.


23rd February 2017

Wishing you every blessing this Lent.