June 2016

The weather has been hot and sunny, and now we need rain...

Plants in pots require watering before they wither away.

Perhaps we are like these dependent plants,

able to rejoice in God’s presence everywhere,

and then suddenly arid and bereft

when our roots no longer reach the deep waters of life.

Our Lord, in his teaching, used everyday experiences

to help us to recognise our needs.

Tiredness can result in aridity as well.

Like the soil, we need a good soaking to revive us -

or a good, deep sleep, like the cat curled-up on my bed !

Were it indeed so simple for us human beings...


The humidity both inside and outside is enervating.

The plants I watered earlier today have revived

but walking in the garden is not pleasant.

It reminds me of summer-time in Italy, when clothes

became damp as soon as they were put on,

and the only solace was walking barefoot indoors on marble floors!

And then there were the mosquitoes at night ....

and the cicadas in the day-time ...

I have never liked hot weather !


Many wild flowers - called weeds -

have grown in the spaces between paving stones.

They look attractive but will have to go at some stage -

perhaps they are like some of our foibles,

which endure for a while, before causing real annoyance,

and then no longer give us any pleasure ?

It is too hot to think.


The lower pond 2016


8th June

The heat-wave continues.

I go out as early as I can into the garden,

tidying and clearing the green-houses,

saving some plants still surviving in pots

by watering them and placing them in

the cool shade of trees more than 100 years old.

The less fortunate plants have died already.

Now that our kindly gardener Trevor has retired

I am free to do some gardening again....

A younger local man, Dave,

now officially our gardener, formerly a printer,

researches, or asks his local friends,

how to tackle the areas with which he is not yet familiar.

Dave starting on the ponds today, where water lilies are in bud.

I weeded around cat-mint by the back door,

a gift of many years ago from a local friend

for the cats to enjoy ....


9th June

The sky is overcast, but the ground remains dry.

Murphy (cat) had disappeared by the time I went out at 5.30 a.m..

The food left under the bench was later eaten by the young fox:

five magpies watched him, and ate up the remnants he left.

He looks much better now, and more confident.

A solitary herring gull was joined by a crow and pigeon.


The meadow is wonderful, radiant with many tall flowers,

especially buttercups and tall white daisies.

Some purple corncockle has seeded itself

at the edge of a flower-bed containing roses and lavender.

By early evening rain began to fall ....


10th June

"The quality of mercy is not strained.

It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven

Upon the place beneath ...."

Shakespeare : The Merchant of Venice

That is a wonderful description of our weather today.

Unfortunately, it also increases the humidity:

the dampness makes our monastic clothing cling to us.

As it is often said "You can’t have everything" !


Acacia blossom : an old tree in our garden - 2016

13th June

For the last few days we have had torrential rain,

with occasional peals of thunder and flashes of lightning.

This time the appropriate saying is :

"It never rains but it pours !"

The garden is lush and green,

the plants once in pots are now planted in cleared areas,

having every opportunity to root and flourish

in the moist soil.

The gardener herself has regained her delight

in working out of doors. On some days a robin looks on ...

Naturally, the weather is cooler, too !


It is eight days since our Canonical Visitation ended:

it seems distant, far away,

as though one had been looking out of a train window,

glimpsing passing villages and interesting fields,

enjoying some views and others less,

before once again stopping at one’s proper destination.


It was good to hear part of the ceremony

celebrating our beloved Queen Elizabeth II’s official 90th birthday.

How the years have sped away.

At the end of Mass yesterday, Sunday 12 June 2016,

the celebrant read the prayer chosen by the Catholic Bishops:

"Almighty God, we pray that your servant Elizabeth, our Queen,

who, by your providence has received the governance

of this realm, may continue to grow in every virtue,

that, imbued with your heavenly grace,

she may be preserved from all that is harmful and evil and,

being blessed with your favour may, with her consort

and the royal family, may come at last into your presence ...."


However, one could wish this prayer had been simpler, from the heart,

and less ‘ceremonial’.

18th June

Early this morning some herons flew overhead.

They sometimes come here to fish in our lower pool.

The crows chase them away.

It would be good if the same could be done with our distractions!


This has been a most unusual week.

The torrential rain burst the local main’s water supply,

leaving the whole area without water.

We were fortunate in the old House as the hot water

still remained, coming from a large cistern under the roof.

It reminded us of our years in Talacre Abbey, North Wales,

when our water came from a distant spring

which flowed under fields in pipes.

The grazing cattle contaminated it,

but it did not do us any harm !

It was only after 1984 that we were connected to the mains.


The rain continued to fall - the lower pool almost flooded:

the duck and drake only come occasionally now - they are moulting.

The meadow was partly flattened by the rain,

with plants falling across the surrounding paths.

Yet when the sun shone, the bumblebees

could be heard and seen diligently seeking for nectar.

It was lovely to see the bright pollen sacs on their legs.

Our oldest Sister was taken into hospital

as she was suffering from severe pain in her back.

After several tests and x-rays, and some days in hospital,

it seemed that she would be sent home.

Our very good infirmarian visited her daily,

and told a doctor that the pain was caused by an infection of the bladder.

The tablets then prescribed caused mental confusion.

On her return home she recovered

slowly but steadily, the medication having been changed.


Meanwhile an order for 375 cards arrived from Buckfast Abbey.

It has now been completed, with Sister Monica’s help.

It is now the eve of the Feast of John the Baptist, celebrated on 24th June.

It will then be the 50th anniversary of my religious life,

which began in Florence in 1966.


This is one of my favourite designs:

Mandala Purple Pansies


26th June 2016

The voting in this country whether to remain or leave the EU

was in favour of leaving.

Other European countries are now clamouring to vote on the same issue.

It is difficult to know whether fragmentation will lead to peace or disarray.

But as plants and flowers have their seasons, and liturgical times change,

perhaps politics need the same periods of change and deliberation.


The hymn we sang to celebrate the Feast of Saint John the Baptist

contained the verse:

That lonely voice cried out the truth

Derided and denied.

As witness to the law of God

His mighty martyr died.


We have been reading Plato’s account of the trial of Socrates,

who was condemned because his belief was not that of the State:

he died peacefully, surrounded by his friends.

So many people throughout the centuries have suffered in the same way.


On this reflective note the Month of June ends !