Oh dear, i have done it again – not posted for ages. I am full of good intentions but good intentions don’t get anything written. It is difficult to think of things to write as like most types of life most days just potter on without anything really happening. We live a rhythmic life following the liturgical seasons and at the moment we are mainly having ferial ( ordinary days) which is a nice rest after so much festivity.

Today is a memorial of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour – or help. A day to honour our Lady and turn to her, personally i have said the novena to our Lady of Perpetual Succour several times and found it very helpful – it has been a good way to think about her and get in touch with her – not very well said but it is hard to explain – I am sure some of you know what I mean.

Sometimes on feasts of Our Lady we process with banner, singing hymns around a small part of our garden – weather permitting – and it is lovely. Chelsea seems to think the whole community is taking her for a walk and she leads us.

A couple of weeks ago we kept the feast of the dedication of our local cathedral – St Chad’s in Birmingham. As we kept it as a solemnity we had a recreation day and planned a picnic in the garden, but of course our good ole British weather intervened and it poured down with rain ( we had had weeks of sunshine!) However – unlike Wimbledon – rain did not stop play. We had a buffet in the work room instead. I joined Sr Davina and Sr Mary Magdalen in the kitchen ( Sr Teresa Mary’s day off cooking ) and we made lots of goodies and chatted ( one of things we can do on rec days), we even had a punch using up old wine and fruit juice and a nice time was had by all. In the afternoon we had a video and chocolate cake at recreation itself.

A few days later Chelsea went to a local vetinary hospital for xrays to see why she is still limping badly. She had to be starved overnight then on light meals for a few days as it was under general anaethetic. The verdict was arthritis – she is 9 after all – and we were told not to let her run around too much. Welll, this was fine for the few days it took her to get over the anaesthetic, after that she made up for lost time and wouldn’t sit still so we just let her get on with it and have fun.

In the garden the birds seem to be a having a great time – it’s like our very own nature watch programme. For the first time blackbirds are nesting in a rose bush growing against a cloister window in the court, so we have literally a birds- eye view into the nest. We have watched the mother sitting on her eggs, now she has 3 chicks which need feeding and keeping warm. So far they are funny looking bundles of soft feathers but it won’t be long before they are exploring themselves. The court is a haven for birds as it is totally enclosed and protected, we have bird feeders in there, there are lots of things in the grass to eat and we have a great view from the cloisters and refectory. It is wonderful. As well as the blackbirds there are 2 families of sparrows nesting high beside the drain pipes in the court – this is especially good as they are in decline here.

The pigeons are eating our seeds too unfortunately. They have eaten all the cabbage, carrots, leeks, swede and spring onions so there will be none this year. The gourds, potatoes, sweet corn,  and strawberries seem to be doing well , the tomatoes are coming on and we are eating our first home-grown cucumbers – a first for me and they are so much juicier and nicer than bought ones. A local priest went to a pick-your-own farm last week and brought back a large punnets of gooseberries and strawberries for us and our own are starting to ripen. At last we have cleared the currants – the red and white have been eaten by the birds though we hope for a good crop of black ones. For the first time we planted garlic and after a difficult start – the birds kept pecking off the green shoots – it all seems to be growing well. We have tasted the green bit and they are delicious – though the tasters breath is not great for others!

 In refectory we are listening to the story of the Manquehue movement by Patrick Barry OSB and in the noviceship we have completed our study of the Rule. Now we are going over it using the very helpful reflections from Br Jerome OSB Petersham, USA ( see the link to the Benedictine way in resources page ). I have been asked to study our local saints – the only one I know off hand is St Chad who became Bishop of Lichfield. I may put up a page about them as I learn.  I think that’s all for now, i will try to write more often – i know, i keep saying that but i will. Now the  laundry is caling me – i have to iron the whites – our white head wear – which is fiddly for me. pax

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