July 2023 Digest - Mucknell Abbey
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July 2023 Digest

Welcome back to a very busy Mucknell Abbey; the garden is producing in abundance, most notably tomatoes and beans. The orchard is joining in with another bumper year for plums; we’ve picked them 3 times in the past 8 days, and have put over 20lbs in the freezer already – and quite a lot into our stomachs, too! Looking wider on the Estate, Br. Adrian continues to survery the trees we had planted in January 2022, to see how many have survived. Given that there are 1700 in total, it’s quite the project. The Woodland Trust, who part-funded the planting, will also help to pay for replacements for any trees that have died, hence the need to survey them all.

Various of the Community have been out and about; early in the month I attended a conference in London as one of the “Nuns of Twitter”. This is a group of about 20 nuns, sisters, and the odd monk/friar, who are all active on Twitter, or whatever it’s called today. My own account can be found here: @SrJessica_OSB , although I am far from the most frequent ‘tweeter’ of the group. We’ve been meeting online via Zoom for a couple of hours about once a month for the past three years, and have extended that to hybrid day conferences. The theme for the day was “Discovering Treasure: Exploring the Impact of Social Media on Religious Life”. It was a joy to attend, to be encouraged and to spend with with friends old and new. There is an excellent write up by Sr. Michaela, a Bernadine Cistercian, here: Discovering Treasure. The picture below shows most of those who attended in person.

Another group of nuns, this time for quite a different reason! On Sunday 2nd, Sr. Alison went to Bristol to attend the Ordination of Sr. Teresa Mary CSC. As she said, here’s the “disreputable” group of nuns after the service; Sr. Teresa Mary is buried somewhere in the middle wearing a surplice. It looks as though a good time was had by all!

And rounding off a trio of group photos, on Sunday 30th we hosted tea and Vespers for some of the brothers of the Society of St. Francis who are based at Glasshampton Monastery, and also some of the sisters from the Society of the Sacred Cross, at Tymawr Convent. It was a great joy to spend time with them and to catch up with folk we don’t always see that often, despite them not being far away.

The visit came about as Br. Simeon (next to Br. Stuart) is due to leave Glasshampton soon for another house as part of his novitiate, and he was very keen to visit Mucknell before moving on. The only face not in a habit, in the back row, is our Alongsider, George. He’s with us for just a couple of months (July and August). He was part of the Community of St. Anselm this past year, and so between the end of that and starting as a parish assistant in London in September, he came to spend some time at the monastery. He will be leaving us at the end of this month, and has been a great help around the place during his time here.

Finally, and as promised several months ago, the results of our Toilet Roll Survey are in! We tried out 5 different brands, filling in a survey sheet for each one:

The final results in terms of overall preference were as follows (scores are out of 5)

BrandScore
Sainsbury’s Supersoft5.0
Serious Tissue4.2
Naked Sprout3.9
Bamboo Bobbi3.2
Who Gives a Crap?2.5

These scores, however, are not the end of the story. Also under consideration were sheet size, price and environmental considerations. Here’s the vital stats for sheet size:

BrandSheet Size
Sainsbury’s Supersoft129.5 cm2 (10.5cm x 12.3cm)
Serious Tissue118.6 cm2 (10.4cm x 11.4cm)
Naked Sprout114.0 cm2 (9.5cm x 12.0cm)
Bamboo Bobbi128.1 cm2 (10.5cm x 12.2cm)
Who Gives a Crap?100.0 cm2 (10.0cm x 10.0cm)

And then for the amount we would save on what we currently buy, rounded to the nearest pound.

BrandMoney Saved
Sainsbury’s Supersoft£15
Serious Tissue£3
Naked Sprout£11
Bamboo Bobbi£2
Who Gives a Crap?£12

Finally, there is the issue of environmental credentials. This was really the reason for starting the project, as our current loo paper isn’t made from recycled paper. Here is the result of some of Sr. Alison’s research:

BrandSourceManufactureOther Information
Sainsbury’s SupersoftEUUKNo further info.  Not always available.
Serious TissueUKUKCarbon neutral ( presumably in terms of manufacture), Plant 1 tree worldwide for
every roll, Supporting, reforestation of UK.
Naked SproutChinaChinaLower CO2 footprint than paper,  B Corp, Claim Carbon Neutral
manufacture (but not transport), support water projects in Kenya
Bamboo BobbiChinaUKLower CO2 footprint than paper, 1% of profit to sustainable
Causes, a Climate Neutral Company.  Lot of packaging
Who Gives a Crap?ChinaChinaB Corp, 50% of profit to clean water and toilet provision,
worldwide, Lot of packaging.

And there you have it! We are hoping to have a discussion soon about which paper to opt for; while Sainbury’s Supersoft (we went for this because we already get our weekly shop from Sainsburys) might seem like a winner, there are a couple of folk who are passionate in their support for either Bamboo Bobbi or Naked Sprout. Watch this space!