June 2023 Digest - Mucknell Abbey
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June 2023 Digest

Greetings from Mucknell Abbey! We’ve “enjoyed” a full range of weather this month, from crashing thunderstorms and torrential rain, to a week or so of high temperatures. Many of us are relieved that the last couple of days have been somewhat cooler; hot weather, delightful though it may be, is not very comfortable in a long black habit. We have however genuinly enjoyed so much of what the natural world has to offer at this time of year: beautiful flowers, the beginnings of being overwhelmed by fruit and veg from the kitchen garden, swallows swooping about and entertaining us with their chatter, young hares playing, a deer playing ‘chase’ with a pheasant early one morning, and much more besides.

Flower Power

Many of our guests and visitors have noticed the new wildflower patch outside the guest wing. Br Jonathan kindly provided me with a set of photographs showing the progress from digging over the lawn to the glorious display we now have:

The flowers so far identified include cornflower and red/pink poppies, chamomile, corn marigold, ox-eye daisies, foxgloves, lady’s bedstraw and some yellow rattle. We bought our seed from the lovely people at Forest of Flowers, in Yorkshire.

We also had a visit recently from the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust, conducting a site survey of our flora and fauna. One of their most exciting finds was a couple of small patches of bee orchids. They are quite small and therefore easy to miss. It was a delight to see and photograph their delicate beauty. Follow the link (click/tap on “bee orchids”) to learn more about this fascinating little flower.

As well as the beauty of the flowers, we’ve been enjoying the abundance of the garden in recent weeks – the strawberries and raspberries are getting difficult to keep up with, and it’s been great to have the first of our new potatoes in and on our plates too.

Friends Association Day

On Saturday 24th, it was great to welcome a variety of our Friends for an interesting and delicious afternoon. We began with the Office of None, then Paul Edmondson, Head of Research at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and a good friend of the community, gave us a fascinating talk entitled ‘Shakespeare and the Bible’. In this, he explored the many ways that Shakespeare’s use of language is based on that of the Bible, whether by direct quotation or indirect allusion. Following this, we all made our way to the refectory for a lovely tea, and time to chatter and enjoy the sun. The programme for the afternoon concluded with the Office of Vespers. If you’re interested in joining our Friends Association, have a look at the information here on our website: Friends Association.

Out and About

Various people have been enjoying holiday time over the past month, with more due in the coming weeks (including myself, hurrah!). Sr. Alison recently attended a conference for the Novice Guardians of Anglican Communities; she co-ordinates this group, which is currently looking at the formation offered to novices across their different communities. At their conference, they also heard from Fr Nicholas Crowe OP, the prior of Blackfriars, Oxford, who spoke about the place of social media in formation; all attending found his words timely and interesting.

As we continue to enjoy the summer in all it’s beauty, we pray for our world, giving thanks for all that God has given us. We pray too for courage to face up to the reality of the climate emergency, and for the will to make the changes needed to secure a sustainable future for all the earth’s inhabitants.