The rain in Penwith hath no plain

Cornwall Cogitation 2015#3, Sunday 22 February–It raineth. All day it raineth. Throughout Penwith, this most westerly and southerly  part of Cornwall,  it raineth.

It’s the first time it has rained steadily since we arrived  5 February. On the way home from lunch at the nearby Carbis Bay Hotel, where friends Terry and Ann had dropped us, streamlets came rushing down the path. If you live in a seaside locale, you walk up and down, down and up, over an undulating landscape whose waters empty into the sea.

The streamlets washed our soles even as the morning service at St Anta & All Saints, in sermon, song and Eucharist, washed our sins. Each time we meet at the Lord’s Table we are sustaining the covenant relationship God made through Jesus Christ, Rev Suzanne Hosking said. So we have been sustained in this sweet shower-filled day.

I like these wisdom whispers from the weekly bulletin: “Before the service speak to God. During the service let God speak to you. After the service speak to each other.”

We enjoyed the Shrove Tuesday Pasties, Pancakes & Quiz Supper at St Anta. We shared a table with Roger and Doreen and were happy to have a perfect score in identifying the 20 hymns whose clues were only the first letters of the title or first line. We had less success, though some, in the other four categories.

I’m still working to add new photos to my posts. I’ll get some help. Or do diligence by trial and error. I’ve yet to come photographically up to speed (the loading part) on the delightful slow pace of life we’re enjoying.

Cornwall Library Service, St Ives Library serves us well. I’ve read Birth of the British (Wallis Peel, Chivers, 2011), a historical novel. The birth of the unified nation traces to 937 C.E., secured by Aethelstan (895-939), Saxon king and illegitimate son of Edward the Elder. It has a good account of the role of healing women who made medicine from plants and rendered animal fats. In Daphne Du Maurer, A Daughter’s Memoir, Flavia Leng gives an engaging account of growing up in a household, the middle of three children, with dad away in war and later with other assignments, mother occupied in a writing regimen, a tutor, cook .. . the story has high moments and a happy ending. The third book is another in the Peter Tremayne Sister Fidelma Mystery series, The Seventh Trumpet. The 7th century kingdom of Muman in Ireland, a seat of Celtic spirituality, has its share of murders, mayhem, and menacing pretenders, with Fidelma, a highly qualified lawyer, sister to the king, piecing together and solving all the mysteries. What relief.

I’d like to say, “Long live libraries!” yet this venerable public service in England stands at risk of funding cuts and declining attendance. Visits dropped by 40 million in four years. Chris Bryant, the shadow Labour arts minister, said libraries “extend opportuntii8es for people, whatever their background, to read, learn and explore and they help to bridge the widening inequality in the country.” In some communities, the venerable red phone boxes have been turned into book exchanges, run by volunteers. One such “phone box library” in Banbury, Oxfordshire, was fitted with shelving that a resident complained was too flimsy and therefore books and shelves could cause injury if they were to fall. British Telephone posted a letter in this working phone box threatening to remove the shelves. More than 1,000 calls have been made from the phone box last year, a BT spokesperson said. The story doesn’t say how many books were circulated; residents have organized a saveourphoneboxlibrary campaign.

A final tidbit. Patrick Barkham writes “If you’re pootling along a country lane on 9  March and the world seems to be flashing by more quickly than usual, you will be right: on this day the speed limit for tractors rises from 20mph to 25mph [the standard EU tractor speed].” He concludes how he’ll miss the old speed. “One of the joys of the countryside is being forced to slow down.”

Stay calm and go slow, or go slow and stay calm. Best! -John

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