St David's For photographs scroll down to bottom
with David Gleed and Jill Atkinson
Saturday July 23
Arrived St Non’s Retreat House having driven with Enid from Cheltenham. The old place hasn’t changed and it is nice to see Sister Alma again. There are 14 pilgrims most of whom are not known to me. I have come in a state of some melancholy.
Thought for the Day. ‘Things can only get better’.
Sunday July 24
Woke up to hear about the massacre in Norway and the death of Amy Winehouse aged 27.
I have decided to switch off the radio. Morning Eucharist at the Cathedral with visiting choir (St Mary’s Wantage) singing Locus Iste (Bruckner). Walk to Caerfrae Bay in the afternoon. Gentle Celtic worship in the evening.
Thought for the Day. ‘Who said that things can only get better?’
Monday July 25
Establishing a new early morning routine. Before breakfast I go to the Prayer Room and listen to CD of SPEM IN ALIUM (Tallis) and thence to bathe my eyes in the alleged curative waters of St Non’s Well. A magical moment in the Prayer Room. Sunshine suddenly burst through the window. From gloom to glorious light in a matter of seconds.
Today was the walk to St Justinian’s. Done it before but never at such a slow pace. Enjoyable nevertheless. Came across a bumble bee’s nest on the path. Also acquired a new name en-route: GOG (Grumpy Old Grenville). At least it’s biblical (Rev 20:8).
Great excitement in the evening when a whale was spotted out at sea. All eyes and binoculars trained on it. ‘It’s a rock’, declared Sister Alma in a knowing, authoritative voice. What deflation! We deluded ourselves because we wanted to believe it was a whale.
Thought for the Day. Perceptions can change in an instant.
Tuesday July 26
Early morning and another fix of Spem. Excellent day spent on Ramsey Island capped by the sight of many choughs (or red-legged crows, as the Welsh describe them). Also an Oak Eggar moth identified by a warden. Declined to watch DVD of ‘The King’s Speech’ and went for a stroll along the coastal path.
Thought for the Day.Not everything black implies gloom –
particularly if accompanied by red legs.
Wednesday July 27
Slept better. ‘Free day’ so Enid, Jill, Sue and I drove down the coast to Broadhaven via Newgale and its superb beach. Parked at Broadhaven and then walked to Littlehaven where we had lunch. Somehow, Enid and I took the wrong turning for the return walk to Broadhaven. All came right in the end and the four of us stopped for tea at the Solva Boat Club Café . Very posh. Is Solva the St Malo of Pembrokeshire?
Evening worship in modern Chapel of St Non.
Thought for the Day.How can one get lost in going from Littlehaven
Thursday July 28
Not a good night so rose early and went to Prayer Room and listened to Spem. Read the obituaries of the Sisters. Most live to 80+ and many into their nineties.
Took myself away from the crowd today and made a solitary pilgrimage (via bus but bus pass not valid here) to Milford Haven. Rather dull weather. Only two tankers in dock. The town has obviously had a makeover with a new marina and an impressive Tesco.
After Quaker-style evening worship went to look at the ocean (no whales in sight). Beautiful evening. I shall miss the sea when I return home.
Thought for the Day. If you want a long life become a nun.
Friday July 29
Very overcast for the last full day. Everyone took part in David’s Prayer Walk after breakfast. The proximity of the ancient ruins (not guests) heightens the experience.
Spent the afternoon on St David’s Head and then went to Whitesands Bay to see the ‘sand-church’ building competition. The ‘churches’ included temples, gurdwaras and pyramids. Welcome to multicultural Wales.
Thought for the Day. Another pilgrim journey nearly over.
Saturday July 30
Good hearty breakfast and farewells all round. Enid and I set off just after nine for the return to Cheltenham and (for me) Ashton-upon-Mersey.
Review of the week. I am becoming more sceptical about the
healing powers of St Non and her Well.
Maybe I have to give it more time.
However, I do believe in the restorative
powers of Thomas Tallis.
Found in one of the St Non's rooms :
“Sleep well within this guest room, dear welcome friend tonight,
And may your every thought and hope be trustful and bright.
Let not the future with its cares intrude upon your rest.
Commit thy way unto the Lord, He’ll order what is best.
Sleep calmly in his loving care, in darkness He’s the light,
Under His shadow take thy rest.
Sleep well, dear friend, goodnight.”