Monday, 25 August 2008

An hour of peace

Not too much to report about chapel progress this week. It's not that nothing is happening but that niggles and delays are proving frustrating and therefore stressful. We have to be out of our current house by 29th September and now it looks as if the chapel interior may not be completely finished. The main culprit is still Flaxton Forge for all the usual reasons. Richard Patterson and his team, who are making all fitted cupboards etc, are working well but it seems they underestimated how long the work would take. Ian has asked them to concentrate first on the stuff that needs to be painted so that the decorators aren't hanging around which means that the ash furniture (kitchen, bookcase, my desk) will be the last to be finished.

We were not hugely looking forward, then, to last Wednesday's visit. As usual, though, Jon went for a run and this time chose St Gregory's Church in Kirkdale as our 'base'. Situated in a wooded valley not far from Kirby Moorside and therefore the chapel, the church dates back to Saxon times and although it's still in use, nowhere could be more tranquil. Sheep crop the turf in the old graveyard (the current one is across the lane), rooks call from the ancient trees, the breeze flutter through the leaves and most visitors are suitably subdued. I am not a believer yet always am at peace in a church. There's something about the coolness, the silence of the stone and the sense of age that never fails to calm me. Not far from the church is a cave in the limestone valley sides where, in 1821, quarrymen discovered a huge quantity of animal bones including those of lions, bears and rhinoceroses. An Oxford geologist hastened to the scene and surmised (correctly) that it had once been a lair for a pack of hyenas, concluding (incorrectly) it was proof of the Flood. Current opinion dates the bones as over 75,000 years old. No wonder I felt a benign sense of continuous history in the secluded valley and no feeling that any unpleasantness had ever happened there.

And so after breathing in calmness and peace and a sense of the pettiness of my anxieties and Jon having returned from pounding the footpaths we set off for the chapel a little more optimistic than we had been on leaving home.

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