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Martin's Musings, from France

Revd Martin Mudie

An occasional contribution from the garden of many delights…

As I write these words, I am sitting on a sun-drenched balcony in a beautiful country park in the south of France with a table holding a large glass of chilled white wine close at hand. Below the balcony I can spy a flower filled meadow containing buttercups and daisies leading to woods rolling gently down to the great river Dordogne as it meanders its lazy course through the valley down to the Mediterranean. In the far distance, on the left, a picturesque French chateau sits high on its cliff top above the river and on the right, I can see two or three ancient French farmhouses surrounded by their fields and more decorative woods.

Am I making you all jealous? O, I do hope so – for thanks to the great kindness and generous hospitality of my cousins—I am staying with them in their lovely home called Categrighl (which, in translation, means ‘The Singing Cricket’) and indeed from my seat I can hear not only lovely birdsong but also many merry chirping crickets. For I am here on my Holiday-Retreat. Now holidays, you all know about and the purpose of retreats in the Christian tradition is to withdraw from the routine of daily life in order to pray, read and think holy thoughts. Well, I do pray every day, I have several gardening books with me, and I can’t remember how long it’s been since I had a holy thought—so, two out of three isn’t bad!

You see my holiday retreat is a bit like spiritual glamping (luxury camping, for the uninitiated).  Not only are my hosts gifted and enthusiastic cooks who like to try out their favourite recipes on their visitors, but they have a large and well-equipped wine cellar, which they are more than  happy to share.

All in all, I am having a wonderful time. For retreats, however you take them, are good for your body and your soul. It is good to get away from the pressures and the routine of everyday life and have some quality time just for yourself. Now, you don’t need to go to the south of France for this, you can an away day or days, but ensure that the time is just for yourself. I am sure that you will return to the daily round refreshed, renewed and invigorated.

So, Bon Voyage!