Tag Archives: National Trust

1 December: A survivor? The Happy Man Tree

The London Plane was planted widely in England’s capital because it resists pollution. Its bark flakes off naturally, so that any clogged up pores are discarded and a new, pale, outer layer takes over. You can see this happening above the wide red scarf and down by the roots in the photo. When we lived in Hackney, London, in the 1960s, the tree would have survived thanks to this adaptation.

The Happy Man Tree was named after a demolished pub that stood behind the builders’ hoarding. It was voted England’s tree of the year because it is loved by the local community but condemned by the borough council in order to build more homes for local people.

No-one is against much needed social housing but other plans have been outlined that preserve this tree while not losing any new homes. Will the campaigners save this tree?

The infant Jesus was in danger of his life, saved through Joseph’s wisdom in interpreting his dreams and taking action. This tree is a reminder that we have to interpret our dreams of saving the planet by taking action. Can you save or plant a tree before Easter? It could be one planted on your behalf by an organisation such as the National Trust. A Christmas present to the planet?

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Filed under Advent and Christmas, Daily Reflections, Justice and Peace, Laudato si', Mission, PLaces

22 October: Readings from Mary Webb, XII: Time as the Shadow of Eternity.


trees-reflection-chris Near Bateman’s Sussex (National Trust)

When we look down into the blueness of some little pool, rejoicing in the birdlike passage of the clouds, and then look up to the wide sky, we realise that the finite is like a lake which, as far as its capacity allows, mirrors the infinite; and when we see the foreshortened image of a poplar stretched in pale colouring beneath it, we have a sudden vision of time as the faint, straitened shadow of eternity.

Reflections in a pool give rise to a reflection in Agnellus Mirror, 100 years since Mary Webb published Springs of Joy, from which this week’s thoughts are taken.

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Cheerful Fingers

petworth.dairy (640x426)No, not a post about Oscar Peterson or any other pianist!

Our days in Chichester showed us many people working as volunteers; in National Trust properties, Pallant House Gallery and in Chichester Cathedral itself. We were there one morning as they came in, greeting each other, breathing the building to life. Read on and judge whether I was distracted by their voices and the click of the flower ladies’ secateurs.

These places would collapse without volunteers. As one told us, ‘When we (meaning the Trust) took over, there was just one gardener; now most work is done by volunteers.’ Note that ‘We’.

Paul saw things this way:

 God hath set the members every one of them in the body as it hath pleased him. And if they all were one member, where would be the body? But now there are many members indeed, yet one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand: I need not thy help; nor again the head to the feet: I have no need of you. Yea, much more those that seem to be the more feeble members of the body, are more necessary.

1 Corinthians 12:18-22.

Sometimes I see volunteers begin their day at Canterbury Cathedral by lighting a candle before Our Lady Undercroft, beginning with conscious prayer, continuing praying through their work. May God bless their work and ours.

May volunteers and their work never go unappreciated by the heads of the bodies they work for: stately homes, cathedrals, FISC; schools, hospitals, hospices, …

The Winter Dairy at Petworth House, NT; maintained and explained by volunteers.

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