A ruined church, winter bare trees in the deserted churchyard and the jackdaws’ cry. All are reminders of mortality - a fitting backdrop for the Lenten fast! The reused bricks and conglomerate stone incorporated by the 11th century the builders recall “the glories that were Rome”. Once this building housed a miraculous wonder-working image of St. Theobald to which pilgrims flocked. Often when I come here to pray , there’s just me and some friendly horses. That’s fine for someone who seeks solitude but do these deserted and neglected ruins point towards the Church of England future?”
Ah! I have left out the most amazing thing that one day totally transformed a dismal scene! “A host of ….daffodils !”
On a March day back in 2009, like William Wordsworth’s Lake District flowers, these were abundant and “danced and fluttered in the breeze.” I think I know what the poet meant when he wrote:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
I might share a dancing heart in retrospective joy but William and I have to part company. I need to go beyond his Nature Mysticism! I seem to hear from each golden trumpet the silent music of an Easter fanfare glorifying the Creator and proclaiming the giddy , impossible, miraculous, wonder of the Risen Son.
Still in pensive mood , joyful memory takes me back to the Mount of Olives where once I marvelled at anemones as red as blood among the green springtime grass and delighted in daffodils standing in dappled sunlight beneath the ancient trees of Gethsemane.
St. Theobald’s Church stands in the meadows south of the River Bure . A track runs towards the river from the road that goes past the Girl Guide’s Hautbois House and on to Hautbois Green. Those arriving by foot or bike might have come off the Bure Valley Railway path at Hautbois Green.
Miss Elizabeth and Philippa Patterson who left the Hautbois estate to the Guides are buried in the nave of the old church. Their enthusiasm for Guiding lives on!