Monday 1st. Some funny looking cheeses appeared on a cheese board in the refectory for breakfast: a treat -we must be into a new year! In Chapter, we each greete
d all the other monks for the first time this year, and out came the calendars. The Abbot shows us the different calendars we’ve received, after which we choose the one(s) we wish. The Missions Étrangères calendar, this year like last, was done with great care, and is striking. Glic was unable to resist the Oratoire Saint Joseph calendar; very nice, everything seems well done at that shrine in Montreal. Brother Léo got a huge calendar showing the twelve months together, for the guest house office. Bede himself got ‘Nottinghamshire 2018’, with lovely shots including Sherwood Forest.
At lunch, we listened to Andrea Bocelli’s Christmas. I was regretting Father Clovis wasn’t there to hear it. (He is free to eat on either side: with the guests or with us.) Christmas tree must have been feeling proud to hear Bocelli feelingly intone in three languages: “O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree! Your branches green delight us!”
Tuesday 2nd. Edmundo has arrived from Ontario for a one month trial run of our life. He duly took a place in choir, between Brother Léo and Brother Glic.
Wednesday 3rd. Dom Bede has been commenting the Rule in Chapter with reference to the Season; Advent, Christmas.
Thursday 4th. A jolly Grand-Dad was by to the guesthouse with his constantly-smiling grandson at his side: five years old and equipped with toy handcuffs: ‘pour poigner les méchants’, which seemed to exclude us.
The eve of this propitious day, Brother Henry had dreams of extreme weather. Today, under ominous grey-white skies we set out for the sisters, where the welcome was wonderful. Two turkeys had been cooked, and a log was burning on the video fireplace. Dom Bede received the surprise of a combination birthday and anniversary of Abbacy cake, with dual candle sets.
We made our way back in separate waves, then the snow and wind picked up, eventually turning to rain then back to snow.
Friday 5th. To get out to the barn to milk in the night, Steve walked away from the barn, around a drift, then on. Considerable drifts bordered smooth ice and even rain puddles along our drive.
Saturday 6th. The John Adams biography is bringing to light the involvement of various European countries in American independence. I think it would be safe to say a lot us in NB were not taught much of this history; I bet it was mentioned in passing, in school.
Sunday 7th. In his homily for the Epiphany today, Dom Bede spoke of joy, adoration and generosity as being touchstones of Christian living. Extreme cold lingered on this week, but our little bull first-born of the year was not impressed by it. He is strong and pretty.
Monday 8th. Today was Dom Bede’s birthday, and we wished him a happy one.
Tuesday 9th. A farm technician has been by to check how well the vacuum pipes for milking are functioning.
Brother Stephan has gone to the lakeside hermitage for a few days’ retreat. People have been asking: what does he eat while he is out there? I am not certain, but in years past, cans of fish, along with bread and cheese were staples for us there.
Wednesday 10th. Five years have nearly passed since we leased the Kia Optima; seems like yesterday. We’ve had many blessings during that time, and soon we’ll have something new. Previous to the Kia, we’d had a full-size car which the then-Abbot might not have bought if not that a monk had fallen in love with the car. Turned out to be the right car for us, so love’s not always blind.
Thursday 11th. Ordinary time is very welcome territory to Brother Léo when we return to it. Today, looking at the snow outside, Léo was telling me that for fun as children in Memramcook they would see who could run the furthest barefoot over the snow, afterwards dashing back to the house delighted. He says twenty feet barefoot is pretty good.
Friday 12th. There has been a bit more activity than usual this time of year in our guest house, with guests arriving from near and far, including someone preparing for Ordination as an Anglican Priest.
Saturday 13th. A variety of precipitation types yesterday and today left the pin oak coated with an ice that highlights the tree’s fine branch structure.
Sunday 14th. There were propane problems today, affecting especially the kitchen and the laundry. After supper, a technician found the problem: the drastic, repeated changes in the temperature outside have made condensation gather in the regulator; we await a new part and for now, he’s got the old one working.