Weekly Sheet 21st February 2010 Lent I

Posted on: Sunday 21st February 2010

Please be seated…
by Fr Richard Coles, Senior Curate
To Dorset on my day off, a six hour drive thanks to the failure of Tom Tom, the idiocy of the navigator (me), and the closure of the A303; but it was a journey well worth making. I had gone to meet David Saltmarsh, who has a smallholding near Lyme Regis, twenty five acres of organic veg, organic sheep, organic cows and organic hens, which he farms with his wife and children and the help of neighbours who have organised themselves into a kind of loosely aligned co-operative. When we arrived everyone had turned out to try to persuade a sick cow to stand on her own four legs, which she seemed disinclined to do.
It is not an easy living, but David supplements his income from farming by making chairs – greenwood chairs, fashioned from newly cut oak and ash and beech grown on his own woodland, turned on a pole lathe, assembled without screws or nails or glue, a tradition that goes back further than anyone can remember. My grandfather, from just over the border in Devon, sat on a chair which his father and grandfather had sat on, a Windsor chair with a wheel carved in the slat that eventually went to my cousin and is now sat on by the seventh generation to be thus accommodated. It is Lent, and I must confess I coveted that chair (I got a fold-over mahogany card table instead) and have always wanted one like it, but thought the skills that went into making such a wonderful piece of furniture were extinct. And then I heard about David Saltmarsh, looked at his website, and found the chair which I  hope will last at least the next seven generations. It is made from a single piece of oak, with pole-turned legs and stretchers, an ash seat, close-grained and carved for comfort, with a wheel cut into the central slat, and stands in my sitting room looking immensely inviting.

An indulgence, surely, to buy myself such a present (and not a cheap present) as we enter Lent? Well, yes, but I don’t begrudge myself the odd indulgence, and I find as I get older I want fewer things, but better things, made by craftsmen and women, made to last, made with care. It woud be a bit of a stretch to describe sitting in it as a Lenten discipline (mind you, no upholstery), but it is a reminder of durable value and sound economy in our fickle-fashioned, throw-away culture. Check out David’s website: www.fivepennychairs.co.uk


Fr Richard Coles, Curate. 
Sunday 21st February 2010: Lent I
At 09:00:  Family Mass
Celebrant & Preacher Fr Alan Gyle.
At 11:00:  Solemn Mass
Darke in F, ‘Ich aber ben elend’ Op.110 – Brahms;  Ave verum corpus – Elgar;
Organ voluntary: Prelude & Fugue in A minor – Brahms
Preacher: Fr Alan Gyle
At 18:00:  Evening Prayer (said)
Tuesday at 19:00: Setting the Compass (the first of two Tuesday evening reflections for Lent by Fr Alan Gyle)
Wednesday at 18:45: The Wednesday Evening Service, then The Lent Course at the Grosvenor Chapel 19:45-21:00

Sunday 28th February 2010: Lent II
At 09:00:  Family Mass
Celebrant & Preacher Fr Richard Coles
At 11:00:  Solemn Mass
Messe Basse – Faure, ‘Long since in Egypt’s plenteous land’ – Parry;  Ave verum corpus – Faure;
Preacher: Fr Richard Coles
At 18:00:  Evening Prayer (said)

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