|From the Rectory |
As many of you may know our son Andrew was married on 20th. June in Christ Church, Freemantle. He and his partner live in West Sussex but Andrew wanted Brian to do the deed so a special license was obtained from the Archbishop of Canterbury - what a grand document!
Anyway, it was a very informal but intimate wedding and the reception took place in the Rectory garden (the last fine day in June). It was more like a party - but our son hates formality and it was all as they wished. It was a wonderful day.
Then the next day we went on holiday down to Padstow with Sadie and Peter our daughter and son in law. We stayed in a comfortable cottage and, despite the weather, went out every day and enjoyed ourselves immensely - there was a lot of laughter (not least
about my driving - they reckoned I nearly ran Rick Stein off the road - if it wasn't him he has a double!) Padstow could almost be called Rick Stein Town; I think it's known locally as Padstein, as his influence, food and restaurant businesses predominate. I suppose the locals must be in two minds about it - it certainly brings in the tourists and the fisherman have a new lease of life but somehow the Padstow we visited many years ago has been lost.
Andrew, by way of a thank you, arranged for us to have a meal at Rick Steins' Bistro which is actually in St. Petroc's Hotel in Padstow. We didn't get the meal - there had been some confusion about the booking- but we did have a wonderful dinner in another restaurant on him and it set me thinking about the Cornish saint, St. Petroc.
One of the chief saints of Cornwall is St. Petroc. He studied first at a
monastery in South Wales, then spent twenty years at a monastery in Ireland, reading sacred and profane literature. Twenty years' study was the prescribed term of apprenticeship before a candidate became a Druid. After his studies, he went to Padstow in Cornwall, where he is now revered as a patron saint. Although saints are ascribed wondrous powers, not all saints are infallible, and a story is told that during unseasonably rainy weather, Petroc swore that, on the next day, it would change. When the rain continued, the saint, having lost face, decided to go on a pilgrimage which became a mystic voyage in true Celtic style. Having visited Rome, and then Jerusalem, Petroc moved on toward India. He trudged to the seashore, where he fell asleep. When he awoke, he saw a huge silver bowl floating toward the shore. Leaving his sheepskin cloak and his staff, he entered it, and was taken across the sea. The silver bowl took him to a small island, where he lived for seven years, eating fish that, although consumed, was miraculously restored each morning. When the seven years were up, the silver bowl reappeared, and took him back to the shore. There, his cloak and staff remained, having been guarded by a wolf during his absence. He took the cloak and staff back with him to Cornwall and, in later years, no artist would make an image of St. Petroc without his wolf.
God certainly moves in mysterious and unexpected ways at times.
I wrote in an earlier magazine about my exploits at the Boxing Club in
Waterloo Road, and afterwards had a conversation with Kevin Barnett the
head-teacher of our neighbouring school; he boxed as a young man. He
asked me to approach the owner of the Gym to see if he would be willing to go into school to talk to the children about what they do, how they do it, and why. Kevin is very keen that the children learn about healthy life styles and the importance of regular exercise. Stu, the owner said that he would be delighted to go into school and talk to the children. Further he would take his son, who is of infant school age and who has just broken the world skipping record. The children think skipping is all girly but this lad will prove the opposite. Skipping is an essential part of a boxers training regime. Danny, who is training me, or trying to, found out that I was the vicar and ever since has been questioning me about the Christian faith, and how I came to believe in God. I told him that it came late in life for me, and he said that he thinks something similar might be happening to him. He asked about Service times and said that he'd like to come to one of our services. Well, well, who would have thought that my pugilistic forays would have such spin-offs. Miracles still do happen, even in the 21st. century.
Yours for Christ's sake.