Father, Son and Holy Spirit
It was, as intended, the wedding of the year: uniformed Guard of Honour, Trumpet Fanfare, many attendants for the beautiful bride and a charming groom and best man all in full fig. The large church had five aisles to be dressed with copious sprays of Alchemilla; this simplest of intent was never achieved.
The evening before the wedding day, the sheep (on which industry the estate depended) found their way into the closed garden full of growing sprays of Lady’s Mantle awaiting their noble task on the morrow. By dawn the garden was empty and the sheep were sleepy and content.
Our lives, yours and mine are just part of a great and living Trinity of creation, we share this wonderful stage with our fellow creatures and are constantly inspired by the spirit of life, comforting yet at the same time disturbing. There are always things to be done. In the gardens at Highgrove Royal Gardens the plants flourish and are cherished, seeming to respond to the dialogue and caring time their gardener lavishes on them. The recent downpour after a long dry spell saw the sweet peas flexing their muscles and I could have sworn, as I checked up on them, that they were laughing in delight at the deluge.
My friend has many sheep; they recognise her voice and she goes each evening ‘looking the sheep’ and sees them as individual creatures. I have seen ‘patting’ dogs heal and calm the aggravated distress of people.
The musical inspiration of those who come frequently to Parcevall to sing or play instruments satisfies something deep in our identity, the Hall absorbs the created sound and re-echoes in reassurance and unity.
The composer was in his London flat, so the story is told, searching for inspiration and growing irritated with the staccato sound made by small boys running their sticks along the railings of his building. When suddenly the sound of the sticks and the noise of the traffic, as he opened his window on to the street, fired his imagination and became the raw seeds of the new composition. He produced a swaggering, stirring march containing all the ordinariness of the world around him, an ordinariness freshly recognised.
The gardens at Parcevall are constantly being renewed and recreated, Philip and Nick and the team methodically repair and prepare the hedges, the borders, the lawns. The fact that they are closed and unseen does not alter their existence. Everything is still here, nature and creation do not go on ‘furlough’. As Van Gogh said to his friend Gauguin, the view does not need our observation in order to exist. It exists in its own majestic right.
The voice that moved over Eden brings life and the Man of Galilee brings ‘footsteps’ which we try to walk in; the Holy Spirit, the Comforter brings a constancy of hope and freshness to a weary world.
The flower ladies were brought by the sheep to a great test of their ingenuity and they (as you would expect) triumphed. The “church looked magnificent”.
Graham W Bettridge
Hon Chaplain Parcevall Hall.
9th June 2020