Come away by yourselves to a deserted place

Come away by yourselves to a deserted place, and rest awhile’ Those words from Mark’s Gospel whirred around my brain for a few days in January when John, Marcus and I were able to get away for a few days. Not wanting to travel far but aware that we all needed a break, we went to Sherwood Forest, staying in a very comfortable lodge with its own pool table and sauna. We arrived on a very rainy Monday with rain blowing almost horizontal in the wind. Undeterred, we unpacked and settled in and Marcus began trying to teach me to play pool. Have you ever had opportunity to sit and watch what’s going on around you, just to sit and watch quietly? One of the gifts of this break was that I managed to do exactly that. I learnt a lot, just watching ‘our’ patch of forest outside our patio doors. For example, I began to notice how squirrels twitch their tails especially when they were warning other squirrels of danger. Also, I learned that squirrels mark their territory by scenting – I didn’t know that before watching them! We had discussions whether the huge, black birds we saw were rooks, crows or ravens; we saw the most beautiful pheasant who patrolled the forest. Rabbits hopped around, birds sang, and one day as I sat (well wrapped up) on the balcony outside our bedroom, I listened the beautiful song of a robin sat only 5 feet away from me in a glorious fir tree. To be honest we didn’t do much – walks around the site, went swimming, treated ourselves to brunch at the Pancake House – and one of the joys was having time as a family, mainly around the pool table. Neither of us could beat Marcus, who needed this break before his knee surgery. In fact, when I played against myself, I lost; such is my level of competence at the game! We had a lot of fun together. Back to the squirrels. They were so funny to watch, and grew more tame over the few days. John and I put peanuts out and one little squirrel in particular thought they were all for him, he wasn’t up for sharing! He featured in many of my photos, he was so cute. We all enjoyed our few days in the forest, it was good to have some time and space away. Rev Anne
— Janet Taylor
Mon, 24 Feb 2020