Tolkien meets St Benedict
We take a reconnaissance trip to the Anglican Benedictine Community at Elmore Abbey on the outskirts of Newbury today to explore it as a possible place for future staff/student retreats. We make the wonderful discovery there of their oratory. None of the wood in it, green oak, was cut down; all of it fell naturally. Not a single nail went into the timber frame's construction; all is wooden peg construction. I'm sure Tolkien would have approved, it reminds me of Beorn's house in The Hobbit! Or perhaps something from Lothlorien.
The community are now pretty small - only 6 men, but a larger oblate community. We were welcomed by a wonderful monk who looked and spoke like Donald Sutherland. I think the Chaplaincy are just going to have to try and pull this one off, it'd be too good to miss.