I arrive in chapel for silent prayer just before 7am, somewhat damp from crossing the lane in the rain! Morning Prayer follows at 7.30, then the Eucharist, for which we are joined by the retired priest who regularly presides on Tuesdays, sometimes staying for breakfast, and also the guest from the hermitage. Around breakfast I check the house diary for the day, and make a shopping list.
At 9am I meet with one of the sisters to look at possible holiday and retreat dates for her. After phoning the garage to arrange servicing and MOTs for the two house cars during the coming month, and contacting our electrician about a fairly urgent small repair, I drive the mile to South Petherton to do banking, collect prescriptions, and buy fruit & veg. – including half a sack of potatoes. Shopping put away, I reflect over a coffee in preparation for a spiritual direction appointment at 11am. There’s a message on the answer phone to say the person is delayed by a breakdown blocking the road. Fortunately when she arrives 20 minutes later we are able to shift our meeting forward, so all is well. She and two other day guests join us for Midday Prayer at 12.40.
After lunch, gathering linen and supplies I walk up the road to prepare the Dower Cottage for the next guests. Thankfully I find that it has been left pretty clean and tidy, and only needs a few adjustments to bed making, a little cleaning, and vacuuming throughout. While there I also read the meters, check the oil gauge and notice whether the grass needs cutting, returning with bags of recycling, leftover food, and some dirty laundry the departing guests had overlooked.
At 4.15 I meet with a guest to begin his few days of Individually Guided Retreat. This is all new to him so we need time for introductions and some basic teaching to help him get underway. Several guests who have arrived during the afternoon attend Evening Prayer at 5.30. I then find a sunny spot in the garden for prayer time.
Before supper, which affords a relaxed opportunity for informal connection with our guests, there’s a phone call from my colleague on the diocesan course “Equipping for Spiritual Direction”. At 8pm I meet with someone who has asked me to hear her confession. In the kitchen, after Night Prayer, I make a few preparations for cooking tomorrow, and phone my sister for a brief chat. Then I cross the lane to my room to conclude the day by finding what I need for the Spiritual Direction course on Thursday, and writing to a prospective Working Guest.