The name Bemerton means 'the place of the trumpeters', and without Isaac Walton, even George Herbert might not have been heard! Lets face it - we need the trumpeters, otherwise we can’t hear the good news, the good ideas, or the cry of the poor.
One of the instructions Herbert gives is to care for the poor, and if Christians and the church are not doing that then they’ve pretty much lost their way. Now there is a national newspaper columnist whom I read - she makes me laugh and is sometimes quite astute in her observations (but I don’t agree with everything, naturally). Recently the government decided to re-test everyone’s welfare benefits, and many people I know, on disability and medical benefit had to be re-examined, fill in long forms, walk 2 miles every week to sign on (but they’re disabled!!) and so on. Its not been good for anyone, and then one of the firms doing the re-testing has been convicted of fraud.
So it's all bad, and you and I feel helpless but frustrated. Along comes Caitlin Moran (there, I said it!) the columnist, who writes a passionate piece about what it was like to grow up on benefits and all the unhelpful anxiety this re-testing is making. I was so overcome that this person, whom I know to be read by politicians and shapers, would use their position for good, not just entertainment or celebrity, that I cried!
In 'The Country Parson', Herbert instructs himself to grow herbs and medicines, so as to heal the parish. Nowadays pharmaceutical companies do this for us, and the other kinds are illegal. So what to grow in a Rectory garden? Ask anyone who has small children and the issues are clear, no time to do much, and it mustn’t be fancy or dangerous! No fox gloves, or time draining flower beds. So most of our garden is now lawn (it took long enough to clear the brambles to get it that far), and we are making a willow arbour - because you have to do something with the annual trimmings from the tree! Now, in some shady areas, I’m also growing comfrey, in order to make my own fertilizer - its very organic and quite smelly.
I’ve also invested in a wormery. We already have a large compost bin for our vegetable waste but I’m never very keen on digging out the composted material out the bottom. The worms are just waking up now the warmer weather is here, and will soon be producing rich soil (worm poo, really) to go on our veggie beds and in planters. It may not be exactly what George said, but I think it's in the spirit of it!
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