My dear friends,

Splendid Isolation

The Rectory is a quite extraordinary place to live, but amazingly easy to take for granted.

Today has been hot and sultry. A delightful day for a laughter-filled Animal Service in church, and an afternoon of fun at the garden party on our front lawn. Straw hats, ‘factor thirty’, and panting dogs were all present in abundance.

As the afternoon drew on I took shelter in our deliciously cool 300 year old home. These two-foot-thick walls really come into their own on a day like this, and within half-an-hour I was quite refreshed. Looking through the window, the party outside was still in full flow and I decided to return to the fray. Opening the front door, a great swell of hot humid air pressed its claustrophobic pillow into my face and I gasped. Very soon I was sweating, then dripping, then flagging. One small dog, delightfully disinhibited, stepped into the ‘hook-a-duck’ paddling pool and had a drink; how very sensible! I was in two minds whether to join it.

I am now comfortably ensconced back at the Rectory, and reflecting on how accustomed I am to the delights of this place.

The evening news contained a report on the forthcoming summit of the G8 at Gleneagles. The unclimbable mountain of third world debt and the potential devastation of our global climate are to be discussed in an environment of air-conditioned luxury. I don’t point out this curious juxtaposition of agenda and location to be a killjoy; rather I ask you to pray that those who have the power and influence to change our world for the better will actually have the wisdom to do so.

Most of us look at the struggles of the world’s poor through the window of our TV screens whilst enjoying the relative peace and affluence of our homes. Few of us have been slapped in the face by the harsh reality of these remote struggles. If we had been, I suspect we would have both a greater appreciation of our own blessings and an empathy with the suffering of so many others.

Splendid isolation is the term for it. Pray that neither you, nor I, nor the leaders of the G8 suffer from it.


Jeff Cuttell



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