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We’ve just come home after a short spell in Donegal. It turned out to be literally gardening leave. Donegal can be wet and cold. But it is also capable of sub-tropical jungle tendencies, So the thistles in the flower bed were at eye level and the fuschia hedge – one of the glories of Donegal – which I had carefully topped last summer had put on three feet. But a good time was had by all – particularly Poppy who is now approaching her 18th birthday.

Meanwhile back at Blogstead, we’ve been having a summer of visitors and we’ve been glad to see them, Arthur, one of my former curates, came with his family to do a couple of weeks in Ballintuim. It’s one of the great cultural experiences of Perthshire. Bishop Prince Singh of Rochester, New York, is looking after our congregations at Crieff, Comrie and Lochearnhead. He was part of my year group in what they tend to call Bishop School in the US. I think he and his family were enjoying the contrast. And I’ve been glad to renew friendship with Bishop Neil Alexander, formerly Bishop of Atlanta and now Chancellor of the University of the South at Sewanee, Tennessee. All of these welcome visitors remind us that this is an extraordinary place …

And Alison and I sit in the sun on the Newman Terrace here at Blogstead – sipping that quintessentially Anglican tipple – the slightly chilled, lightly sparkling, low alcohol rose – while pondering life and its meaning,

And into that idyll comes … Ah well. More of that tomorrow.

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