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Word From Wormingford - A Parish Year by Ronald Blythe

 Author Ronald Blythe has been a Reader in his Church of England parish in rural Suffolk for many years. He wrote these weekly essays for the Church Times from 1991-96. They cover each week of the liturgical year from Advent to Remembrance Sunday and are a breath of fresh air, a great gift. It is beautifully illustrated by John Nash.

Writing beautifully in an almost Zen-like style, Blythe uses few words to evoke the sounds, colours, events past and present of one moment, in a particular place. While he lives in an ancient farmhouse down a Suffolk country lane, these short essays chronicle the comings and goings of the world. with wisdom and humour. He also gently quotes from a huge range of other writers from Chaucer to Dame Julian of Norwich, Dylan Thomas, Robert Lowell and Bruce Chetwynd - with references to music, art and contemporary media.

There is nothing sugary or superficial here. Ronald Blythe knows about the goings in the shed, parish politics, fertilizer and drought as well as wars, famine and pestilence. But this is someone who loves all of creation and has absolute trust in the Lord.

One summer's day he writes: 'Wild roses festoon every hedge and cats emerge from ditches with golden glances .. The church tower is a charcoal stump. just as it was during the summer nights which followed the Conquest.. Gravestones are legible and there are dense scents. Young rabbits are dining off a wreath and other unidentifiable creatures rustle and fidget. Everywhere it is all so perfectly interesting that one might never go to bed.'

Today is Ronald Blyth's 85th birthday. Many he enjoy many happy returns! And may many more people discover his beautiful books.

Word From Wormingford - A Parish Year by Ronald Blythe is published by Canterbury Press ISBN No 978-1-85311-845-6

LONDON - 6 November 2007 - 300 words