Saturday, 25 March 2017

Cwm Rhondda

Bread of Heaven....

Arglwydd, arwain trwy’r anialwch




Saturday, March 25th, 2017.  As has become a sometime habit I walk from home to Redbournbury Mill, about two and a half miles away, to buy bread.  




There's a spring in my feet.  Amanda meets me part way, and we enjoy the dip into the Ver valley, cherry blossom and bees brightening the way....






It is a perfect spring day.  The sun shines from a blue sky; fresh breezes keep us fresh.









There is a reason we go to Redbournbury. The bread is baked there, on the spot, with flour milled on the spot, some of it from organic grain from nearby Hammond's Farm....







Bread is what we require.  As my friend Sarah Stancliffe writes in her Book of Bread: Bread has been a staple food of humankind since we settled down and became farmers rather than hunters....





And one thing that is rather special about this bread is that in order to get it I need to walk two and a half miles each way through the English countryside, with all the surprises and delights this offers.....








With bread on my mind, the tune of Cwm Rhondda begins to tweet in time with the birdsong that accompanies me, whether it is the song of the Chaffinch,









 Or the less musical trump of the Chiffchaff....










And while I consider the words of William Williams

Guide me, O thou great Redeemer,
Pilgrim through this barren land;
I am weak, but thou art mighty;
Hold me with thy powerful hand:
Bread of heaven, bread of heaven
Feed me till I want no more.







Feed me till I want no more.








I am spied along the way.  This Goldfinch saw me coming, watching me to see if I had crumbs to offer, 










And then we reach the mill, where flour has been ground for generations, powered by the sleepy Ver....










Here the breads are displayed, warm from the morning oven....










And then, happily supplied, we return, observed by the beady eyes of hungry birds....










Both the bold, high-seated, and the less confident, elusive.....













Overhead, a lapwing speeds past, wary of me, and of a red kite that is not that far behind, 










While another of the crow family keeps an eye on me from on high....










Open thou the crystal fountain
Whence the healing stream shall flow;
Let the fiery, cloudy pillar
Lead me all my journey through:
Strong deliverer, strong deliverer
Be thou still my strength and shield.









Be thou still my strength and shield.










Or so the Skylark could be saying.....









Or the Yellowhammer might imply,










Not to miss a squirrel in the willow, 










Nor the light green shoots of the larch....






Or the flowers of a cherry against the young shoots of a wheat field....






As Edmund Burke said in Thoughts and Details on Scarcity: And having looked to government for bread, on the very first scarcity they will turn and bite the hand that fed them....







When I tread the verge of Jordan,
Bid my anxious fears subside;
Death of death, and hell’s destruction,
Land me safe on Canaan’s side:
Songs of praises, songs of praises
I will ever give to thee.
I will ever give to thee.



Ah, but it was a fine morning's walk, whatever.....

Songs of praises, songs of praises
I will ever give to thee.








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