Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Around Northleach

As last Wednesday, the forecast was rain for this morning. Happily, it didn't materialise, and the five of us who set out to walk in a gentle anti-clockwise circle from Northleach stayed dry. Not only did the rain hold off, it was warm and intermittently sunny, as can be seen from my photograph, taken as we came back down into the Leach valley, looking forward to lunch.

We ate at the Sherborne Arms, our peace being interrupted by some continuous high-pitched barking a couple of tables away: the temptation to order a dog roll was hard to resist. By Winterwell Barn we had spotted rather more useful specimens of that ilk - four sheep dogs and a spaniel in the front of a pickup, overlooking (in the back) five sheep - a high pupil:teacher ratio.

Earlier, we chatted with the lone Stowell Park tractor man: born in nearby Withington in a bygone era, his CaseIH Steiger 485QT Quadtrac GPS-guided machine is a monster. Elsewhere than the Cotswolds, you could buy a house for what one costs. Weighing 24 tonnes and consuming 100 litres of fuel per hour, this vehicle is not something you look forward to meeting coming towards you on a country lane.

And a far cry from green economics: the other tractor man was "transitioned" when it arrived.

Before I left for Northleach, we had the Today programme on Radio 4. The Thought for the Day presenter was well upstaged by Celestina Mba an hour later, interviewed by Justin Webb.

Merton Council employed Celestina to work with needy children. At her interview, she had said she could not work on Sundays, as she was a Christian. "We can work around that," she was told, and was offered the job, which she accepted. But things changed, and the same man who interviewed Celestina told her, "We need you to work Sundays."

Justin Webb, who seemed perplexed by Celestina's stance, was told, calmly but impressively firmly: "You have to care for yourself, to be able to give care to other people. If I don't take care of my own spiritual being, I cannot give anybody anything. The reason that I work with them [autistic children] is because God enables me to work with them. It is not an easy job, but I enjoy what I do and believe I have so much to give them."

In other words, Nemo dat quod non habet.

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