I am writing this new blog on the train back to Tiverton, after facilitating the Darlington District MWiB ‘overnighter’ at Minsteracres Retreat Centre near Consett. I should myself have had two overnight stays at Minsteracres, but my very lengthy journey on Thursday meant that plans were changed. I spent the first night in Stokesley with Helen and Alan, before heading on to the centre early on Friday morning.
Many friends have commiserated about my dreadful rail journey on the day of Storm Doris, but it was actually not as bad as it sounded. The length of the journey was nine and a half hours, rather than five as expected. In many ways the time almost seemed to pass more quickly than usual, filled with the suspense of not quite knowing what would happen next. Would we actually reach Birmingham when there were trees across the line after Bromsgrove? Would there be another train running when our service was terminated at New Street? How long would the journey on to Darlington take? Would there be mobile phone signal at each station along the route, so that I could keep Helen informed of my progress on the way?
Once I was underway I had a book with me which occupied the moments in between announcements. I was grateful to be heading to my destination, albeit slowly, and mindful of those for whom the stormy day had been far more difficult and in at least one case tragic.
My time at Minsteracres has left me with warm memories of conversations shared over our time together. Again I witnessed women demonstrating the love of Christ in their friendships and their care of one another. The staff at Minsteracres were thoughtful and attentive and we enjoyed the hospitality of the centre and the beauty of the surroundings.
My photo is edited from a snap I took as some of the women shared stories together over a coffee break. Pilgrims on a journey, companions on the road.