Ladydale Diary

Saint Keyne, 2020

I love the view from my office window. Here we are in the early part of autumn and the array of wildflowers edging our property is simply delightful. I’m looking out over a sea of violet, yellow and white. It’s also at this time of year that we see migrating birds who visit our feeder for a day or two before continuing their journey. This week we’ve been blessed with the presence of a female American restart, the first time I’d ever set eyes on this particular species, and a female rose breasted grosbeak (see Susannah’s photograph above).

One morning, lying in bed saying my morning prayers, just as it was getting light, I saw our local owl winging its way roostward after a night on the prowl (if birds can be said to prowl). The night before last, as I wandered around waiting for our elderly rooster to retire for the day, I watched an early rising bat, flying low enough in light that was only just beginning to fade. This enabled me to see the bat itself and not merely its silhouette against the gathering gloom.

This was also the week in which I’m guessing we had our last sighting of a snake until next spring. It was a five foot black snake that I almost trod on, near the chicken and duck pen. After I gave it enough wriggle room, it slithered off sluggishly across the grass into the undergrowth.

Although I’m travelling next week, to Georgia and to Oklahoma, this has been another week at home, in which I have hardly left the property, except to go to church and the gym. It’s also been a week of relatively few extra-curricular activities, though the curricular activities keep me busy enough. On Monday evening was the online Shakespeare class I’m teaching for the Albertus Magnus Academy. We began Hamlet, covering most of act one. On Wednesday lunchtime I taught my “Introduction to the Divine Comedy” class for Homeschool Connections, ascending into heaven with my students. On Wednesday evening, during my online class for Memoria College on “Imaginative Literature”, we climbed out of Dante’s hell into purgatory.

Tuesday has become the one day that I keep sacrosanct for the writing of my next book, a history of Catholic England. This week I endured more martyrdom at the hands of Bloody Bess and have just witnessed the failure of the Spanish Armada. Hopefully I’ll be able to kill of Bloody Bess in the next week or so.

With respect to my regular essay for the Imaginative Conservative, which I normally write on Thursday morning, I am suffering from a rare attack of writer’s block. Being realistic, I’ll probably not get to the writing of this until tomorrow morning. My excuse, should such be necessary, is that we had a rough night with our son Leo. I was awakened by him at 1:30 and went up to try to get him back to sleep, but to no avail. At 4:30, I asked Susannah to take the next shift with him, while I crept back to bed. I believe that they finally got a little sleep before the morning, as did I. Thankfully such relatively sleepless nights are rare.

I have a regular meeting with my colleagues at the Augustine Institute at 4pm, via Zoom, which means that I’ll have to forfeit plans to go to the gym. I’m probably too tired any way. In the interim, I’m going to record this week’s three podcasts for the Inner Sanctum.

Until next time. Goodbye and God bless.