Men's Group Footnote....

The Menís Group Retreat to Darlington
(or: Why is there is no Justice in the World)

By the time these notes appear in print and online the story of Kevinís foot will have passed into St Faith's folklore, but the writer (Rick Walker, who has asked to remain anonymous. Ed.) feels that the true and honest facts behind the unfortunate accident are worth recording, if only because truth can be stranger than fiction. The merry band of pilgrims set forth on a clear morning looking forward, as usual, to the prospect of a relaxing, stimulating, but largely uneventful weekend lead as in the last few years by a certain Fr Charles (once of this Parish) who always adds a distinct and personal touch to the proceedings.

After the usual lunch in Hawes, we arrived at ďDavidís HouseĒ in the picturesque village of Marske having travelled through the Dales countryside at its very best. The sun was shining and all was certainly right with the world. That was until the first meal. Whether it was the excellent meal, the convivial, ebullient conversation, or the remnants of a chest infection we donít know but as Kevin left the table he tripped and fell awkwardly hurting his ankle.  Please note that at this stage the only open bottle was one of milk, and any other rumours should be discounted.

After a painful night it was decided that a visit to Darlington A & E was probably better for Kevin than the programmed visit to the Black Sheep Brewery, and as he couldnít drive himself, our house doctor and paramedic (both retired) also missed out on a fascinating tour of the brewery and some very good fish and chips. Kevin was devastated of course but was compensated later in the day when he shared in one or two bottles of souvenir elixir.

Now nicely plastered, our gallant hero assumed centre stage -  i.e. he sat on the best chair, did no washing up, no cleaning, no wood chopping, and was basically molly-coddled for the rest of the weekend. The photo with slightly surprised face shows him talking to an oversized budgie that appeared to have escaped from a Monty Python sketch.

Sunday saw us as usual enjoying the highlight of the retreat Ė the 11.00 Eucharist timed to coincide with St Faith's. Using the communion set donated to the Group by Fr Charles always evokes special and personal thoughts. Although we had discussed a number of quite deep issues the previous evening (including the lessons that we had all gathered from our recent visit to Conques), the service reminded us of the common links with family and friends over many, many years, and on this occasion the name of John F Taylor had been added to those engraved on the silver platen. Fr Charles spoke of the weekend as a pilgrimage, and drew many analogies with the visit to Conques and Walsingham. We sang and we spoke, we prayed and we worked. A remarkable 45 minutes in the middle of a remarkable weekend.

Coming home is always a mixture of sadness and joy, and this year was no exception. The sadness of leaving a beautiful setting in the Yorkshire Dales, and the joy of knowing that Kevinís foot would eventually be OK!

So from Denis, Mike, Geoff, Paul, Kevin, Rick & Fr Charles thanks to our families and to St Faith's for a chance to enjoy once again a thoroughly worthwhile retreat.

For the story of the communion set, follow this link

For other chapters in the ongoing saga of the Men's Group follow this link



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