Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Friday, 2 November 2012
An ordered life
Dom Bruce contemplates the garden of the priory he shares with three other monks. Just this side of 70, he is the the youngest. There are Zimmer-Frames lying about the living room and decanters of sherry and Port wine on the sideboard. The whole place has the feel of a care-home for the elderly, which - in a way - I suppose it is.
Except that the brothers see themselves as taking care of the needs of others, even though a young Polish man comes in every day to do the cleaning and sort out their toothbrushes into the correct order.
Born in the USA, Bruce seems to have turned his back on the benefits of being a member of a family which owns and controls a massive power-tool industry which sells it's products all around the globe, and he also seems to have passed up an opportunity to make a good living as an actor's double - he is the spitting image of Donald Sutherland, even down to his soft, North American accent.
Often - and especially in times of crisis - I find myself wistfully thinking that the proscribed life of an Anglican monk must be a very carefree one but, of course, things are never as simple as they might appear from the outside.
They still have their fights with each other, fights with the planning authorities, fights with the Diocese and fights with their own inner demons.
I hope that they will want me to make a fountain for them in their little garden, and hopefully soon in the New Year, before it is too late. His parting words to me on the doorstep were, "These things cannot be rushed" (he gestured behind him as he said this, indicating his elderly brothers from whom decisions must be extracted, and I could hear the frail voices of the brothers chanting in Latin in another room). "Art cannot be rushed. Artists like you cannot be rushed."
I left with his blessing and email address, still carrying the age-old curse of all stoneworkers - the gift of procrastination.