Address 1: Bread as Story
As some of you may already know from the age of 7 to about 14, I lived in Skelsmergh, it’s a small community made up of a few scattered houses and one village just outside Kendal on the edge of the Lake District.
Looking back it was a great privilege to spend some of my formative years in that place, though of course you don’t realise it at the time.
One family had a particular place of esteem in the church and wider community. I spent a good deal of time with during these years. They were farmers and so as a young boy I would spend days and afternoons with them up at Burton House.
What more could a young boy ask than the chance to learn to drive tractors or play in barns and be well fed?
For food was always plentiful and one of the highlights was Sunday tea. To a boy like me mountains of fly pie, other cakes and especially bread and jam was a glimpse of heaven.
Perhaps heaven might be afternoon tea and the most amazing thing was because they had it early about 4, I could get another tea when I got home. Is it any wonder I am the shape I am? Simply white bread, thick with butter with jam on top, simplicity itself but close to heaven.
For most of us bread, such a staple of our diet, the staff of life as it’s sometimes called is in some way linked to our stories. It’s interesting that the food writer and chef Nigel Slater’s auto-biography is entitled ‘Toast’ for him, as for me, as for many of us memories are formed around this simple food, yeast, water, salt and flour.
So what of your memories, do you have similar memories to me? And what about now, is bread or toast or a teacake the thing you turn to when you need a bit of comfort.
Indeed perhaps the best comfort food might be bread pudding or bread and butter pudding, the best of both worlds but that’s another story.
For now think about how bread is woven into your story, how the smell of toast or a teacake or of freshly baked bread takes you to another time and place. Continue reading “Addresses from St Mary’s Quiet Day at Ripon Cathedral”