Wednesday, 13 October 2010


Years ago I spent a couple of days and nights at a camp site near Bristol, UK.  It is known as Goblin Combe.

I slept in a cabin on a bunk bed.  The cabin was windowless.  After dark there was not the slightest glimmer of light.  I hated it.  I was totally unnerved by the absence of light.

What's more, I was in a sleeping bag.  My feet were trapped at the lower end of the bag.  This was unbearable - I wanted my feet to be free.

Even now, whether at home, or in an hotel, or at the home of a friend, I need my feet to be free from sheets, blankets or quilts.   The first thing I do when staying overnight with friends, or sleeping in an hotel is to "un-tuck" the top sheet and blankets so that my feet will not be trapped.  Should I have to use a sleeping bag I unzip it and use it as a cover, knowing that I will be unable to sleep should my feet be constrained within the bag.

When I was a seminarian (1972-1976) I took a  field trip with my year group  down a coal mine in Derbyshire, U.K.  No one was more glad than I when we re-surfaced some three hours after our descent.

The whole thought of being trapped in total darkness and underground terrifies me. I could not bear it for more than a few hours.

So it is that I am in  awe of the miners who have been trapped in darkness,  more than a mile underground, and for 67 + days,  in Chile.  They have displayed a strength of purpose and character which amazes and astounds me.  I rejoice in their rescues.


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