Not the best of sailors on the calmest sea, I thought I would die on the choppy waters of the Solent, particularly when the warning announcement instructed passengers to remain seated for the duration of the voyage due to rough weather. The 30 minute crossing seemed like an eternity.

It took me a day or so to adjust to the quiet life of the convent. I still had the urge to explore the Island and hopped a bus up to Osborne House, the palace with beautiful grounds where  queen Victoria lived happily with her family, mourned Albert, and died in 1901. However, I’ve since calmed down and try to attend daily mass and most of the

St. Cecilia's Abbey

offices. All of the services are sung here to Gregorian chant, and the nuns sing very well.  I’ve been allowed to use a tiny upright piano for one hour a day, but I’ve found that can expand to an hour and a half or two hours. Seems that rules here are rarely broken, but often bent. So, I hear the office (if  I feel like it) I walk on the beach (if I want to) I compose (if I feel led to) I walk in to town to use the internet (if necessary). I enjoy so much freedom I can’t help feel badly for those women inside the cloister whose every moment is regimented. Here am I, free to follow my feet wherever they wander, and they are confined quite literally behind bars. Their life is simple, and singing chant for hours a day is attractive, but I do not envy them.

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6 Responses to Ticket to Ryde

  1. Abner says:

    Did the choppy crossing of the Solent bring back memories of crossing the North Sea when you were ten?

  2. Kevin says:

    As a matter of fact I did think of our
    memorable North Sea crossing, but I was 14. Oh , sorry; I thought this blog was about me. Hi Steph. I’m following your marvelous adventures but I have to warn you. Stop messing with the nuns!

  3. Judith Kidd says:

    Hi Steph, Bruce alerted me about your wonderful blog – I’ve just spent a wonderful hour reading through your adventures. I’m wondering if you are at the same convent that Maylanne was at? Thanks so much for sharing all this….
    j

    • My convent is St. Cecilia’s Abbey in Ryde, Isle of Wight. It’s Roman Catholic, and it’s Latin all the time – all teh offices sung to Gregorian chant by the nuns who sing beautifully in this fine acoustic. This is a great place to experience the rhythm of a monastic day. So quiet – I’ve been doing a lot of composing!

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