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Vatican events have been fascinating over the last few weeks. After the unprecedented resignation of a Pope in the modern era, the emergence of a South American Pope with an European heritage seems an astute way forward for the Catholic Church. What struck me most, however, is how Pope Francis 1st seems so very different from his predecessors in terms of personality and style. Making a joke in his first public appearances and travelling back by coach with his colleagues rather than by limousine, informal style and walkabouts mark him out as a very different Pontiff.

Comic Relief time again and it had a different feel this year. The very simple message about the power of vaccinations to save millions of lives and the number of preventable deaths that we can help achieve for a very small contribution cannot be underestimated. This has a particularly personal resonance for me this year as my youngest daughter is due to go on an expedition to Malawi via the Minster School this summer and my daughter and I have already spent a huge amount of time in Southwell Medical Centre sorting out her vaccinations. The nurses there have been fantastic in sorting out all the background information on all the jabs needed so huge credit and thanks to nursing team especially to Alexa and Ruth.

And finally, victory in sport is sweet. The Wales vs. England match yesterday was an epic example with the best rugby I remember since the seventies. I admit a bias here especially as one member of the current Welsh squad, Ken Owens, is my first cousins’ son. On this occasion, however, even empassioned English rugby fan friends of mine have admitted the superiority and flair of the Welsh squad and the below standard play of the English especially the number of collapsed scrums and penalties they gave away. The passion of the singing from the beginning of the match made my hair stand on end. For those of you not familiar with the words of “Hen wlad fy nhadau” (Land of my fathers) it is a very emotional anthem about passion for your homeland and fellow countrymen and I am one of the few people who can claim that their name (Awen) is a word in their national anthem as it means “poetic muse or inspiration” hence my choice of title of Southwell Muse for this column. Coming from West Wales, rugby is ingrained in my soul and this game will remain a long time in my memory.

Very best wishes to you all as we march on into April

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