Living in Place: An Appreciation of Pender Island

Just over 10 years ago, Jennifer and I moved to Pender Island from Vancouver.

It was a cold, windy November day. The power went off for a few hours. A neighbour came down the driveway while we waited for the moving truck to arrive. “Welcome to Pender Island,” he said. “You better get used to this weather!”… Continue reading

A Year on Bread Island

I’m hanging up my baker’s peel for a brief respite. Looking forward to some idle time to rest, reflect and rejuvenate.

It’s gratitude I feel when I think over the past year: gratitude for the friendships, kindnesses, support and laughter I’ve shared with members of the Happy Monk community. The customers, the partners, and generous with words of support and substantial assistance.… Continue reading

It’s 2021, and the Happy Monk is Back!

Greetings, friends!

I hope all is well and that you are thriving as best you can be in these strange times.… Continue reading

Sad Monk, Happy Monk

The abbey gate and precinct to Boxley Abbey, near Maidstone, Kent

 I am Richard and once was a monk of the Cistercian order at Boxley Abbey, north of Maidstone, Kent. It is now the Year of Our Lord 1389, and I am far from that life of poverty, contemplation, and silence that I lived for most of my years.

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Ode to Mildrith the Wood-Fired Oven

Mildrith the wood-fired oven of the Happy Monk Baking Company, Pender Island, British Columbia
“She’s my one, my only,” I think. But I must be dreaming.

When I step outside at 2 a.m., it’s cold and dark. I find my way to Mildrith’s shelter with the light of a headlamp. Sometimes a light breeze jostles the wind chimes. They sound like an eerie, monastic night-chant. Compline.

The fire in Mildrith, the wood-fired oven, has been burning 17 hours.… Continue reading