This morning I went to the woods to visit Brenda. Brenda has lived in the same cottage since her husband died in the 1970s.
Brenda had always wanted to be a farmer. Shortly after the end of World War II, she went to agricultural college. After working in the West Country, she landed a job working for a Sussex country estate. There she met her husband and they settled together as tenant farmers. It seemed Brenda's dreams had come true, but her husband worked with sheep and the organophosphates in the sheep dip provoked fatal leukemia.
The only access to her cottage is a half a mile crawl along a rough track through the woods. Brenda's home is one and a half miles from the nearest public road. There are no street lights, there is no mobile phone signal, no Internet. Brenda's nearest neighbour is a farmer who lives 3/4 mile away, along a muddy footpath.
Brenda was in good spirits when I met her - full of pluck, fiercely independent. She admitted that her faith had been rocked by the loss of her husband but she would always believe. After making some photographs, we briefly prayed together and I cautiously inched my car back through the forest.