I’ve applied to do a 3 day retreat at the Christ in the Desert Monastery in New Mexico. It combines three of my favorite things – chanting Benedictine monks, beautiful architecture by George Nakashima and the ruddy landscape around Abiquiu New Mexico. Visitors get a small room in the guest lodge and the chance to follow the monks daily schedule – up at 4am for a choral start to the day and nightly silence from 7.30pm onwards. I’ve been on tenterhooks waiting for over a week to hear if I got accepted. Then on friday I got a short email back. It read: ‘Your reservation is confirmed… No shorts please. Brother Andre’.