Out of the cave and onto Facebook - the life of a modern hermit
By Neil Hall and Angus Berwick
MARKET RASEN, England (Reuters) - Like any good hermit Rachel Denton rises early in the morning to tend to her vegetable garden, feed her chickens, and pray.
But the former British nun, who has pledged to live the rest of her life in solitude, has another routine that sets her apart from her society-shunning brethren - she has to update her Twitter account and check Facebook.
Unlike other hermits, such as a man discovered in 2013 living in a wood in the United States having spent 27 years without any human contact, Denton has embraced the Internet age.
"The myth you most often face as a hermit is that you should have a beard and live in a cave, none of which is me," she said, sat in her simple red-brick house near Market Rasen, a Lincolnshire village ringed by rolling green countryside.
The 52-year-old is not as profligate on Twitter as most of its users - "tweets are rare, but precious," she wrote on her profile - but for the modern-day hermit, she says social media is vital.
"Things like the Internet make hermitage possible in a very practical way these days," she said. "I can do all my shopping online and I can communicate with friends."
"So I am a hermit but I'm also human," she added, clad in a dark tabard with a large silver cross hanging from her neck.
Denton said she had sought out solitude ever since she was young, one of six children raised in a crowded Catholic family. What she valued most then was being able to play in her bedroom alone. Continued...