Saturday 23 August 2008


I need to try to learn square chant notation to help with singing parts of the Mass. By searching the Musica Sacra site, I discovered "An Idiot's Guide to Square Notes."

This is a start, because it tells me whether the neumes start up and go down or start down and go up, or start up, go down and go back up again, or start down, go up and... well, you get the picture!

I didn't really have a problem with that bit... I can follow modern notation to that extent, and the squiggles in square notation are fairly straightforward...

What actually has me chewing the table leg is trying to work out how much a note goes up and down... I know the do-re-mi-fa-sol-la-ti-do thingy, but can't quite work out the jump from, say, do to sol in my head without going through the whole lot...


I took Leutgeb's advice, and tried looking at a piece of music I knew well. I decided to try the Kyrie from the Missa de Angelis, figuring that I knew the tune quite well, and could follow the notation... Alas, I found that there were notes where I wasn't expecting notes, which suggests that I've been singing it all wrong for months...

I think I must be a musical dunce. At least it's a Low Mass tomorrow morning!

The Technology Rat-Race

Heheheheheheh. For a short while, I find that I am ahead of "Fr. Gadget" in the technology rat-race: His Hermeneuticalness is in possession of a mobile phone with a lower specification than mine. Not that I'm competitive or anything...

I suspect that this superiority will be short-lived: after checking out my Xda Orbit 2 after Benediction this morning, he muttered something about comparison websites for iPhones and alternatives... doubt whatever model he gets will have the tea-making attachment as standard!

Friday 22 August 2008

Safe At School...

One of SPUC's latest initiatives is the "Safe at School" campaign. I believe that this is more necessary than ever... one of the most recent education drives of the Government is the "Every Child Matters" agenda... of course, every child does matter, though with the emphasis on targets and A*-C grades obtained at GCSE, you'd never think so! However, one of the areas covered by the ECM agenda is that of "Health."

That sounds all fine and dandy. We want our children to be healthy. But this also includes things like sexual health... and children being given information without their parents or guardians being aware of it. Information such as how to masturbate, how to use a condom, how to get hold of the morning-after pill, and how to arrange a surgical abortion... all completely confidential... and with the emphasis on "not telling parents."

This advice is sometimes given by the school nurse: many people do not realise that, under the current child protection policies in our schools, while teachers have a legal responsibility to inform the child protection co-ordinator of any concerns they may have, (for example, if a child is engaging in sexual activity) the school nurse is able to offer complete confidentiality, and has no such obligation to pass on any information. The school nurse can even administer the morning-after pill to students.

Even more worrying is the provision of such advice under the cloak of "careers" advice. Parents might be vigilant when it comes to the curriculum for PSHE, but "careers" sounds pretty innocuous. However, Connexions, which provides careers advice in most schools in England & Wales, include questions on sexual health and behaviour in their careers questionnaires, and encourage students to go and visit their advisors to discuss sexual health, the morning-after pill and abortion.

The Government also appears to be pushing another agenda: to make homosexual lifestyles and relationships appear to be as "normal" and acceptable as heterosexual ones.

Faith schools are not immune. Because Ofsted measure compliance with the ECM policy as part of its inspection process, all schools in the maintained sector are forced to show how they are implementing the sex education requirements. And, even though they can prevent outside agencies coming in to the school, most Catholic schools find it easier to "go with the flow" - and some, indeed, don't see anything wrong with providing contraceptive advice to children...

This isn't just scare-mongering. I had to speak out about the sex education lessons given by the school nurse at one Catholic secondary school in which I worked. They were given information on contraception which was factually inaccurate and totally unsuitable for the age-group of the majority of the children, the teaching of the Church was mentioned in passing (and very dismissively) as "something you might want to consider," and cards explaining where the morning-after pill and abortions could be obtained were handed out. Having discussed this with many colleagues, I discovered that this was not an unusual state of affairs, even in a Catholic school.

I would advise every parent to obtain a copy of the Safe at School leaflet by emailing Liz Foody, and to follow its recommendations.

Thursday 21 August 2008


...about time I won something...

Anyhow, Jackie nominated me for the "Blogging Friends Forever" award.

The Blogging Friends Forever Rules are:

1. Only five people allowed.
2. Four have to be dedicated followers of your blog.
3. One has to be someone new, or recently new to your blog, or live in another part of the world.
4. You must link back to whoever gave you the 'Blogging Friends Forever' award.


Ok, not sure about the "dedicated followers" bit, but these four certainly check me out occasionally: Mark from Rise and Pray, His Beatitude the Owl of the Remove, the Hound of Heaven (I'm tempted to nominate Oliver Badcat, but that might be considered divisive!) and Leutgeb of Bara Brith. The "recently new" blog will be Roses and Jessamine.

Sat Nav...

My new, super-snazzy, can-do-anything-except-make-the-tea* mobile phone came with free sat-nav.

I had to go to Woldingham again on Tuesday (I'd been talked into helping out at the Southwark Diocese Altar Servers' Break ("Summertime") so, as I knew the route pretty well, I decided to try it out.

The sat-nav program is called "Co-pilot." I had a few problems setting it up, but that might be because I couldn't seem to get a fix on my starting location... something about the construction of my block of flats appears to interfere with the GPS signal. Maybe I'm just being blonde.

Anyway, once I was outside the flat, sitting in my car, the phone managed to locate me. I was directed to the A2, though it wasn't the route I usually take... and I discovered that I really have no idea of distance. I mean, what is 500 yards? "In 500 yards, turn left" proved to be a little difficult to interpret... luckily, I spotted that the road I had assumed to be 500 yards ahead was actually a cul-de-sac, so I guessed that it wasn't my proposed route!

Once I'd gotten over the distance issue (if I use this more regularly, I might actually learn what 500 yards is!!) it seemed to go swimmingly. I was directed to the A2, and then to the M25... and that was fine... I even got a warning to "bear left" when the M25 split off from the A21.

My faith in the program began to wane when, as I approached the roundabout on Junction 6, I was told to take the first exit. Now, I had had problems inputting my destination, because Woldingham School's postcode covers a wide area, and I couldn't pin it down (not having the exact address to hand), so it is possible that the sat-nav was directing me in a round-about way to the main centre of the postal code. All I knew was that the first exit at that roundabout is the A22 heading towards Eastbourne... and the route to Woldingham I usually take goes towards London... the third (or possibly fourth) exit.

I decided that I didn't actually have time to explore where the sat-nav was heading, and so ignored it. Amusingly, as I drove down the dual carriageway towards London, I was told to turn around... and then the sat-nav gave up, and re-calculated its route... However, as I turned in towards the school drive, I entered the Communications Bermuda Triangle, and the sat-nav died, as did my phone signal.

Because I couldn't enter my start location at Woldingham, I didn't bother switching on the sat-nav for my route home.

...I am curious as to where I'd have ended up if I had followed instructions though...

*To be honest, I suspect my phone could make the tea if I had the right attachment...

Wednesday 20 August 2008

Feeling Melancholy...

It's the anniversary of my father's death, and so, of your charity, can you spare a prayer for the repose of his soul.

Daniel Gerard McLernon
d. 20th August, 1982
52 years

Requiescat in pace

New CD...

I learned to pray the Rosary in Latin by praying it in my car to the accompaniment of Pope John Paul II's Rosary CD.

I am delighted to see that Pope Benedict has released a new version (presumably including the luminous mysteries as there are 4 CDs in the collection) so I will be able to recite the Rosary in Latin with a German accent, as well as in Latin with a Polish accent!!

Mantilla-twitch to Fr. Z.

UPDATE: I have been taken to task pretty swiftly, and I guess I really should have known better! If I manage to get the CD, I will be able to recite the Rosary in Latin with a Bavarian accent!

New Blog...

Ekurlowa is from Russia, but she blogs in English (using Latin for the words she's not sure of! *gulp*) and she plays the organ at Mass three times a week.

Her blog is called Levabo oculos meos ad caelum. Pop on over and say "hallo"...

Tuesday 19 August 2008

New Phones For Old...

About 17 months ago, I was gloating over my new PDA/mobile-phone thingy. I was very impressed that I could now keep my diary, my address book, my notebook, my MP3 player, and my camera all in one handy device which was easily synchronised with my home PC.

Well, ok, those of you with better memories might just remember my cri de coeur when I thought I'd lost absolutely everything after my computer threw a hissy fit...

But, to be fair, I've had a great deal of fun... especially with the camera.

Then Fr. Z came to England. With his new iPhone. I saw. I coveted. I contemplated relieving him of the burden of such a secular item... I even considered (briefly) the possibility of shelling out hard cash to buy one. Finally, I decided to wait until the new iPhone was released... an event which was due to coincide with the renewal of my contract and upgrade possibilities.

The main consideration here was cost. I didn't fancy having to pay for my phone. Having a phone contract is more than enough, thank you. I was also influenced by my students when they (occasionally) caught sight of me using it... "Miss, you know you're not allowed to use mobile phones in school !" "No, you aren't allowed to use mobiles in school. I am... and anyway, it's a PDA..." "Ooooh, it's really nice... can you get the internet on it too? Sweet... Hey, Charlene, Miss's got Facebook on her phone..."

Yes, the students were actually impressed. I suspected that they'd be even more impressed by an iPhone, but that was a side-issue.

My contract came up for renewal, and I popped along to various phone retailers to see what was on offer. I'd had a look on the internet, but there's nothing quite like getting your paws on a phone to see if you actually like the feel of it. I looked at the iPhone, but realised that there was no stylus, and it wasn't really geared up for note-taking and what-have-you... it's more of an entertainment device.

A very, very nice piece of kit. But not really me...

So I decided to check out the Xda Orbit 2 - the new version of the phone I already had. Strangely, for an upgrade, it's actually bigger (by a few millimeters - well, actually, longer. It's marginally less wide.) The screen resembles that of the iPhone, in that there's no "raised edge" which is handy, because it always collected gunk. The casing at the back feels sort of rubbery and velvety at the same time... it's very touchable. The loading time for programs is much faster, and there's a finger-touch action on the screen similar to the iPhone. But there's also a built in stylus.

The O2 shop wanted to make me pay nearly £200 for the phone as I was trying to reduce my monthly bill at the same time. I smiled sweetly, said I'd think about it, popped to the coffee shop round the corner and phoned O2 customer services while having a coffee. Asking for one's PAC code produces a most gratifying response: I was promised the phone for free as well as a £10 per month reduction in my bill...

Monday 18 August 2008

The Power Of Prayer...?

Ok. I've had toothache for a while. Thursday night, it got so bad that I went to the dentist on Friday. I was loathe to do so, because I realised that I'd probably need major root canal work done, and I wasn't sure that I could sing at the Missa Cantata for the Assumption with numb lips, tongue and gums... rather a vital consideration, as there were only three of us in the "schola" !

Anyway, it turned out that the dentist was unwilling to do anything until I'd taken some antibiotics. Then I could have the root canal work done, a crown added, and whatever else needed sorting. So I had a reprieve until Monday morning. But the pain was still bad enough to ensure that I kept the appointment...

After a bad night, this morning started off with Mass in the Extraordinary Form. I then asked if there was an Old Rite blessing available for poor suffering souls about to visit the dentist. I don't feel this was an unreasonable question to ask, because there is an Old Rite blessing of beer... and I think drinking beer is a far less risky occupation than visiting the dentist... but, apparently, there is no blessing of dental patients.

I had blogged about the appointment, and my fear, and several of you said that you'd pray for me. Thanks for that!

I went off, full of trepidation. The dentist explained what he was going to do. I've had a root canal or two done in the past, and he encouragingly told me that this was a much bigger tooth, and so it would be a much worse experience. The only reason I didn't run out of the surgery right then and there was that I was horizontal and he already had a needle in my gum...

He drilled quite a bit. Then hummed and hawed. He stopped, looking puzzled. Then he shoved more instruments in my mouth...

and finally he admitted that, surprisingly, the nerve didn't seem to be exposed. He'd cleaned out the rest of the tooth and put a temporary filling in, but that, if I survived the next two weeks without any pain, I wouldn't need a root canal filling after all!

The power of prayer, perhaps...?

Just For Karen...

... and also because I need to distract myself while awaiting my doom in the dentist's chair! Karen playfully asked me the following question...

"If you should pass from our presence, what picture of you shall we use for your saint's card, should you be so elevated, and of what do you want to be patroness?"

(I took the liberty of tidying up the grammar!)

My answer: The picture would have to be my blog profile picture: the back of my mantilla-draped head. As to patronage, I think I'd probably be invoked by hairdressers (especially before a permanent colour was applied), people who need to wake up on time (and have a tendency to oversleep) and cat-lovers!

I thought this was rather a good subject for a meme (and a blessedly short one at that!) so, I'll tag Karen (obviously), Fr. Tim (if he bothers to check the blogs before he goes off on holiday), Mark, Fr. Ray, Paulinus, Ttony and Leutgeb.

Put a note in the combox to say you're done, and tag 7 people. And anyone else who wants to play, feel free!

Sunday 17 August 2008

OK... Too Much Serious Stuff...

What with toothache, the Mahoneyfest and ICEL, I need cheering up! Luckily, Adrienne was on hand to find the funny cat posters!

Some of my favourites:




You can find more cat pictures via the link.

Say a prayer for me Monday morning. There's an early Mass at the parish (7:00 am - *whimper*) then time for a cup of tea before heading off to see the dentist (*double whimper*) This time there WILL be drilling... I guess I won't need any help meditating on the Four Last Things...
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