Saturday 14 November 2009

The Suppository's At It Again...

This time, the "Catholic" paper is having a pop at Anglicanorum Coetibus.

Fr. Z has done a great fisk of their latest editorial. I was particularly amused by his reference to The Suppository as "England’s ultra-dissenter fishwrap" and "a sort of bitter morning after pill".

The description of the effects of RCIA programmes run in some liberal parishes also had me chuckling...

"...I have heard from some who have gone through it in Tablet style parishes, they are never quite the same again. They don’t at all feel the same. Many, in fact, feel like they need delousing."

Damian Thompson has also written a good article about The Suppository's attitude.

I said before that I didn't quite understand why there was any need for the Apostolic Constitution. However, the Holy Father has written it, and has thereby made generous provision for any Anglicans who wish to be received into the Church. As far as I am concerned, that means that it's a good thing. Peter has spoken.


Listening to the wind howling outside while I sip my mug of hot chocolate reminded me of a snippet of a poem I once read. I could only recall little snatches of it, so I didn't think Google would be much help, but, as it so happened, I struck gold...

By Thomas Hood, the whole poem can be found HERE, but it's the last verse which really does it for me...

No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
No comfortable feel in any member--
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds,

The Arrival Of Winter...

The weather, for some strange reason, is considered to be a very British conversation piece. I hate to encourage such stereotyping, but sometimes one just has to bow to the inevitable...

The first major storms of winter appear to have hit Britain this weekend. They are slightly later than usual - in 1987 we had "the Great Storm" in the middle of October, which took everyone by surprise (most famously the weather forecaster, Michael Fish*... poor chap!) and ever since then, we seem to have storm warnings and severe weather warnings each October.

Today, I wanted to go along to the LMS Annual Requiem Mass at Westminster Cathedral. I was really looking forward to it, and had originally planned to drive down to Westminster and leave my car in Petty France near the Buckingham Arms. Then I heard that the Lord Mayor's Show was on.

Plan B was also quite enticing: take a cab to North Greenwich, and then the Jubilee Line up to Westminster... almost as easy as Plan A, with the added advantage of being able to indulge in a glass or two of something bracing to keep out the damp.

This morning, as I got ready for the usual Saturday morning devotions at Blackfen, Plan B began to look distinctly unappealing: the wind was howling and the rain was really lashing down. There was a brief point at which I thought the weather might clear up, but it didn't last long.

Happily, the UCM had arranged their annual Winter Warmer event. I popped in to the hall to buy some cakes (I was still intending to go to Westminster at this point) but, as I was returning to the car, the heavens really opened. I beat a hasty retreat back inside the hall, put the cakes somewhere safe, and settled down to a delicious lunch.

Maria was on the cake stall: I had already snaffled the Dundee cake and a rather nice-looking lemon sponge, but there were still plenty of others for sale.

The ladies of the UCM were serving homemade leek and potato soup: I understand that it was really scrumptious, but, having a severe aversion to greenery in my diet, I refrained from trying any, and stuck to the sandwiches and mince pies. This was definitely another wonderful parish event.

*In case any of you are puzzled by my reference to Michael Fish, this is what I'm on about...

Friday 13 November 2009

More Photos From The Confirmations...

The parents of one of the candidates sent me these photos for publication on my blog if I so wished, and it was such a wonderful occasion that I'm happy to oblige...

Wednesday 11 November 2009

Marzipan, Jelly Babies & Chemistry...

I arrived home this evening to find an email from my German friend - last year she sent me marzipan and sausages in return for traditional English sweets. This year she has been tormenting her students with descriptions of jelly babies... rather sickly sweets, made of sugar, gelatine and food colouring, dusted in icing sugar and shaped (vaguely) like little babies. I used to take great delight, as a child, in biting the heads off... Bassett's make the definitive jelly baby, though they went all PC in changing over to all natural colours and flavours a couple of years ago.

In her email, my friend offered to send me more marzipan in return for some jelly babies for her class. This seems like a very good idea: I am extremely fond of (proper) marzipan.

The request reminded me of an experiment to demonstrate respiration (Please note, respiration is NOT the same as breathing... breathing is gas exchange; respiration is getting energy from food (fuel) with the help of oxygen (aerobic respiration) or in the absence of oxygen (anaerobic respiration) - here endeth the lesson!)

Anyway, the experiment is known as the "screaming jelly baby experiment" where the glucose in the baby is oxidised pretty vigorously... this is one of the best You Tube videos, although you can't really hear the jelly baby scream - that aspect is a little bit hit-and-miss. I must try and video it myself some time!

This sort of thing may explain why people think Science teachers are weird...

I suspect marzipan would work just as well as jelly babies, but I am loathe to waste any trying it out...

We Will Remember Them...

For The Fallen

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years contemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England's foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

Laurence Binyon (1869-1943)

Monday 9 November 2009


I've decided to start a Monday slot for silly cat-and-caption pictures, courtesy of the I Can Has Cheezburger? site (and therefore will try to restrict my silly cat photos to once a week!)

Here is today's...

A Late Addition...

I meant to include this in yesterday's post on Remembrance Sunday, but I'd forgotten to ask permission to put the photo up, and didn't want to hold back on the video until David got back to me...

Anyway, I was impressed to see this collection of medals worn by Cllr David Hurley - the side the medals are worn demonstrates whether they are one's own or were awarded to one's father (or perhaps even grandfather) - but I can't remember which side, or how far back one is allowed to go, or even if one has to have been in service oneself before being allowed to wear them...

David was just off to a Remembrance Service after Mass, hence wearing the medals.

Sunday 8 November 2009

Remembrance Sunday At Blackfen...

Today was pretty awesome. We started off with a Requiem Mass with Absolutions at the Catafalque for Remembrance Sunday, and then had a service for the blessing of graves at Sidcup Cemetery.

I took lots of photos, and when it came to choosing a few for the blog, I just found that I had too many I wanted to include, and so I made a slideshow and set it to Lacrimosa from Mozart's Requiem.

The visit to the cemetery carried with it a Plenary Indulgence, applicable to the Holy Souls. I can't understand why some parishes fail to make a big thing of this work of mercy.

After Mass, but before the visit to the cemetery, a few of us popped in to the Parish Club. Jonathan, the MC, was keen to point out that the extra Missal he had brought for use during the Absolutions today had originally come from Balham...

And here is the slideshow "video"...

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