Thursday, March 26, 2020

A piece of history will be slotted into place...

...this Sunday, when an initiative of King Richard II is renewed, at a particularly strange and difficult time in England....

Read here....

and join in...


Tuesday, March 24, 2020

In the classic WWII film....

...Mrs Miniver, which we watched again the other day, a child asks, as the "all clear" sounds following that first air-raid alarm: "Is the war over now?"
"No, dear" his mother answers "This is only the first day".

Sunday, March 22, 2020

SUNDAY in lockdown...

...begins with MASS, live-streamed from Walsingham.   Recommended. 9.30am daily.

Then prayers with next-door neighbours - all keeping the right distance from one another. A lovely Evangelical family. We each chose a psalm - mine was "The Lord is my shepherd".

This afternoon a walk  - meeting some friends but again keeping distance.  Hot coffee and delicious cakes from a German takeaway coffee-shop, eaten on a breezy corner - no eating inside allowed, and everything done at a distance, but very, very much enjoyed.

Bright spring sunshine, and daffodils everywhere.  Yesterday, on a walk along the river at Kingston with a friend, we dropped in to the ancient parish church, where people have worshipped for over a thousand years. It's where our Saxon kings were crowned...and where my father's Regimental colours hang in the regimental chapel. A plaque on the wall recalls the ceremony. I remember it v. well...

For future walks, all all cafes etc have to close, even takeaways, I'll use the excellent backpack picnic set given us by friends for our Silver Wedding some years ago - huge thanks to Alenka and John! - packed with a thermos of coffee and some sandwiches and buns...

Back home for our 6pm rendezvous with neighbours, all greeting one another out in the road. Mood so far is cheery, and everyone is being wonderful...and people boost each other, breaking the sense of isolation.   But, as I returned to the house, I thought of long weeks ahead with  a sense of  the weird unreality to everything.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

ONE IDEA....

....organised with a neighbour. We're putting a note through everyone's door suggesting that at 6pm every day, we go to the front of our homes and call out and wave to each other. At least that way we can keep in touch and in addition to greetings people can call out for  help etc...or even break into song, or call out jokes, if that would help!

We are small houses, all terraced, so at least there could be a neighbourly feeling, even if we can't go into one another's homes or hang around chatting properly.

These are neighbours to whom I give jars of home-made jam each summer, and with whom I've celebrated street parties for the Queen's jubilees, and who greet each other and linger to talk on summer evenings coming to and from the shops or the bus....perhaps in this enforced stay-at-home period, we can at least cheer and boost each other....


....and so into grim coronavirus-time...

...on Monday evening I gave a talk at Holy Ghost parish in Balham, about St John Paul. We all obeyed the rules and sat some distance apart. It is a church with which I have many links: I wrote the parish history at the start of this century, a project I very much enjoyed. The parish priest, Fr Richard Whinder, is a good friend, the church looks very beautiful at present, and the parish is thriving. It felt bittersweet to walk home at the end of a lovely evening, and to know that all such pleasant gatherings will shortly be banned.

And so it has come to pass: I spent today answering email after email announcing the cancellation of various talks, events, and conferences. A Women's Institute in Surrey, a St John Paul conference in Scotland, a lecture about St John Henry Newman...and all sorts of get-togethers connected with different projects. The Schools Bible Project will be affected: few schools will be thinking about such things at present but simply dealing with special arrangements for exams etc as closures are planned. The LOGS project for primary schools will also fade away...and with it our planned cheery afternoons of reading the entries and packing and posting the prizes. And of course the launch of my book on the history of St Mary's University has been postponed. We must hope things return to something approaching normality in the Autumn....but....

But the worst thing about this crisis is not being able to do anything useful. Cancelling everything wouldn't be so bad if we were all busy out scrubbing down bus shelters or collecting litter from the streets, or something. The really horrible thing is being told to go home and do nothing. Of course we have contacted elderly neighbours to ensure help with shopping etc...but we can't offer to sit with them or have a big neighbourly gathering to cheer us all up...it all horrible.


Monday, March 02, 2020

The bogus propaganda about so-called...

..."International women's day" is simply horrible. It was invented in the Soviet Union in the 1930s - to tell lies about Soviet life when women  and their children were being starved to death in Soviet-dominated Ukraine,  when labour camps were established for women to be in forced-labour in mines and factories - and today is being imposed on us here in Britain by unelected lobbyists using public funds. Read here...

Monday, February 24, 2020

A wonderful walk with children...

...across London Bridge, learning the story of St Olaf, and the Viking  battle, and finishing at The Monument with the story of the Great Fire...and the song...

Want to join in the fun of this sort of thing?

COME ON A CATHOLIC HISTORY WALK!!!

Lots of Walks planned for March.  Read here...


Thursday, February 20, 2020

Well, it was quite amusing, wasn't it?

There had been quite a lot of plotting....much  internet  chatter...preparation, one suspects, of joint letters of indignation with hints of  necessary schism...emails and phone calls and texts and worry... slightly gleeful anticipation of exciting times with stand-offs and so on.

And in the end the Pope affirmed orthodox Catholic teaching and the noises wafted away and became silent.  So it was all a bit disappointing, perhaps, for some. Some wistful hopes among Lefebvrists  who had half-believed in renewed zeal for schismatic opportunities? All gone.

Worth reading Pope Francis' Exhortation  Querida Amazonia And this commentary is useful.   But there will be plenty of people who are  unhappy,  both among those who think the Church can have priestesses, and those whose dislike of the Pope is so deep-rooted that it will be annoying to discover that they can't justify it with his latest action.

There's still the German bishops and their synodical aspirations to come, which won't be enjoyable.  They are being very tiresome,  and will achieve nothing useful.

Meanwhile the real tasks are to worship God (and give him thanks, as with Humanae Vitae), to evangelise, and to help the poor.