Monday, July 25, 2011

Sitting in St James' Park...

...between meetings, reading moral theology, revising for exams. Groups of tourists surging past, hot sun beating down on the grass, making me glad I had found a cool place under the shade of a great plane tree...

At one level, everything in London SWI on a summer afternoon is more or less as I have always known it - crowds, ice-creams, Londoners looking busy, traffic roaring, the occasional siren squealing, flag flapping gently above Buckingham Palace. But at another level, it isn't. The police now wear heavy-duty padded bullet-proof jerkins and many carry weapons.People are fatter. Few people are dressed formally or smartly, and a number of women are poured into tight-fitting lycra clothing with flesh bulging out at waist and top. Others, of course, are hidden beneath burkhas - a news item in today's press notes that as France has banned this form of clothing, numbers of well-to-do Middle-Easteners have moved to London for shopping and social activities instead. The most elegant women are Indian ladies in saris. Sights once routine in London - men in bowler hats, for example - are now unknown.

You hear a lot more casual swearing and obscenity. There is a lot more litter - though less in a London park than in suburban streets which are often adrift with rubbish. Lots of people eat while walking around. Fewer people read newspapers: it's rare to see some one seated on a bench reading one. Many walk with i-phones plugged in to their ears. Many have a mobile phone clamped to an ear. Conversations are all routinely interspersed with the word "like", as in "So, I'm, like, at the bus stop, and I'm, like, hey, where's the bus, and he's like, hey, like, the bus is on its way..." and in anyone under about 30, all sentences go up at the end, as if every statement is, like,a question?

4 comments:

Howard said...

.....on the feast of St James

Sheila A. Waters said...

Dear Auntie Joanna,
It was fascinating to see London through your reporter's eyes, and I look forward to your descriptions of World Youth Day in Madrid.
Rude behavior, tinged with what Pope Benedict XVI has described as "moral relativism," has shocked my suburban NY parish. While a priest was delivering his Sunday homily against the Catholic legislators who voted in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage, a female parishioner (early 40s,educated,married with children with her)staged a liberal rant directed at the priest rising up from her pew! She railed against the Catholic Church for continuing to teach that marriage is between one man & one woman, even though same-sex marriage is now legal in NY. The majority of parishioners supported the priest with a standing ovation, as she was ushered out. After Mass, there was much talk about all the Catholics under age 50 who do not know their faith and cannot defend their faith. They grew up at a time when only good works were emphasized in religious education, and we are paying a price for that now. There is a definite generational divide as Catholics continue to argue amongst themselves about same-sex marriage; abortion; euthanasia; the ordination of women; public school agendas ("Sally has 2 mommies"); and the Vatican recall of their envoy to Ireland.
Sheila A. Waters
Bronxville, NY

Malani Baker said...

Aloha! I've never been to London or Great Britain. I find your perspective quite interesting on the changes in Londoners. It's similar here - in the USA. I've enjoyed your book "Feast and Seasons" Do you have any other more recent books that have been published? I purchased the book from EWTN after viewing your show. Have you written a similar book about varies countries in Europe? Mahalo!

Joanna Bogle said...

Thank you for your interest in my books. You can find a list of them on my Wikipedia entry, and thewre is also information on the Gracewing Publishing website.