Tuesday, July 31, 2007


...was busy. Tackled letters, emails, etc. Blackberrying in warm sunshine, friend's tiny girls eagerly taking part, only occasional squeaks because of stinging nettles (why are they always growing near the best fruit? Is there a scientific explanation, or is it just the perversity of things, Original Sin, consequence of the Fall etc etc?). Back for mugs of tea and delicious warm cake, which had been baking as we worked. Cycled home to desk: work/letters/arrangements re possible speaking engagements while in America/admin. re ecumenical Schools Bible Project/plans for next book/ research for Autumn TV work. Made jam. If you want the recipe, you must get my "Book of Feasts and Seasons", info here.

Monday, July 30, 2007

The blackberries are ripe!

...gloriously ripe! After all this rain, today's sunshine has just burst upon them so they are just rejoicing in their juiciness...time to pick them and make jam, to fill shelves, to eat on buttered toast, to serve on pancakes, and to enjoy like anything all winter. Phoned Margaret E, local friend with delightful bunch of children. Small daughter has been pleading to go blackberrying. Spent evening washing jam jars. We always need quantities of home-made jam to sell at the Towards Advent Festival at Westminster Cathedral Hall. (Sat Nov 3rd. Got the date? Put it in your diaries now). I spent part of today folding leaflets reading for mailing out to parishes

This week

The FAITH Movement, to which I owe a great deal, has its annual Summer Session this week. I hope to be able to look in at some stage, though only as a visitor. I attended Summer Sessions back in the 1970s - the whole thing has grown hugely since then - and remember the excellent talks, the long enjoyable afternoons spent with friends, evening prayer in the chapel (my first introduction to the Daily Office) and singing the "Salve Regina"...

A feature of the week was always a concert, with some really good things, including glorious music from Nicholas Walker, who went on become a concert pianist, and even then was winning all sorts of distinguished musical prizes. His playing was always a highlight, something to which we all looked forward, and it's only now I realise how extremely priviledged we were to be enjoying it as a part of our week.

There were also always some brilliant comedy sketches - one of the best was a spoof on TV's Blue Peter, showing how to make a clerical collar out of a plastic washing-up liquid bottle...and there was usually a grand finale involving a scratch orchestra, in which people who could really play various instruments were joined by people whistling through combs or beating out percussion on various household implements - there were practices during the week and the final rendition of "Old Macdonald had a farm" or similar was always tremendous...

But the thing I most gained from the Faith formation has lasted and lasted: a deep understanding that the Church's teachings are intellectually coherent, that there was nothing that couldn't be discussed, taught, explained, studied, with endless possibilities for learning more, nothing off-limits. Father Roger Nesbitt told us that a Christian should love God with his whole heart, soul, and mind, and without diminishing the other two, the Faith movement sought to show how important it was to love God with our minds. And that being a Catholic wasn't an add-on to life, something that only occasionally mattered, a sort of sentimental trimming: rather, it held the key to explaining why things existed, why we were here, what was the point of life, and of other people's lives.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

St Petersburg

You simply must link to this fascinating blog from St Petersberg, from a young relative who is there on an academic conference.

And here I am on my bike!!

This morning people at the local parish of St Joseph's were extremely generous in responding to Father Peter's call for sponsors for my cycle ride to Brighton - all funds go to help local young people take part in World Youth Day in Sydney, Australia, next year. We have over 30 going from the local deanery.

Masses in this parish are well-attended. I usually go to the 11.30, and it was illuminating to go to the 9.30 as well - packed with young families, and with a violinist among the musicians.

I collected good sums of money as I stood outside after Mass in pleasant sunshine. Also had some good chats about cycling - we have quite a number of enthusasists in the parish, and one chap told me about having cycled to Scotland...which makes my trip to Brighton look rather small fry.

"Pastor Iuventus", the columnist in the Catholic Herald, mentions my sponsored ride in this week's edition.

I'm still welcoming donations, and am hugely grateful to all readers of this Blog who have supported me. World Youth Day is something of real value: the 2008 event will take place exactly 90 years after the end of the First World War when an earlier generation of young people was slaughtered at the start of a century which was to see further suffering: to have an event bringing another generation together to pray together seems symbolic, hopeful, and good.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Here I am with Mac!

...and she's been showing me all sorts of wonderful things to do with a Blog. Which is why I've changed mine to green, which was my favourite colour when I was a child.

We've also had coffee and cake, and I've saved more cake for later. The cake is coffee and walnut!!

Mac came to take some pictures of me on my bicycle, ready for the Great Ride. The pix will appear shortly, but meanwhile here is a picture of a bicycle:

...which I did all on my own (OK, OK Mac...almost on my own).

Now can we have some more coffee and cake?

Friday, July 27, 2007


Tomorrow Mac (Mulier Fortis) will be coming over to take some pictures of me on my bike, preparing for my Sponsored Cycle Ride - and we'll post them on this blog and elsewhere...this will be extremely satisfactory to Fr Tim (Hermeneutic ConTimuity) and others who have been in despair because my Blog is so technically under-developed ("But, Joanna, it's all so easy..."look, there's no need to be afraid of it..."etc...etc...etc...). I have promised her supper and we'll talk and munch chocolates...Jamie is away (sailing in the English Channel - don't know if the poor chap is getting our weather or France's...)

While the Bogles have been holidaying, the dear Holy Father has been, too - on various websites there are some sweet pictures of him on country walks and meeting children who run up to give him bunches of flowers and get hugged and blessed...and he gave a a v. interesting talk to local clergy when he met them at gathering at a local church...What he says about Vatican 11 is really illuminating and inspiring.

Spent most of the day on the computer, features for various publications for Sept and Oct. You can read me in the current Crisis magazine, and also in the Catholic Times and I've got a feature about the Pope in New Directions magazine which is run by an Anglican team linked to Forward in Faith.

Cycled out to arrange printing of 5,000 handbills for this November's Towards Advent Festival at Westminster Cathedral. It's on Nov 3rd - mark the date now. Speakers include convert from Islam Aghi Clovis, also Fr Richard Whinder talking about the life of Bishop Richard Challoner, and author Christopher Martin with an illustrated talk on "Our Heritage of English Catholic Churches". There's music from the choir of More House School, and tours of some of the Cathedral treasures, not normally on display to the public...

Thursday, July 26, 2007


Apart from some forays out into the rain for shopping, the bank, and the library, I have spent the past couple of days at home catching up on work... and coping with minor domestic irritations such as the drain being blocked (excellent local plumber, who rather endearingly is called Mr Plumb, came today and sorted the matter out...

Catching up with mail...useful material from a group, Familes First with, alas, news of further Govt intimidation of ordinary families. The group is urging people to respond to the Review of a section of the 2004 Children Act - take a look at the link. New leaflet, too, for young people from Family and Youth Concern on saving sex for marriage - you can order copies from the Family Education Trust 020 8 894 2525...

My new "Yearbook of Feasts and Seasons" will be published in October - much emailing back and forth with publisher, Gracewing, to plan the celebratory party. It will be at St Etheldreda's, Ely Place, where the first edition of the book was launched 21 years ago...

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Wed July 25th St James Day

During our holiday, we spent time with family, and small niece E. and I enjoyed writing a detective story together, set at a village flower show. We also took part in the village Fair, where E. triumphed in the under-9s running race and was presented with a medal - moment of glory. It was a proper Fair, with Morris dancers with sticks and bells, and little girls from the village school doing country dancing (We were all invited to join in the final dance, and I kicked off my shoes and did so with glee), and candy floss, and displays of thatching, and lots of home-made jams and cakes on sale, and "guess the weight of the pig".

Our village was fortunate. Many other country events were cancelled because of the weather, including the big Dunster fair - diagonal stickers saying CANCELLED stuck over the posters along the lanes. The ground was just too soggy and waterlogged for horses and dogs and tents and crowds and crowds of people.

The rains had made the countryside look glorious. It was great to be out of London. Mass in the local town: a crowded church with the first of the season's holidaymakers. Talkative family meals. A glorious concert, part of the big Minehead and Exmoor Music Festival - Mozart and Richard Strauss in a lovely Medieval church (brother-in-law among the musicians).
Wednesday July 25th St James' Day

A good holiday break...though the rain, which was no worry to us with family visits and all sorts of activities to enjoy, was busily ruining the homes of people in other parts of England...

Home yesterday. It's still raining. Elsewhere, Europe is enduring a heatwave that is claiming lives in Greece and Italy. What a weird summer.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Sat July 14th


I won't be blogging for a few days: we are off to a family gathering at the seaside, four generations, spread over three seaside houses...picnics...swimming...

We start by meeting up for a wedding this afternoon, for which my hat and beribboned parcels are waiting as I write. I'll look a bit odd in my best hat and black eye, but there you are...
Friday 13th July 07


An excellent party on the rooftop over looking Westminster Cathedral! There are a series of roof gardens there, none of which I have ever known existed. We were on the one on top of Clergy House, which you enter from Francis Street, but in a most satisfactory way this whole glorious solid red-brick edifice - Clergy House, Archbishop's House, Cathedral, Hall, Choir School - all interconnect with lots of roof-levels and, inside, interesting curving staircases and large important-looking corridors with portraits of Cardinals.

The party was given by the team that runs Oremus, the Cathedral's monthly magazine, for which I now plan to write...I had wonderful talks with Mgr Mark Langham, the Cathedral Administrator, and with Dominican Father Tim Gardiner (who when not working as chaplain at a hospital, and a big inner-city school, and more, writes rather good cookery columns for the Catholic press), and with Fr Peter Newby of St Mary Moorfields who is of course chaplain to The Keys, the Catholic Writers' Guild...and when I left there were still people sitting in the agreeably warm night and talking and London lay beneath us with the maze of streets around Westminster and the Big Wheel over towards the river and the humpy odd domes and unknown extra roof levels of the Cathedral.

I had left my bike padlocked to the Cathedral itself (those iron loop-things by the main doors - are they specifically designed for bikes? v. useful anyway) and cycled off warily to Waterloo. I say "warily" because earlier in the day I had a nasty bash - fell off the bike just as I was leaving the house, here in New Malden, and had to be mopped up by kind people who run the (I'm not inventing this!) tattoo parlour just round the corner...I was OK and hurried off to the committee meeting of the Assn of Catholic Women where everyone was v. nice, rushed off to a chemist to get soothing witch-hazel (worked well - much recommended).

My right eye feels a bit uncomfortable and will probably blacken. Standard greeting at the party was to ask who had biffed me...

Friday, July 13, 2007

St Charles Borromeo....

...is the name of a church in Ogle Street,London W1, not far from the BBC at Portland Place. I went there to talk to Soul Food, a very good group which meets there every Thursday. It's a big group - they often get 80-90 people, young, and interested in the Catholic Faith. The church is unusually beautiful, and is tucked away in a corner of this quiet street - hard to find and horribly easy to lose. I arrived in time for evening Mass, and then there was gap while people set things up for the Soul Food gathering, so I went away to get a snack...and only with difficulty found the church again, running down the street with lots of urgent prayers ascending, and slipped inside just as a cheerful young man was saying "And now I welcome our speaker, Joanna Bogle", and looking around for me to appear!

Topic was "celebrating feasts and seasons of the Church's calendar", part of a series on "Catholic Answers". There was a delightful warm and friendly spirit. In the front row sat a beaming young couple, holding hands....later we chatted and it turned out that they had heard me talk some years earlier at an evening for engaged couples... and have now been married for some while and are expecting their second child...so we had a very cheery chat, and it was all great fun and hugely enjoyable.

Earlier, I was at Premier Radio to record a series of early-morning talks. They'll be broadcast at about 6.28 am or some such time, so if you want to listen in, you'll have to be an early riser...


To the kind correspondent who asks if I accept American cheques for my Sponsored Cycle Ride....yes, I certainly do. Make the cheque out to me, Joanna Bogle, and I can bank it and send on the money to the fund-raisers here. For English cheques, make out cheques directly to St Pius X Church. Cheques should be sent to: Mrs J. Bogle, c/o 34 Barnard Gardens, New Malden, Surrey KT3 6QG England. All funds raised are going to fund young people to attend World Youth Day 2008. I am so grateful to all the people who are sponsoring me. It's 50 miles, so 20p a mile could bring in £10.... I'll keep you posted on progress. Took my bike in for an overhaul today. The cycle ride is Aug 5th/6th/7th. I arrive at St Joseph's Church, Brighton, at 12 noon on Aug 7th - come and join the locals who will be greeting me!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Wed July 11th 07


To Tyburn convent for a celebratory opening and blessing of the new "Disabled Access" - I crossed Hyde Park to see much happening in the Bayswater Road: the scaffolding and wrapping that has swamped the front of the Convent for months now had been removed, and a great crowd was gathering on the pavement. In due course Bishop George Stack, in golden mitre and cope, plus other clergy, processed along, and with plenty of holy water and some prayers, he blessed the new great ramp - or rather, series of ramps - that gives access to the chapel, and then some sort of ribbon was cut by the Government Minister for the Disabled (I couldn't quite see that part, big crowds) and then we all trooped in, led by a lady in a wheelchair and Father Benedict Groeschel with a stick, and the new ramps worked beautifully.

In a packed chapel, there was a glorious Benediction, much hearty singing of the Tantum Ergo, and things finished with a speech by the Rev Mother and a wonderful rendition of "Climb Ever'y Mountain" by guest Lesley Garrett who is v. famous and one hears all the time on Classic FM.. It was all simply terrific, and then there was a lovely tea!

Readers of this blog may recall - as I do - when a new law first decreed that unless there was Access for Disabled People, the convent would have to close its crypt chapel as it would be illegal. There was consternation, because the crypt, with its collection of relics of our Tyrburn Martyrs, is unique. The cost of a massive new lift, ramps etc was prohibitive and the thing seemed impossible. But not with nuns. They prayed. The money came in. And today we heard an even odder twist to the saga: many years ago, before World War 11, officialdom announced that all the houses on that stretch of Bayswater Road must be moved 25 yards back, as the road was to be widened. Well, you can't move a house - it's daft. What to do? The War sorted that out by bombing the convent, and when it was rebuilt they obeyed the regulations and built it 25 yards back. Then, behold, in the 21st century along comes a new regulation - Disabled Access, ramps, lifts....and the 25-yard gap proved just exactly right for this, so the space has been used to comply with this new law!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Tuesday July 10th


I am still badly in need of more sponsors for my Cycle ride: I'm raising money to help young people get to World Youth Day 2008, and I'm cycling from St Joseph's in New Malden, to St Joseph's Church in Brighton....it's 50 miles, so why not sponsor me at 20p a mile and send me £10? Just send a COMMENT to this Blog, WITH AN EMAIL ADDRESS TO WHICH I CAN RESPOND and I will add you to the sponsorship list.

The ride will start on Sunday Aug 5th. On Monday Aug 6th I'll arrive at the Shrine at West Grinstead in Sussex where people from New Malden will have gathered to greet me (combining it with the a Parish Summer Picnic!)and the following day I cycle on to Brighton, arriving at St Joseph's there at 12 noon.

The ride is partly also to celebrate cycling, and show people that it's a great way to enjoy the countryside, without clogging up the roads with cars!

The local young people who are planning to go to World Youth Day are a nice bunch. You hear all about young people who don't know what they are doing with their lives, have no values etc - well, let's support those who have found a better way.
Tuesday July 10th 07


Good headlines this morning as Iain Duncan Smith's excellent report on the urgent need to restore the status of marriage is widely highlighted. Phone call from the Jeremy Vine Show, BBC Radio 2 - can I get in to the studio in time for a 12 noon discussion? I hurry up to BBC, Great Portland St. They have found a person to oppose me, a former member of the Scottish Parliament whose solution to the breakdown of family life and community cohesion is to "raise more taxes and fund youth workers...marriage is only a bit of paper and what about people who don't want to get married...." etc...etc...all the old tripe we've had for the past decade and more. I enjoy demolishing this. It's now time to rediscover reality: human beings are designed to raise children in a male/female lifebond bond and this is the basis of a society and community. Children do not belong to Government-sponsored youth workers. They have a right to belong to families. Marriage today has been robbed of its status, and casual reltionships are fostered at the expense of justice, and of human values. At present, not only has marriage little if any practical status in law, but divorce practices are grossly unjust, especially towards men: a woman can take her children away from their dad, and make them live with her new boyfriend. It's time for a re-think: give back marriage its due place, allow children to belong to families, each with a common name and sense of identity and loyalty. This is the only human and just way forward from the social chaos and high crime rate of modern Britain.

In fifty years' time people will look back with horror on the social engineering and cruelty imposed on two generations, resulting in so many children growing up without a stable family to love and support them. Trapped in a gang culture which is the only immediately available alternative, young people's involvement in vicious crimes is hardly unpredictable. Restoring marriage to its rightful place - legally, and in the tax system, and in the message children recieve in school, and in the pronouncments of official organisations, and in policies adopted by official bodies, is a workable and practical plan and this is the way to go.

Readers of this blog could help a bit by writing to David Cameron at the House of Commons to tell him this...

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Sunday July 8th

Mass at Brompton Oratory, where we were meeting Australian colleagues who, like Jamie, had been meeting this week at a conference sponsored by the Linacre Centre. Enthusastic sermon at the Oratory greeting the Holy Father's Motu Proprio allowing full use of the Tridentine Rite Mass. Of course it's a V. Good Thing, long overdue, will heal rifts, improve liturgy all round etc etc. Presumably every Catholic blogger will be writing about it so I won't for a while, except to note from my experience as a Catholic journalist that this good and paternal decision from the H. Father won't suit some of the Lefebrists and others who've strayed: some, who already cross over to indult Masses anyway, will come back but others will hang on crossly out there.

Over lunch, it was as good as a tutorial listening to a philosopher, a lawyer and a political thinker discussing bioethics. The Church and the Catholic perspective make such discussions sparkle and fizz - all were still talking as it neared 6pm and the Australian contingent had to start heading for the airport...topics covered by that stage had included IVF and spare embryos, care of the dying, giving water and food to unconscious people (YES, urgently - death by thirst is horrible, horrible), an exploration of the philosophy of Edith Stein, Pope John Paul's Theology of the Body, various encyclicals ranging from Casto Connubi to Familiaris and Consortio and Veritatis Splendor and Deus Caritas Est , and more....much more...
Sunday July 8th


If you saw a woman frantically running down The Strand on Saturday night through the crowds, panting and anxious...that was me, heading the the BBC World Service, my taxi having got stuck in the London traffic. I abandoned the car in Trafalgar Square and hared off to the BBC World Service at Bush House - to no avail as the programme had ended and I had missed my slot for an interview. I was meant to go on to do another programme at Radio 5 Live which is based at White City (which is sort of near Shepherds Bush/Hammersmith-ish). But there could be no question of trying to move in the log-jam that is London on a summer evening, so I stayed put and they found a place for me in a studio and I did the programme from there.

It was about test-tube babies, IVF, and the ethics of all of that. Messy subject. I was glad I had done some preliminary reading - and was actually unexpectedly helped by a comment by the then Cardinal Ratzinger in a rather chatty book God and the World, in which he points out that these things start as something with good intentions, helping childless couples and so on, but they cross an important threshhold, replacing the act of love with a technological act and this has important consequences and change our relationship with each other and with nature.

I am not sure how many people listen to Radio 5, but this particular programme went well and the juxtaposition of the subject with the "Live Earth" "Save the Planet" worldwide pop concert events somehow worked because one could point to a need for a sense of valuing our human ecology, the problems created by inability to keep moral debates in pace with technological developments...

Home late.

Friday, July 06, 2007


I spent the afternoon at a famous London girls' school, where a small niece was taking part in the end-of-term play. It was superb - a musical, witty, and very clever operetta weaving together lots of Greek legends in a gently ironic style. They were all there, Midas and his gold, Narcissus with his self-love and the echo, the Labyrinth with string to lead us back safely after struggles with the Minotaur.The singing was terrific, and the music teacher, Miss Una Murphy, well deserved the massive applause and bouquet with which she was presented at the end. There was a splendid tea in the interval, with proper scones with jam and cream. There were wonderful home-made costumes and children being willow trees and flowers and animals and a Greek Chorus.

We hear so much about the collapse of educational standards, and a glance at a typical weekend's diet of TV watching, plus a perusal of the rubbish masquerading as readable magazines in the average supermarket, often makes one gloomy. But I have to say that recent visits to schools have proved to me that some are fulfilling today something of the role that abbeys filled in the Dark Ages - keeping alive the books, learning, legends, and ideas passsed on from the past!

My bike needs mending. It squeaks horribly. It carried me in a somewhat limping fashion to Waterloo, where it rests and I will collect it on Sunday and take it to a proper repair shop for an overhaul.

Many thanks to all who have offered sponsorship for my fund-raising cycle ride to help young people get to World Youth Day! I still welcome more...

....in London today, as I got stuck with the crowd outside Buckingham Palace at the Changing of the Guard. The Mall has been sectioned off - you can't cross it, there are great barriers - because of the Tour de France cycle race taking place this weekend. Rows of chairs facing giant TV screens in the parks, and a general air of great preparations. All this plus lots of police because of bomb scares (anniversary of July Incident coming up) and it meant that the Guard Changing, which always creates mild traffic chaos, brought things to a complete standstill.I got stuck at what is normally a routine crossing-place to Green Park. But I didn't mind, as seeing the soldiers marching about filled me with sudden nostalgia...the Queens' Birthday Parade in Berlin in the 1980s...parades at Catterick with new recruits and Jamie anxious and rehearsing the words of command over and over again the evening before... actually, in the Britain of 2007 with all its daft ideologies, and a horrible war in Iraq, it feels somehow odd that there can still be this ceremonial parade in such traditional style. I wobbled off on my bike feeling rather thoughtful.

Thursday, July 05, 2007


In the post comes an excellent booklet Children and the Media, produced by Mediawatch-UK It has common sense advice and some illuminating information about how much TV children watch, and how to win back some family life if things have turned in to hours of zombie-like inertia in front of a flickering screen. It is scary how naive some people are about the Internet: they seem to think that if a child is sitting alone in an upstairs room, contacting complete strangers and chatting to them for hours or surfing through all sorts of weird, pornographic or violent sites...well, it doesn't matter very much. It does matter. This new booklet is readable and useful, and at £2.50p a good investment.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007


...and so does my sponsored cycle ride, which will help to raise funds for the venture....At the weekend I spoke to the (large, cheerful, delightful) group of young Catholics from nearby parishes who are planning to attend World Youth Day in Sydney in 2008. They are led by Fr Dominic Allain of St Pius X Church, Norbiton. He and I have links going back some way - in the 1990s when he was a student in Rome he wrote a weekly "Seven days in Rome" diary for the Catholic Times and I wrote a diary from London: it's rather nice that he's now parish priest nearby...the meeting was in the splendid new parish centre at St Joseph's, New Malden , and began with a beautiful Benediction and time of adoration and prayer in the church....St Joseph's is a parish with lots of families and the Sunday evening Mass is always packed with dozens and dozens of young people. My talk on "Celebrating Catholic feasts and seasons" seemed to go down all right - oh, if you want to know about it, you can read the book.
Wed July 4th 2007


To Ufton Court, a fine Elizabethan manor house in the Thames Valley. It boasts three priest-holes, and a rich recusant history. The current owners are a lovely family with a deep appreciation of the house's heritage of faith and it is used by schools as a centre for studying history: children come and stay, explore the house and are taught about its message and significance, wear Tudor costumes and make pomanders, and think about what it might have been like to be a hunted priest, etc. There is a tiny oratory, and also an attic chapel. Well worth a visit - check the website for details.

Today's gathering was in the Tithe Barn, and was a hard-working but satisfying day: an ecumenical charity which I help to run, Christian Projects, has an annual Schools Bible Project encouraging young people to study the New Testament, and a team of judges met to read all the essays. The Tithe Barn has magnificent old beams and is used for all sorts of banquets and celebratory events - our day had a quality of drama about it as a thunderstorm broke over our heads as we sat reading essays, sustained by trays of delicious sandwiches and fruitcake.

The country lanes are so gloriously green and lush this year, the meadows so enchantingly rain-washed, the lavender so generous and scented, the apples so abundant. Houses and churches and village pubs look so welcoming when windows glow with light as evening falls. I know that the rain has caused havoc too and the floods are horrible, but after a rain-soaked June, parts of our English countryside are just so lovely that the heart sings...