Wednesday 30 May 2012

Confirmation Presents

So the time has come to think pressies.

Always seemed to get given books on these occasions.

for my First Holy Communion a white missal that had those awful woodblock pictures that were both ugly and frightening looking, but went up til the amazingly futuristic year of 1999.

Then when I was confirmed, Cardinal Hume's, 'To be a pilgrim,' which deserves a post on it's own, so miserable did I find it. One bit that stood out even at the time was where he more or less tells people feeling oh so wistful for the EF Mass that they just need to grin and bear it. At the time I couldn't work out why a cardinal had to tell people to embrace something that they were unenthusiastic about.

Then there was a book about Fatima, which I just found frightening. (To be fair, it doesn't take much, visions of hell etc and the general reaction of those around them to their apparitions..)

And a CTS book of plainchant in modern notation....

For my god daughter, the Ignatius Press biography of St Gianna Molla, the Catholic Heroines book edited by Joanna Bogle and the Compendium to The Catechism. Any book duplication and she can pass it to her younger sister or one of her cousins. I' d quite like to give her a CD of some sacred music or chant too and am working on that.

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Tuesday 29 May 2012


At work I have just come into an iPad. The other day I was sitting somewhere where there is wifi getting what is on mine onto the new one. I've more or less done that now. A lesson change bell went and past came a first form class. One of the best effects of technology is that the pupils think it is great. My credibility is now sky high on the basis that Miss has two iPads. That and using iTuning fork in Junior String Orch. Just for rehearsals mind. For concerts we revert to the tried and tested method of the co-leader, who of course has perfect pitch, giving an A. He likes the special job too. Audience hushes, he stands etc. Great theatre. In the full orch an oboist playing into an electronic tuner, which the audience can't see.

Another member of staff has some app that does mark books and fancy spreadsheet stuff, so I shall be quizzing him on whether he thinks it's good and if it is,that's what I shall be using come Sept. At the moment I have a paper A5 Teacher Planner which has everything I have to do, lesson plans etc, plus the all important calendar, so I can fit in the smillions of school concerts etc against my other commitments. All this may go electronic. Now is a good time of year to get this sort of thing planned out. Puts off writing exam papers, marking them and writing reports...

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Cardinal Burke

at The London Oratory

I was at Vespers.  It was great. I like The Oratory.

The Divine Praises were cool with an American accent. :-)

Special Prayers

How are some more special than others?

On the News, people always say special prayers when a tragedy occurs, not just ordinary ones.  Maybe they are particular prayers for particular intentions.  Maybe the folks who write the News don't really have the correct turns of phrase.

It's like the word community which is redundant in many contexts or used when actually there isn't one and people are at each other's throats.

Catholic community = Catholics, but in a slightly more cuddly way.
The community = especially apt after a riot, when people are sweeping up glass etc.

Monday 28 May 2012


Had a quick visit out west last night and my relatives were preparing in earnest for the coming celebrations. Sarah (9) was practising the high jump in the back garden with her improvised, but very effective kit; bean poles taped together to jump over landing on an old mattress. She has a couple of flags to wave too.

In other news a very friendly shop assistant at Bluewater suggested that I must remember the coronation well. I'd just like to point out that my mother was 6 1/2 at the time.

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Location:The SW suburbs

Sunday 27 May 2012

Happy Pentecost

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Guerrilla Gardening

Did some yesterday in my parents' garden. I prefer doing theirs to doing my own garden in a lot of ways; the thought that the new flowers in the front garden will great someone when they get home, is a good one. They have so many pots, that a couple of trays of bedding plants only scratch the surface of floral possibilities, but a start has been made after the gloomy wet weather.
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Location:A garden in the suburbs

Saturday 26 May 2012

Still experimenting

Well that makes adding photos easy. This is going to be fun. Previously, on BB, I was getting my own photos via a very laborious route.

Yup, I'm growing a treble clef in my herb garden. Treble clefs and sage; it's all about companion planting, as any organic gardener will tell you.

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Blogging from the iPad

Now I have the app, hopefully, things will be easier.

You just can't fight apple...

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Thursday 24 May 2012

Name calling

God is Dead Nietzsche Nietzsche is dead God The Pope is a dictator, schismatic... Hans Küng. Hans Küng is... Is in need of a new cardie. Me. The Pope is the boss. Also me.

Wednesday 23 May 2012

La la la

Hams Küng, no-one's listening to you. No-one's been listening for a long time. Back to the garden and St Edith Stein....

Check out the intro

I'm reading one of St Edith Stein's books at the mo and the translator's intro is hilarious or infuriating or both on account of the heavy Woman's Hour, poor old women slant.

It is a great shame that St Theresa Benedicta of the Cross could not gain an appointment as a university lecturer in the 30s and then was barred anyway on account of being Jewish.  Cambridge didn't award degrees to woman til 1948 etc etc.  Incidentally, one of my mother's great aunts graduated from UCG in the 20s and then became a nun in the 30s.  Before entering, she commuted by motor cycle from the family home in West Clare to the convent she taught in in Limerick.  We have her graduation photo.  She looks very sensitive and gentle.

It's just not clear from St Edith Stein's writing that she felt terribly sorry for herself, or unable to do anything on account of the obstacles put in her way.  She didn't exactly waste her time moaning, for sure.

All very fine


Meanwhile in the last year, the choir at OLR  have introduced Masses I, IX, XVII, Credo I, quite a few Latin Hymns and got to grips better with the Vidi Aquam, the Te Deum Simple Tone and the sequences.

We have got our heads round singing the propers to psalm tones at a pace where we have a sense of the structure of the text.

I have been visiting St Cecilia's monthly and benefitting from the education and example of Sr Bernadette and the singing there.

My schola buddies provide invaluable help and we have sung the Gregorian Propers in Blackfen, St James' Spanish Place, Brighton, Quarr, West Grinstead.  I've sung in Ramsgate too.

The parish has got a new piano for the 10.30 Choir and the Choir at the 9am Mass to use for rehearsals.

Candy got us 20 copies of The Parish Book of Chant, which has lots of great stuff suitable for a choir of ordinary folks to sing.  She also masterminded the visit of Dom Yves-Marie from Solesmes.  She has other plans for new ventures afoot.

The Gregorian Chant network has put on another event for Choir Directors, amongst other things.  No representative from any Catholic Diocese or the Catholic Press turned up.  But James MacMillan was there and it was a great day.

Several new initiatives and scholas have been founded.

So actually, at a grass roots level, there are lots of things going on.

All the music, plus recordings are available for free on the internet.

Tuesday 22 May 2012

Catholics sue Obama

Not that you'd guess from the MSM.

Monday 21 May 2012

Gardening at last

The starting pistol has finally been fired on getting the garden sorted. At last those light evenings can be put to use digging out a border and planting stuff. :-)

Monday 14 May 2012

Sunday 13 May 2012


That's laugh out loud DC. Here

Gardening in the rain

The weather has been so bad that the Torygraph ran an article recently about gardening in the rain. they were scrabbling around quite a bit about what to say and managed to come up with waterproof trousers are good and you can pull the tap roots of dandelions out when the ground is soft and will be pleased you did when the drought comes back. today the sun shone, so having done the other stuff I had to do, I made a last half hour dash to the garden centre and got some plants, including tomato plants. mid May and I'm buying small plants. Fastforward to late Sept/ early Oct and I'm thinking kitchen window sill, bananas and green tomato chutney or sweet vinegary mush. Still, one must be optimistic and believe that the six little plants will be providing me with tomatoes for my lunch in August as well as the basis for pasta sauces which I will squirrel away in the freezer and bring out in November when I need a tasty dinner or smugly add to casseroles for the family.

The dictatorship of

My feelings. as I understand it, you used to sue for libel if what was printed or said about you was untrue, unless you were Jonathan Aitken, (cheap yes and he's now a reformed character, but you get my point.). Now you can sue if your privacy is invaded or you feel upset. Or if the perceived offence isn't directed at you per se, but is an advert, you go to the ASA. I contacted them about that MAP ad that caused me to choke on a bagel on the Northern Line one Sunday morning. It was withdrawn on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. interesting. Anyway, I misunderstood that marriage ad the first time I saw it, because I thought it showed how one couple could give rise to lots and lots of other families. maybe it does. marriage generates people and generates society.

The other dictatorship we has is of statistics. Ditch Catholicism, common sense and observation of how folks in our families have done the stuff that doesn't change as we go down the generations because human nature is still the same and and look at what the survey says. having had to play with the rubbish mathematical models the DfES ( or whatever they call themselves now ) come up with to predict what your pupils should get and weed out those pupils who are brilliant but you never noticed... I'm not holding my breath with expectation there. 70% of the people they asked eh. What about al the previous generations? Still if the charge is that the 70% figure is wrong then just produce the study and bingo. why they are going for a bloke burnt at the stake ages a go is anyone's guess.

Thursday 10 May 2012

St Hildegard von Bingam

Ora pro nobis.

Sunday 6 May 2012

He who sings

Prays twice. Some qualification needed methinks or this may occur.

Chorus angelorum

Yesterday, was the first FHC Mass and there were lots of little people, too small as yet to make their First Holy Communions but well up for the Marian Anthem. They all pitch their voices beautifully and sing CON BELTO!

Wednesday 2 May 2012

A for ...

It's traditional that where an edition uses rehearsal letters, that the conductor has varies ditties to go with each one. I often go for the names of boys because, they like it along with old favourites like, 'L for leather.'. Today we had H for heart attack after one of the trumpets cut the 3rd beat of a bar in a loud bit when he had the tune. Of such things are scary moments made. Thankfully, such things don't happen in concerts. Not that I take that for granted...

Tuesday 1 May 2012

Musical pizzicato

With my small person string orchestra, we have been practising with the thought that pizz is not just about isolated plinks and plonks, that's when we have plunked and plonked together. no! We can join the dots and make musical lines. we can do phrasing. We can do dynamics. then we discovered last week that since you have to make a bigger movement with your plinking finger to play louder, this meant that our carefully crafted crescendo and diminuendo was difficult to play rhythmically evenly. And that is where we shall pick up the rehearsal tomorRow morning after I have written a test on Haydn for the Sixth Form. Mm and we shall avoid random Bartokesque snap pizzicatos which explode into the texture unbidden from time to time.