Wednesday 25 December 2013

Happy Christmas

A quick post Mass snack and then time for some Zzzzz.

Monday 23 December 2013

Musical merriment

Bill Bailey on chords

Dr Qui

That all important Britten centenary. If you need a reference point, listen to The Sally Gardens and be grateful I didn't choose The foggy, foggy dew.

And still my favourite
Igudesman and Joo, I will survive

Tuesday 17 December 2013

An announcement

Thanks to a tip off from Clare's Dad, I have been to Lakeland, bought the oven cleaning gel stuff, and CLEANED THE OVEN.


Other deeply satisfying Christmas holiday activities thus far, have included propping up my neighbour's broken fence panel and playing 'The wheels on the bus' on the violin to my nephew and then playing it again and then playing it again and then playing, 'Horsey, horsey.'

Sunday 15 December 2013


Saturday 14 December 2013

Catch up day

Getting behind with my feast days.

Wednesday 11 December 2013

Biting the hand

When I see the letters STL and PhL after a priest's name, apart from thinking it's good that he has some degrees, I also reflect on the lay people who paid for his studies.

Tuition fees for undergraduates in the UK are now £9k per annum. There is a recession on, so getting a job when you graduate is not easy for many people.

Whilst it would be ridiculous for priests to be lumbered with student debts and only right that we support their education and material needs, is it not reasonable for lay people to expect priests to use that education and their gifts to uphold the teaching of the Church?

When I contribute to the collection for the upkeep of the cathedral, does that include the hall attached to it? Should I not expect that groups using it support the teaching of the Church?

Monday 9 December 2013

Puer natus in Bethlehem

A spritely recording here.

Sunday 8 December 2013

Happy Feast Day

Totus Tuus, by Gorecki, written for and first performed, I believe, during Blessed John Paul II's first visit to Poland as Pope.

Saturday 7 December 2013

Ear worm time

Played this last Sat as a nod to the Britten centenary and am quite taken with it.

Friday 6 December 2013

Thursday 28 November 2013

Um no thanks.

In a spoof post, The Tablet cites this as what we should play, sing, listen to and generally actively participate in.

Oh whoops, they are for real.

Meantime lots of people can sing this and have been for lots of centuries.

I'll go with the option 2 please.

After all the western staff system was invented to notate it, so it must be quite important.

Plus document after document after document from the church keeps telling us it should have pride of place.

My nuanced reading of that is that it should have pride of place.

Friday 22 November 2013

Happy Feast Day

Monday 11 November 2013

Taking a peek

Weeks ago when it was half-term, I made the Christmas cake. Been doing it for twenty years, so no drama there. Decided to leave it in the oven, oven off, to dry out a little, before storing in a tin and um left it in the oven. Not for a long time, but from Thursday night when I made it til Sat evening when I returned from the IOW. Was distracted, or something. Anyway, moderately concerned that this might render the cake mouldy. Was chatting to a colleague who does all the Christmas catering for her family, now that her mother is too old and frail to cook and she was telling me how she has made four Christmas cakes for various branches of her family.

Decided to check on my cake.

Seems OK.

Rather similar to last year's ....

My Dad likes it, which is the main thing.

Saturday 9 November 2013


From ACN

Your prayers are urgently requested as breaking news comes in of the killing of 45 people from an ancient Christian town in Syria - including two teenagers and three of their grandmothers, who were thrown down a well.

The family were 18-year-old university student Ranim (pictured left), school pupil Fadi (right), aged 16, their mother, Njala, 45, and grandparents, Mariam El-Sheikh (pictured centre) aged 90, as well as Matanios, aged 85, and his wife, Habsah 75.

The atrocity, the worst against Christians since Syria's conflict began in March 2011, broke when rebels seized the town of Sadad and held 1,500 families hostage. A week later, Government forces retook Sadad.

Syria's Patriarch Gregorios III, who last month launched ACN UK's Persecuted and Forgotten? A Report on Christians oppressed for their Faith 2011-2013, told ACN: "How can somebody do such inhumane and bestial things?"

The Patriarch is determined to keep hope. He recently told ACN: "If we are now the Church of the Martyrs, we will be the Church of the Resurrection in the future. Christ is Risen - we will remain."

Thursday 7 November 2013

My hero

Ted Heath for Baroness Thatcher

Tony Blair for Gordon Brown

Barack Obama for FrZ

Peter Tatchell for ... Er

Ceremony of Innocence by Dorothy Cummings McLean

Publisher blurb says

Riots. Terrorist attacks. Neo-Nazi violence.

In modern-day Germany, journalist Catriona McClelland has seen it all while covering the contemporary European scene for a Catholic news organization. Keeping herself above the political fray in her professional life, she has also managed to keep herself from personal entanglements-still hurt from the wounds of a broken relationship. Things come to a head when her boyfriend Dennis, frustrated with a lack of commitment, leaves her for Suzy Davis, an idealistic young Canadian who is involved with a left-wing protest movement. But when Suzy is murdered... who is complicit and who is innocent?

Ripped from the headlines, Ceremony of Innocence is a very contemporary novel of Europe on the edge of social breakdown. Train stations are bombed and migrants targeted for violence as journalists and other tastemakers watch from their positions of privilege.

Dorothy Cummings McLean's realistic narrative does not describe the feats of heroes. Rather, it unnervingly lays bare the way religious faith and moral reasoning can be easily manipulated and compromised.

I'm enjoying it.

If you enjoyed, 'Poor Banished Children,' it has a similar level of destructiveness and turbulence.

Monday 4 November 2013

Spot the schola director

Photo from Juventutem DC.

Saturday 2 November 2013

Friday 1 November 2013

Wednesday 23 October 2013

A bit of a detour

Had to go a different scenic route home today after a 30 ton land slip on the Nant Gwynant Pass.

Saw none of this, road closed miles back.

All of the above from The Daily Post.

Tuesday 22 October 2013

What I have learnt today

Tescos in Porthmadog has been taken over by Eccles.
(Note I had to brave three elderly ladies engaged in an animated conversation in Welsh to take this photo. No wonder the Welsh are so good at singing opera - the language is so declamatory, poetic and just plain operatic and the old ladies had fearsomely formidable personalities equal to any opera house.)

The bara brith and Welsh cakes meanwhile cowered on a low shelf swamped by scones and other foreign goods. I'm only surprised that the Free Wales Army haven't paid a visit to redress the obvious slight to homegrown tea time delights.

My other interest, in between ploughing through John Elliot Gardiner's just published biography of Bach ( tip Ch3 on everyone called Bach in the 17th-18thC is not that interesting without musical examples- why not just print a few then we'd get the idea what they sounded like?),is adding to my not very extensive knowledge of food in Welsh. Thuringia after the 30 Years War was pretty miserable, btw.

I now know that focaccia bread is bara focaccia and that aubergine must be a direct translation of egg plant because it's something wŷ=egg and butter nut squash must be the same because it ends menyn = butter.

Sunday 13 October 2013

A postcard from the volcano by Lucy Beckett

Ignatius Press own blurb says

Beginning in 1914 and ending on the eve of World War II, this epic story follows the coming of age and early manhood of the Prussian aristocrat, Max von Hofmannswaldau. From the idyllic surroundings of his ancestral home to the streets of cosmopolitan Breslau menaced by the Nazi SS, Hofmannswaldau uncovers the truth about his own identity and confronts the modern ideologies that threaten the annihilation of millions of people.

A Postcard from the Volcano opens with the outbreak of World War I and the Prussian pride and patriotism that blind the noble von Hofmannswaldau family to the destruction that lies ahead for their country. The well-researched narrative follows the young count as he leaves home to finish his education and ends up a stranger in the land of his birth.

Both intelligent and sensitive, Beckett’s prose explores the complex philosophical and political questions that led Europe into a second world war, while never losing sight of a man whose life is shaped by his times. A deeply moving historical novel that shows the horrific impact that two world wars had on whole countries, and how individuals struggled to deal with the incredible challenges presented by such devastation.

Lucy Beckett studied history at Cambridge and is the author of several books, including her highly acclaimed work, In the Light of Christ: Writings in the Western Tradition, as well as another work of historical fiction, The Time Before You Die: A Novel of the Reformation. She lives in Yorkshire, England, where she teaches at Ampleforth Abbey.

“Written with beautiful prose, a great pleasure to read. The prose is in the service of immense themes —but always in the context of a skillfully handled and greatly moving human drama. A gigantic, and splendid, piece of work.”
—Thomas Howard author, On Being Catholic

“In this extraordinary work, the mysteries of faith and hope and love, prevailing in a time of radical fear, teach us how to find our own humanity.”
—Michael D. O’Brien author, Father Elijah

“This astonishing novel is meat for the mind and manna for the soul.”
—Joseph Pearce author, The Quest for Shakespeare

I'm enjoying this a lot.

Wednesday 2 October 2013

Resolution #123

I'm only reading encyclicals in official English translations from the present pope. (Plus FrZ, if that translation is wonky.)

Since he's only written one and a fair amount of that was by BXVI anyway, no bandwagons to jump on or knee jerk reactions needed.

My usual guerrilla tactics then apply.

Support good Catholic causes relentlessly and ignore everything else.

This always was going to be a long game.

If people could just stop retweeting rubbish into my twitter feed by people I purposely don't follow, I'd be really happy.

And if CAFOD would refrain from phoning me up, I won't need to waste their time and mine telling them why I give my money to ACN. Clue dodgy spin doctors and a loose understanding of Catholic teaching make for compelling reasons not to give them a bean. I do hope the call was recorded for training purposes.

Sunday 29 September 2013


Quite a lot around at the moment.

Had a trip out this afternoon to an orchard and did PYO apples -just a few. Pretty silly as everywhere is groaning with them, but I spent last weekend in bed ill and fancied some countryside. Would be a bit mean to have a good old walk round and then pass the kiosk man without anything to weigh.

'No apples to Madam's liking?'

'Too red. Too shiny.'

The apples are Norfolk Royal and are bright red and very shiny. Rather like the apple in the Disney Snow White. Not sold in shops because they don't keep we'll enough. The next field had lavender in it, so will return in the summer for a sniff.

Happy Feast Day

Tuesday 24 September 2013

Tuesday 17 September 2013

40 Days for Life, the book

Have also been reading this.

Lots of thought-provoking stories.

Lots of impressive people.

It certainly shows how individual people doing things and praying makes a huge difference to others either helping woman not to have abortions and providing whatever assistance they may need or in the aftermath if they have.

The American take on London is interesting.

Apparently, the night that Bishop Hopes was at Bedford Sq and there was a very nasty and at various points obscene counter event going on is the occasion on which the most number of Police -50- have attended a 40 Days for Life Vigil anywhere.

Sunday 15 September 2013

The Ear of the Heart

Have been reading this on the train and now have only 5% left (joys of kindle app.)

Am spinning it out a bit.

Altogether a good book.

The Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Tuesday 10 September 2013

For Fr Ray Blake

Thank you to whoever created the image etc.

A little musical background

From Damian Thompson.

Just in case you've never thought what sort of music the Church intends to be sung at Mass.

Some people are proving slow on the uptake....

Monday 9 September 2013

Music Sacra Scotland

Time for some more publicity methinks.

All the details here.

Saturday 7 September 2013

Harvest Special

Time to squirrel things away for those dark November evenings.... Not to mention February when it's still pitch dark on the way to work. :-(

Friday 6 September 2013

Crazy Clergy Stories

The nasty nonsense misconstruing Fr Ray shows that all the eccentric vicar stories I've ever read are clearly complete fiction.

Can't believe everything ( anything?) you read in the newspapers.

Saturday 31 August 2013

Food miles

Not many footsteps.

Time for plum tart made with plums that were on the tree 20 mins ago.

La Rentrée

Singing starts again tomorrow and the Autumn, in outline, looks something like this.

Sunday 1st September
15th Sunday after Pentecost XI/I

Friday 6th September 8pm
Requiem Mass Fr Bailey RIP

Sunday 8th September
Nativity of the BVM IX/I

Sunday 15th September
Seven Sorrows of the BVM IX/I and sequence

Sunday 29th September
Dedication of St Michael Archangel VIII/III

Wednesday 2nd October 8pm VIII/III
Dedication of Our Lady of the Rosary Church

Sunday 20th October
Dedication of St George's Cathedral VIII/III

Friday 1st November 8pm
All Saints VIII/III
possible visit of St James's Spanish Place Gregorian Choir

Sunday 10th November
Remembrance Sunday, Requiem Mass

Sunday 1st December
1st Sunday of Advent XVII/I

Sunday 8th December
Immaculate Conception IX/I

Carol Service Date TBC

Wednesday 25th December
Midnight Mass VIII/III

Sunday 29th December
St Thomas a Becket VIII/III

Thursday 15 August 2013

A casual glance

At Twitter says silly season.

It's making me want to go back to school.

Reminds me of when, rose- tinted specks on...

I held a small boy (11) back at the end of a lesson to confiscate his phone as per the school rules, it having gone off in the lesson - gets given to Second Master, boy then has to go and ask for it at the end of the day, before I get a com box full of anxious comments - listened to lengthy story ending with, 'My phone has been a bit funny, since I dropped it down a toilet.' On that occasion I did not follow through with the school rules. Oh inconsistent teacher, me.

Ah the nostalgia for petty class room disputes....

And now I am invited to eat burgers. Like proper summer stuff, followed by Mass.

Do people write awful things on Twitter? Yes.
Why do they do that?
A) they think they can get away with it.
B) the medium, like the Internet in general, disinhibits people.
C) it's a rubbish way of communicating compared to face to face. Hey we are into Incarnational type ways of being, being Catholics etc.

Are some people really horrible?

Best keep out the way.
They are not going to change any time soon.
Consequences can be very real world indeed.

Burgers. Ketchup. Yummy.

The Assumption

Happy feast day.

Saturday 10 August 2013

Immaculate Conception Basilica, Washington D.C.

Blogging-lite, these days.

Here are a few snaps of my hols, to stay with friends in Washington.

It's a huge church and contains side chapels to Our Lady of everywhere you have ever heard of and a few more besides.

The 'Hail Mary' features all over the building and one plaque reads thus:

After Mass on Sunday, there were the all important donuts. Mine was apple and cinnamon, if you are wondering and very good it was too.

Friday 19 July 2013

Saucer in the freezer

Yes, the jam-making season has begun.

First off, black currant. Four jars. ( not handles. )

Unfortunately, as I have neglected to prune the bushes at all, the crop is not as abundant as one might have hoped for. Scaling the pic using a handy mug gives....

So a few ( OK a, ) celebratory breakfasts in store for the lucky recipients.

Five years those bushes have been there and I got 115g of black currants, I ask you.

I have now rectified the lack of pruning by watching a bossy Dutch guy on YouTube detailing correct pruning methods. A brutal Autumn to come.

My Welsh Grandparents never bought jam and had a cupboard in their bedroom containing the year's supply of jam in small honey jars. I aspire to this level of self-sufficiency.

I should reach it, thanks to next door's plum tree.

For the black currant jam, I used a Nigel Slater recipe. He says the stuff in the saucepan should, 'boil enthusiastically,' but what if your black currants are having a down day? Bring back the good, honest rolling boil.

Sunday 14 July 2013

A fantastic tool

Tom Windsor at St Bede's, someone who has produced one or two editions of chant himself, put me into this tool, via Musica Sacra.

We are changing what we sing and what we read from bit by bit and this will allow me to produce various bits and bobs with great ease.

Friday 5 July 2013

Monday 1 July 2013

Friday 21 June 2013

Unlikely readers

Nigel Farrage engrossed in his copy of Pravda.

Tony Benn avid reader of The Daily Mail.

Mac with her copy of Allotment Weekly - free packet of carrot seeds with this ishoo.
Not to mention the oft alluded to monthly Dog Owner Today and RSPB Newsletter.

Me and my copies of Autocar, Puffer Train Express and Airfix Model Builder - collect pots of a variety of fetching shades of sludge paint each month. Send in photos of you best models dangling precariously from your bedroom ceiling from bits of thread from your Mother's work basket. ( I have two brothers, I know about these things.)

Jonathan and his Lager Lights

Matthaeus Polyester Vestments Supplement free pottery Altar Vessels pullout

Zephy Modernist Ecclesiastical Architecture Quarterly incorporating Rock Mass Vibes free tie dye kit in orange and turquoise.

Fr Tim and any other priest you can think of with their Vogue subscriptions. All these different clothes. All different colours. What's wrong with a black cassock? Yesterday, today and everyday.

Fr Z with his copy of The Pacifist. No guns allowed. Even toy ones. Especially cap guns and assault rifles.

A Catholic and a copy of The Tablet.

I was in Westminster Cathedral today and that Editorial was there.

September 2010 Pope Benedict, as was, was in the Cathedral. He must have walked right past where the newspapers are at the back.

I also wondered what might happen if you were hovering around lapsed or thinking of becoming a Catholic and you happened to pick it up and have a skim through. Not a great thought, that one is it? Could happen anywhere anything dodgy is stocked in a Church.

I'm not singling out Westminster Cathedral, which has many good points, not least hours and hours of Confessions everyday and a world class Choir, but it is Westminster Cathedral.

What would The Tablet have to print to get removed from all Churches?
Today they slate

The EF Mass
The Ordinariate ( Withering? Whither withering?)
The new translation into English of the OF Mass.

Have I missed anything?

All in one editorial.

Tablet bingo time.

Saturday 15 June 2013

Not so far off

One of the 11 year olds I teach labelled a picture of a tambourine, 'tangerine,' on his end of year exam paper. Makes a change from clarenet, chello, base, trumbone violla, etc.

I blame the teacher...

Friday 14 June 2013

My favourite flowers

June in the garden.

Wednesday 12 June 2013

Musica Sacra Scotland Conference Saturday 9th November, Glasgow.

All the details and registration details here.

Top people. Top stuff.

Tuesday 11 June 2013


That acronym has been taken.

See the thing is if you look around you at church, there just are not very many people who may be termed young.

I'd like to be young but I'm not really anymore. Sad, but true.

Most Catholics my age, do other things on Sunday mornings, Sunday evenings and Saturday nights. Every week. They've gone. They might come back at Christmas, but mainly, they are elsewhere.

Those of us who do turn up got good very quickly at saying, 'And with Your Spirit.'

Heavens, I don't even go to Mass in English that often and even I've stopped trying to say, 'And also with Your Spirit.' It was never that hard to say, 'Et avec Votre Espirit, ' on hols in France after all.

If you are below retirement age, being a practising Catholic is not on trend, in worldy terms. When was it ever? Pick any issue relating to sexual morality and your views do not fit. Choose how you will steer the conversation. Decide with whom you will socialise, which jokes you don't laugh at, which magazines, books, TV progs and films, you don't read or watch, which places you don't go to, which substances you don't imbibe. And so it goes on.

Negotiating all that and having the need to attack the Church, just don't really go together.

Have fun running the Church down and moaning, why don't you.

Meantime, there are many young people doing very edifying things. He's just one of a few who come to mind. They are the very attractive, joyful future. :-)

Monday 10 June 2013

Tuesday 28 May 2013

Decisions, decisions

Borrowed from Sinfini