Monday, 27 April 2009

A new word

unitise, which I read firstly as uni-tise, a fizzy drink perhaps.

Klangfarbenmelodie got metioned later on - no probs- it's the jargon that causes the problems.

This was all on an INSET Course where I was given a certificate with a water mark and a hologram. More fancy in fact than my degree certificate!

As with most courses there was a bolshy delegate ready to go into battle with the Chief Examiner. Nice one. Don't let him know your centre number.

Sunday, 26 April 2009


During the notices today, Fr Tim spoke about the First Holy Communions next Saturday.

I happened to glance into the Congregation and raise an eybrow in the direction of one of the three boys concerned. A bashful smile was returned. One week to go.

Before you all launch into, 'Looking round during Mass tut tut,'
I'd just like to say that where I sit is not my choice, I'm in the Choir.
By choice, I'd choose the back.
Grandma's Rules of Correct Conduct at Mass forbid commenting on other people's antics in Church and I extrapolate this to mean noticing what they are up to in the first place.
Let's face it I need to look at the floor these days.
I might slip or something.

Red Carpets

Up to Town after Mass to a meeting of the Orchestra of which I am on the Committee. A Trustee no less, for we are a charity. What this means in practice is that we meet in a cafe thrash out what we will perform and where, divi up the jobs and depart. The Trustee bit means that should we spiral into debt, we each get a share... This is an arts charity after all.

We often meet at the Southbank, though thankfully rarely actually have a meeting - three times a year for three concerts- now that's a good ratio. Today was speeded up as Tim, Principal Horn, Treasurer and general sorter out of things had his five year old son with him who was very sweet and did cutting and sticking type things whilst we sorted stuff out and then it was time to go. Only so much sticking and cutting to be done and that was fine by me.

There was a coup d'etat on a repertoire choice by the conductor (happily living in Shropshire...) so we won't be doing all five Pomp & Circ Marches by Elgar. Relief. One at a time is bearable, all at once, no way. The orchestration varies too and we always have to be mindful of who we will have to buy in. Two harps at £100 a go, is not on. Much as I like to listen to England's greatest Catholic composer after Byrd, playing him can be frustrating.

The red carpets? The BAFTAs are one at the RFH and various media types were about with boom mics and cameras. Meantime, on the other side of the Thames people were running the Marathon. As I walked through Waterloo Station a Mother and toddler were reunited with heroic Father and a family where the Dad had just run it got off the train with me. Medal and all. Impressive stuff. It's one of the rare days when people talk to each other on trains - see how special it is.

Hopefully, I will actually be playing by the next concert which also coincides with 4 nights of a school production....

Friday, 24 April 2009

James MacMillan - top man 2

This is becoming a habit.

Here's the letter.
I like James MacMillan PhD (Dunelm.)

I recorded The Confession of Isabel Gowdie when it was broadcast at the 1988 Proms on a C60 (remember them?) and it's in the shed along with about 100 other cassettes of recordings from R3. No iTunes in those days.

I trogged up to Westminster Cathedral on Corpus Christi 2000 to hear his Mass being sung for the first time after no doubt playing some of the gems of the vernacular sacred music repertoire in the morning for the school Mass - happy days....

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

One armed bandit

My new life with a sling is going OK.

Have a new regard for shop bought sliced bread where previously only my bread machine would do. The best thing since... The way you can pick it up with one hand and pop it into a toaster. A marvel...

My Dad kindly did some gardening today and my Mum has ironed my clothes, so I am well looked after.

Hopefully, on Friday I'll get to wear normal clothes and an idea of how to get better properly when I go to the hospital. In the meantime it's early nights and cod liver oil tablets....

Sunday, 19 April 2009

On blogging

Fr Tim Blogmeister suggests attending to the following points.

1 a polite explanation of why the Tablet should not be sold in our Cathedrals or parish Churches (with examples and quotations)
2 an account of the work done by Catholic blogs in supporting Pope Benedict (with links)
3 a list of the ways that Catholic blogs have helped ordinary Catholics to grow in their faith (with links or personal testimonies)

1 The Tablet dissents from Catholic teaching. It is wrong and dangerous to sell it in Catholic Churches. That a Catholic publication could attack a Parish Priest and his Parish is unbelievable. What effect must that have had on other Priests in the country attempting to introduce the Extraordinary Form of the Mass? The Tablet was unhappy that Fr Tim sought to defend himself by fisking the article. The real surprise is that they did not predict the on-line reaction.

2 This blog deliberately has lots of pics of the Holy Father, smiling etc to counter the very nasty reporting found elsewhere. Also, blogs helped to publicise that petition started, I believe, in France to support the Holy Father after the lifting of the SSPX excommunications. (no links too time consuming with one finger. ) The internet also gives quick access to all Papal documents and to Vatican Youtube. I want to know what he has actually said not an interpretation of it from someone who wants to attack him. I got the info about how to complain to the PCC about that cartoon in The Times from another blog. The MSM does not tell me what I want to know.

3 Reading blogs has explained to me what has happened in the Church during my life time. It has explained that my reactions to what I saw and heard during 14 years as a pupil and 12 as a teacher in Catholic Schools were not wrong. It has put me in touch with like minded people and given me the opportunity to attend various things. For example, I am going on the Chant Summer School in Solesmes in July with someone who recognised my picture on a blog after the High Mass in Westminster last Summer. My blog does not engage in attacks on people or publications and I ruthlessly self censure so that for the most part I only focus on where positive things are happening. I do not publish comments that are nasty or crazy.

I am just one very ordinary, very mediocre Catholic. There are loads of brilliant people out there doing stuff and blogging gives the opportunity for us to see them. Look at all the pics people have on their blogs of ordinary people. I am very very grateful to Priestly bloggers and am sure that their blogging is not to the detriment of their other duties. Archbishop Fulton Sheen seemed to do a great deal of broadcasting. The Pope wrote Jesus of Nazareth after his election. How can a little blogging be anything but good?

Bara brith - a refresher

For Ches.

Bara = bread
brith = spotty or more poetically speckled.

Adjectives follow nouns in Welsh, hence bara brith.

Comes in little 1lb loaves and would be tea bread in England. Can be more cakey or more bready depending on the recipe.

There is a pic at the top.

Why bara brith? Couldn't think of a name for this blog when I was messing around with blogger and my Dad likes it.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Defending Catholicism with a frozen bara brith

Whilst sitting on my sofa, left arm in a sling, typing with one finger, I fear the only thing I have to defend myself with is a bara brith from Llangollen WI.

If The Tablet is running scared of the Catholic blogosphere, it might want to reappraise what it is attacking.

Like several others I find Holy Smoke too personal and nasty at times and that's why I do not have a link to it.

Every other blog is most charitable, sometimes in the face of personal attack and provocation.
I would have hurled that bara brith long ago if I had had to face what some others have had directed at them.

I meanwhile have my own right wing plot to bring down the liberal establishment;
digging over an allotment,
baking cakes,
listening to Radio 3,
supporting Catholic charities that do what they say on the tin,
supporting Catholics who are blogging and organising events supportive of Catholic culture,
supporting Priests
singing in the church choir,
buying raffle tickets at UCM events,
buying cakes at UCM events,
going to Rosary and Benediction,
owning a 1962 Missal and using it.

This reminds me of the 'attack' on Fr Z's blognic last Sept. There I was sipping a half of lemonade after a difficult day at work and chatting to various people and this is attacked.

Extraordinary times indeed.
Ordinary folks like me have ready access to the Extraordinary Form of the Mass.

Now where's that bara brith?

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Home again

I did get to Wales and had a very pleasant couple of days until I slipped over yesterday and dislocated my left shoulder. My Mum drove me to the nearest and only A&E, the excellent Ysbyty Gwynedd, Bangor where lovely nurses and doctors pumped me full of narcotics though the media of Welsh and English and put it back in. Morphine is great. Diolch yn fawr.

Now in a sling and typing slowly. The return journey then involved a further 4 members of the family and my Dad driving 600 miles in 48 hours. A tale too long to relate and too slow to type. We did get to have lunch as planned with an aunt and uncle along the way which was very enjoyable.

Saturday, 11 April 2009

The News

You know it's the Easter Bank Holiday weekend because the News always carries lengthy coverage of the NUT Conference.

What seems clear, is if you go to the conference you consider it more important than
1 anything remotely Christian
2 your family.

Poor delegates.

But we have to suffer listening to people getting worked up about... SATs....

Time to see if Jazz Record Requests is still on R3 methinks and I don't particularly like jazz.
Oh no, it's Die Walkure from the Met, proving that nasty people do write nasty music and that it's so long it has to start really early and that you can manipulate people by the clever use of the appogiatura.
I shall be at the Easter Vigil way before the magic fire music brings it all to an end.

Not posting much at the mo cos apart from going to Church like everyone else, (so you don't need me to tell you what's going on, you were there too,) I've got some lurgy so am flopping about before summoning up the energy to go out. And tomorrow the plan is to go to Mass and then drive to Wales, arriving early evening. We'll see.

Happy Easter, when it arrives.

Friday, 10 April 2009

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Parsnip Seeds - hand not included

That's not my hand anyway, cos that's a married hand.
Very partial to them roasted (parsnips, not hands,) so bought some seeds.

The planting to digging out couch grass ratio is presently standing at about 1:100

It's great stuff because of course then you have to keep pulling out all the stuff you missed the first time.

According to my web research if you keep doing this for about four months, you win or you put down scary weedkiller, which would be OK if I was planting non-edible things, but it does take the edge off yer home grown veggies.

Looking forward to August.

Anyway, having dug enough to put the third puny row of potatoes in ( do they know how much work it is to put 2' between rows?) it was time for some parsnips. A mere 90 further minutes of digging and I had enough space for one row.

Got out the packet, poured a few into my hand, mindful that after thinning there should be 6-8" between them and a freak gust of wind blew a third of the packet onto the ground. Scraped them up and planted most of them. So, if you suddenly have a parsnip pop up in your garden you know how it happened. As you can see they are the sort of seeds that get air born easily.

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Palm Sunday closer to home

was epic.

The weather was beautiful for the procession and the Gospel, chanted in Latin, long. About 40 minutes all told, though it has to be said that for me all sense of time tends to get mashed. All credit to those chanting. Impressive stuff.

Palm Sunday

Picture borrowed from Jackie Parkes, borrowed from ... someone in Rome.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

When I was in the Infants, this picture was at the end of the corridor. You had to walk past it to get to the Hall and the Headmaster's office (gulp.)

Being short in stature - we did measuring in Infant 3 and I was 120cm - how very metric we were - , I only ever saw the bottom bit of the picture, with the water and the boat and the general blueness. Also in my mind at the time, this being the mid 1970s, were I think, the posters for the film 'Jaws' and somehow it all got jumbled up in my mind.

This story doesn't have a particular point. Have famous religious art up in schools, because children take in what is around them. Hang pictures lower down for infants? Occasionally, get children to look at a whole picture? Or just have it there so that when they see it later in life they realise they have seen it before? They went for the last option and I have no complaints.

A hole in the fence

I found one in the fence between the alley behind my house and the alltoments. As the crow flies, my plot is about 20 paces from my back gate but a five minute walk round the block to the gate. The hole will be very handy for putting seed trays through...

I'm hoping that the trees at the bottom of the plot will be fruit bearing and that once I've cut out all the dead branches, I will have a mini orchard. My allotment neighbour pointed out a damson tree that's on no-ones's plot, so a free for all. That has lots of beautiful blossom on it, so hopefully will come in handy for some jam. He detailed all the jam his wife made last summer. Lots and lots.

Catholic Print Media does its job.


Reminds me of my teengae years reading The Universe.

Always plenty of coverage of Mr and Mrs O'Blogs celebrating their 60th wedding Anniversary looked on by squillions of extended family. Fr McBlogs celebrating his very high number Jubilee, looked on by smiling family and parishioners. B&Bs advertised as being 5 mins from Catholic Church. That sort of thing.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

A DVD Quest

My parents are helping to teach the Confirmation candidates in their Parish and tonight is an end of term DVD and pringles night. So far, so good. This morning my Dad popped down to the hall to fix up the new TV with another man, taking my DVD of that Gregory Peck film, you know the one WWII, saving people, giving the Germans the slip etc. He put it down whilst plugging wires in and someone, who will remain nameless, picked up the DVD and took it home. (How?) My Mum has been planning this for ages.

So, I got a call and took over two of my very small library of Catholic type films. Not Into Great Silence, this time, but Karol; a man who became Pope and the Br Damien film. My Mum decided the day required JPII and like the retired teacher that she is watched various bits of it, for timing and and suitability purposes. So all is well. I like the film a lot, but it is pretty heavy handed in its treatment, so probably good in ramming the history in. The music is by Ennio Morricone too.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Dawkins calls Pope

'stupid.' Thanks for that Laurence.

Reminds me of

'God is dead.' Nietzsche.

'Nietzsche is dead.' God.