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Category: In Praise Of…

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Lent moves into Holy Week and now on Holy Saturday I turn myself to some words for our Vigil this evening. This morning in St Georges Chapel I was again full of gratitude for this bit of sacred space – and especially its tomb like quality in the early morning light. Some of my friends have been kind enough to say that they have missed me on FB – others with eagle eyes have spotted the occasional visit – to…

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In Praise of Bach

In Praise of Bach

Bach’s contribution to Western imagination and spirituality is immense His is a sounds-world that in its scale and depth accompanies us on a profound spiritual and musical journey. The bass notes travel, often at walking pace, rising and falling, journeying through the narrative with delicacy but with seemingly inexorable harmonic confidence. The melody is horizontal, often based on Lutheran psalm chants or hymn tunes, pointing us always forward in the direction of travel. The harmony is vertical, but again travelling…

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The Sky

The Sky

From my bedroom in a tower of the castle I can see  for miles – the space and wonder of the sky is extraordinary… it reminds me of this piece: sunset   Then new events said to me, ‘Don’t move. A sublime generosity is coming towards you.’ You are the fountain of the sun’s light. I am a willow shadow on the ground. You make my raggedness silky. The soul at dawn is like darkened water that slowly begins to…

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Ten things

Ten things

Ten good things about holidays…… After a couple of days the alarm clock and watch become unnecessary You can take all morning to read the newspaper Drinking at lunchtime is a possibility and soem days a necessity Time for experimentation with all those odd fragments of recipes rescued from Sunday papers in the hope of usefulness – this year the world of Thai curries! Taking time to think and feel Loosing yourself (but not your wallet) in a second hand…

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In Praise of…

In Praise of…

An extraordinarily rich and wonderful poet UA Fanthorpe   Photo: UPPA She did not see herself as a serious contender. In fact, she made her preference clear in a poem, Petition of the Cats Concerning Mr Peter Porter. Still, she was happy that the post went to Andrew Motion: “Andrew’s worked so hard,” she declared, “and I haven’t got that much energy left in me.” She was in her late sixties at the time, and few people had heard of…

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The gift of Laughter

The gift of Laughter

  It may be that we have not  in our spirituality, learned to exercise that great solvent of rigidities, God’s gift of laughter! Alan Ecclestone   What is laughter? What is laughter? It is God waking up! O it is God waking up! It is the sun poking its sweet head out From behind a cloud You have been carrying too long, Veiling your eyes and heart. It is Light breaking ground for a great Structure That is your Real body…

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University Challenge

University Challenge

    Sad – perhaps – but a day away from Temple Balsall and two rather problematic journeys  down the M40 – rain and snow –  ice and fog sent me to the TV for relaxation! I was gald to watch University Challenge. I failed to get into the Kings College team in 1980 and so am full of admiration for those clever students!! Here is a reminder od the harmless ‘deal’: At its inception in 1962, University Challenge was…

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In Praise of….

In Praise of….

Just back from a week in mid- Wales sleeping and reading and generally wondering what 2009 might have in store for me and my work. These musings take the form of scribbles and lists …  a thinking aloud on paper that increase with coherance after a glass of claret! Where would we be without lists? I have two particular memories of that week. The first is of the wonderful clear night skies revealing the sheer glory of the stars. I…

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In Praise of…… the Thank You note!

In Praise of…… the Thank You note!

  In my study in Temple House I have a wonderful large mantlepiece. It is big enough to house a variety of cards and pictures and odd ends that might be useful to keep. A friends’s parents clock marks the hour with beautiful chimes that echo in the room. Of course it needs clearing up from time to time but the cards that I dont throw away are Thank you notes from a variety of people. A wedding couple grateful for the…

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In Praise of

In Praise of

The Bank Holiday!! First a liitle bit of explanation and history : A bank holiday is a public holiday in the United Kingdom and also in the Republic of Ireland. There is no right to time off on these days, although the majority of the population not employed in essential services (e.g. utilities, fire, ambulance, police,  health-care workers) receive them as holidays; those employed in essential services usually receive extra pay for working on these days. Bank holidays are so…

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In praise of the long lie in!

In praise of the long lie in!

Can you ever get too much sleep? How much sleep do you need? What is your bed like ( rather forward question I know …) When did you linger there – curled up under the duvet and drifting in and out of sleep? I like lots of pillows and surrounded by books there is nothing better than a large jug of coffee tucked in under the sheets and ignoring the world outside. Retreat and escape away from the noise and…

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In praise of

In praise of

THE OBITUARY!   I have enjoyed reading the newspapers. Catholic in taste I have tried to vary the diet – I like the Telegraph for its lay out and clarity though the crosswords are impossible! I especially appreciate the obituaries! I picked up a collection of obits by Hugh Massingberd who was the Telegraph obits editor for some time. In his obituary the writer warmly told us that, Hugh made people feel better about themselves. Hugh knew instinctively that it…

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In Praise of…..

In Praise of…..

Johnny Cash! Thanks to friends I have a recorder which helps me in my research and also gives me the chance to listen to music – I have mastered the art of downloading music – which is a great in the absence of radio and television.  My new discovery is Country and Western – (now stop that uncontrollable laughter) and the King – Johnny Cash. There is a wonderful collection of ballads – called Ultimate Gospel –   Its easy…

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In praise of …

In praise of …

Spring! This is my last weekend at VTS and I prepare to fly off to Chicago on Wednesday. I do not quite know where the month has gone – but I am full of deep gratitude to the community here for its space and hospitality. I take away many happy memories of people and conversations and hope that I might return some time. When I arrived the trees were empty of any obvious life – and now as I look…

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In praise of ……

In praise of ……

  THE T SHIRT AND ITS SLOGAN!!! Time for a smile – (I hope). I popped into Alexandria this morning to sort out a few things – and to buy a couple of T shirts. It is very warm….. In the land of slogans here are some of my favourite ones that have found their way onto the front or back of of this cheap cotton garment:(advance notice of my apologies for revealing the darker side of my sense of…

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In praise of …….

In praise of …….

          READING BOOKS – ESPECIALLY IF THEY ARE YOURS!! The sun is high in the sky and doing its work without any hindrance from the clouds. I think that the temperature must be somewhere in the early 80’s and I buy some sun cream as a precaution. I will sit in and worship (the sun) a little later when it is less harsh on my fair skin. The President and Dean of VTS, Dr Ian Markham and his wife Leslie…

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