Thursday, November 30, 2006

Freedom.

There is a wonderful post in the online Chicago Tribune about the dire political situation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the increasing restrictions placed on it by the Government here .

It makes scary and sobering reading.

It also makes me count my blessings that I am free to worship however I choose in this country, for the time being, at least...........
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Drunk and Orderly

The UK licensing of non-stop drinking has, according to Government figures, not caused any increase in drunken loutish behaviour.

If you believe that, you will believe anything.

One police blog gives the truth - that police officers in places are being told by their superiors not to arrest louts for drunken behaviour which breaks the Public Order Act because it is counted as violent crime and this then puts the police force in that area up over its target for violent crime figures, thereby giving the lie to to the official figures about drunken behaviour and crime.

Heaven forbid that accurate statistics could ever be welcomed by the Government.....

For the full article, I recommend you go here
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A Funny Smell In The Fridge

This is just a random item I found whilst blog-surfing, and it really made me smile.

All - and probably more- than you ever wanted to know about dirt..... and why it smells the way it does. It even has pretty pictures !
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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Historic Meeting

Echoing the views of Occidentalis here with this prayer for Pope Benedict and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew at their historic meeting this week:-


O Holy Father, from Whom all blessings flow, we come before Thee in meekness and bow down: humbly we beseech Thee to look kindly upon the meeting of Patriarch Bartholomew, Archbishop of Constantinople, and Pope Benedict, Pontiff of Rome.

For too long, there hath been division and alienation in the Church, when there should have been the unity of the Body of Christ. We beg Thy mercy and wisdom, O Lord, to provide for the welfare of the holy churches of God and for their union. Let this occasion of fellowship be for the healing of old disputes.

In Thy infinite power, protect these Shepherds of the Great and Holy Pasture of Christ. Shield them, and all who attend, from the peril of harm. And in Thy matchless grace, establish a bright new work in these latter days, so that the world might see the Face of Christ; so that men and women might repent, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and be saved in the Apostolic Church of God.

For these supplications, we humbly beseech Thee, Holy Father, hear us and have mercy.
+++

To which I heartily say Amen, Amen , Amen.
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Google in Latin !!

I kid you not, you can now conduct your Google searches in LATIN ! :-)
Give it a go here
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Monday, November 27, 2006

All Hailed Out

It was a glorious morning when I took mad bad Basil for his long walk.
It was still glorious when DoomHamster and I went to town to meet up with my mother.

Then it rained. So after seeing my mother safely onto her bus stop, we decided to catch a bus home ourselves, but still had about ten minutes to wait, so we browsed in our local bookshop (of course !) only to see our bus sailing past us and the prospect of another half hour`s wait till the next one.
Botheration. The rain had eased off somewhat, so we decided to brave the elements and walk home; which we managed to do without actually getting wet.
It really was much too good to last though.......


When it was time to pick the small people up from school, it still looked a little overcast, so I grabbed the children`s umbrellas on my way out through the door. The thought did cross my mind that perhaps I should put on my waterproof jacket rather than my fleece, but I rather rashly did not listen to the inner voice of sanity and reason. I should have known better, I suppose.

It started to rain as DD4 exited her classroom door, so up went her umbrella. She had fallen over on the tarmac playground surface during outdoor play and grazed her cheek, knee and forehead, so she looked rather worse for wear. We walked round the school to retrieve DD3, and up went her umbrella too. I hadn`t bothered to pick up my own umbrella, of course :-)

We were about half way home when the heavens opened and a horrific hailstorm began. The hailstones were bouncing up off the pavement and into our shoes, which was NOT pleasant, and within a very few seconds we were soaked through and stung by the hailstones of doom.

Luckily at the end of the long road is an enclosed public telephone box, so the two children and I, plus one of their schoolfriends and her mother, all managed to cram into this shelter till the storm passed. There was one problem; there was not room for the umbrellas, and I didn`t want to leave them outside as they would have been blown away by the high winds, so I rashly poked my arm out through the slightly ajar door and held the umbrellas outside.
Ouch.

We squelched home, quite literally, as we all had soaking shoes, tights and socks. The shoes are al stuffed with newspaper and near a radiator to dry out before the morning - I hope !

I know exactly why all this happened. It had nothing to do with the Weather Butterfly, global warming or any scientific reason.

It was all because the local council had chosen today to erect the municpal Christmas tree on our main roundabout in town. We will be cursed with high winds and storms for at least a fortnight, till the poor pine tree is but a travesty of its former self and leans forlornly at a bizarre and improbable angle .

It happens EVERY YEAR, but with eternal optimism, every year the Christmas Tree goes up !
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Saturday, November 25, 2006

The Killing Of A King

UPDATE

Doh ! I cannot believe I was stupid enough to say it was the queen`s father when it was, of course, her grandfather. I blame it on insufficient caffeine.....
Many thanks for all those who kindly pointed it out and it has been duly amended.
****************************************************************************

Sometimes it seems as though euthanasia is a modern concept, to judge by the items which appear in the news.

A rather more shocking fact has recently come to light relating to the death of our Queen`s grandfather, whose existence was coldly, calmly and calculatedly terminated by lethal injection by his attending doctor so that the king`s death could be announced at a convenient and "fitting" time.

Full story here from the British Medical Journal, with commentary from a British GP here .

I was appalled and shocked at the reasons given, and can only imagine the Queen`s grief at finding out the truth of what happened to her beloved Grandfather............
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Big Grin

Ta-da !
We have Broadband :-)
It has been a saga and a half; but there again, nothing is ever straightforward in our house......

When the modem etc came, the cable was only 3m long. We need a minimum 10m from the phone point to the room where the computer is. So we went and bought a wireless router, thinking to bypass the problem. Guess what, there is no power supply anywhere near the main telephone point.

Botheration.

So we had to order a special RJ11 10m long cable and wait for it to be delivered and then we had to plumb the cable in through drilled holes in internal walls before we could set the whole shebang up. So what in theory should have taken much less than an hour has actually taken 3 whole days.

But it has been worth it :-)
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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Post-Dentist

My visit to the dentist was unpleasant but brief.
It went well on a technical level, though I felt sick and shaky afterwards, which is very unusual indeed for me.
It`s a bit sore now that all the lignocaine has worn off, so I will most likely be heading for painkillers soon :-)

And it is only one more day till DH comes home and we get Broadband !!!!!
:-))))))))))))
Yabba Dabba Doo !
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Forebodings

Access to broadband is looming ever closer, but so is my dread appointment of doom with the dentist at 11.30am.
I know it is going to be unpleasant; I have chipped a bit off one of my molars and there is an abscess there.

Oh joy, oh bliss !
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Happy Feast Day

The joy of the Feast be yours !

Kontakion in the Fourth Tone

Today, the most pure temple of the Savior, the precious bridal chamber and Virgin, the sacred treasure of God, enters the house of the Lord, bringing the grace of the Divine Spirit. The Angels of God praise her. She is the heavenly tabernacle.

Amen, amen, amen !
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Monday, November 20, 2006

Dragons and Sausages

Dave Holford has some pertinent observations about Dragon sausages which are worth perusing.
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So Near And Yet So Far !

Our new Broadband gizmo has arrived today, and DH the computer Whiz won`t be home till Weds evening.
I know if I start fiddling with the computer, it is likely to be the kiss of death for the poor machine, so I am trying to wait patiently and failing miserably.

Broadband is within my grasp and yet so far away.
Grin.

Patience is not my greatest virtue.............
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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Orthodox Roundup 2

*****UPDATE to include amendments:-

The irrepressible but irregularly posting catechumen DoomHamster has put finger to keyboard to record her thoughts on attending her first Orthodox funeral

Dave Holford`s site has been changed due to unforeseen circumstances to
here ****




Hi folks, and welcome to the Orthodox Roundup 2.

Apologies for it being late; this is due to our ISP managing to accidentally terminate our account one month before they were supposed to :-)

A Happy and Blessed Advent to you all !

In light of the Fast, I have to mention that Grace over at This Side Of Glory has a gorgeous post You Know You`re Orthodox If.......


Huw Raphael at Doxos has a great post about various hypothetical "brands" of Orthodoxy.
Well worth a read and a chuckle, but tinged with sadness at the fact that so many of these divisions do in fact exist. Sigh.


Father Stephen makes some wise observations about Preserving Peace Of Soul, from St Seraphim of Sarov. The Fast isn`t just about food; it is about turning our thoughts and hearts more fully to God. He also writes about where we pray
and about the immense wisdom of St Isaac of Syria as well as one of his first icon encounters.

Micahel at Sarisburium makes some pertinent comments about the feasability and indeed the advisability of creating a national British pan-Orthodox Church here , followed closely with his essay on Western-Rite Orthodoxy which debunks many popular misconceptions about the Western Rite. The common heritage of the Undivided Church is obvious when comparing some of the liturgical texts according to Ben Johnson.

Fr John Parker writes eloquently about Salvation and whether we know if we are saved.

Alana at Morning Coffee tells of planning Sunday school lessons, and how the Old Testament figures were able to have such a vibrant, living trusting relationship with God.

Fr John Whiteford has a great article about the life and work of Protopriest Seraphim Slobodskoy, author of the classic catechetical text, The Law Of God.

The Indiana list occasionally throws up some gems, one of which was a reference to a news article about the Staff and Vestments of Metropolitan Philaret of blessed memory being taken to Russia. There is also a video link here .

A solemn Requiem service was held in Moscow on the 11th November, commemorating the 185th anniversary of the birth of the great novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky; details can be read here . There are many other items of interest on the site !

Fr Peter gives news of a website devoted to the meeting of Patriarch Bartholomew and Pope Benedict.

From Luz comes sad news indeed of the horrific death of a 14 year-old Christian Assyrian boy here. The Scrivener also details the horrors of being a Christian in Iraq at present.

Lord, have mercy.

The trials and tribulations of a neophyte Reader are vividly and hilariously detailed by James of Paradosis fame.

Subdeacon Seraphim writes a Cautionary Tale about the necessity for making your family and friends aware of your wishes relating to your funeral arrangements .
On a more mundane but also important level for those lef behind after a loved one dies, is a practical post about letting family know how to access your online data to sort out any necessary business after death here .

Dave Holford writes about almost-official British medical policy relating to killing disabled babies , closely followed by considered Anglican opinions about the same issue and also writes about the great Welsh saint, Dyfrig .


MaryPoppinsNOT, a Byzantine - Rite Catholic blogger describes what happened when she took a fast from blogging here ......... !

Deb volunteers a favourite article about Orthodoxy, Postmodernity and the emerging Church by Steve Hayes . Thanks Deb !

Next Issue of the Roundup should be in 2 weeks time. Any submissions will be thankfully received :-)
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Monday, November 13, 2006

Cars

This weekend we took the small fry to see Cars at the local cinema, as it was showing at the Kids Club, where one adult can go in free with each child ticket paid for.

Why have I not realised how GOOD this film is before ?
Why aren`t folk jumping up and down about this film ?
The graphics are utterly amazing, it was exciting, the story was good and it had a moral.
And I LOVED it !
I`ve enjoyed all the Pixar films, but this really was something special.

I will be getting this on DVD for sure when it is released. I can`t wait to see it again, LOL.
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Taking The Plunge

Well, folks, I have taken the plunge and upgraded my dear little blog to the Beta version.

It is certainly a lot easier to make changes to the layout of the site, without having to delve deeply into the dark and fearsome mysteries of HTML and CSS, words which are guaranteed to leave any residual brain cells attempting to hide in a corner and cry !.........
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Heavenly Images

Reported today, the finding of a magnificent series of late 11th century wall-paintings hidden under layers of plaster at a disused and neglected church in Norfolk.

no pictures as yet, but the full story is here

How exciting ! Frescoes 900 years old. Going to so many old churches, it is difficult to imagine now how they must have looked when they were first built, and were riots of colour and paintings.......
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The Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month

DD3 aged 8 was proud and privileged to take part in the community`s 11th November commemorations here in Blogsville on Saturday.

A group of children from her school, most from her class, led the singing of classic war-time songs for twenty minutes prior to the two minute silence and prayers, and the mayoral speech.

Despite unpleasant weather, there was considerable support from the community and a jolly good time was had by all.

A poignant moment was afterwards, when an elderly Army veteran, whose great-coat was emblazoned with a large number of medals, made a point of personally speaking and shaking the hand of each of the twenty-eight children who participated, and thanked them for remembering those who gave their lives, and those who sacrificed their long-term health for our freedom.

It is a hard-won freedom which many people seem to have little respect for, and in the case of New Labour, seem to be actively undermining, but we are determined that our kids at least will understand and will remember and will be thankful for what these brave folk did for us.

For The Fallen
With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years contemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.


They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England's foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness

Laurence Binyon, published 1931

To The Fallen : Memory Eternal !
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Happy Happy Joy Joy

I am doing the very happy dance at the moment, for a very mundane reason, but.....

DH has finally agreed that we can get Broadband :-) on condition that I sacrifice my mobile phone contract to help pay for it, which seems a small price to pay.

So we hope to be ready for action by about 26th November.........

Oh joy, oh bliss !
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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Last Night`s TV

Last night I watched BBC Horizon`s special on pandemic avian flu.
It was sobering viewing.

There are going to be major ethical dilemmas as to whom will receive anti-viral and intensive care and who won`t. It seems likely that the over 60s are at lesser risk of dying anyway,due to the way their immune systems are likely to handle cytokine storms, and some of the medical experts interviewed expressed opinions that the group which should be targeted for medical support in the event of infection should be basically "socially productive adults" aged 20 to 50, in whom society has invested education and training. Young children and the elderly are likely to be out of the loop.

Isolation for up to 6 months till appropriate vaccines are developed may be necessary, and how many folk have food, water, medication and fuel stockpiled for that long ? The government won`t be providing it, that`s for sure. People need to prepare, even on a basic level, even if only for a few weeks` supplies.

The programme interviewed one USA couple who showed the seriously impressive preparations they had made, including generators, batteries etc . I couldn`t help thinking that once the Pandemic hits, their neighbours will now know about their stockpile and they are likely to get looted in the panic as food , water and toiletries become in short supply.

Shops will run out, and distribution networks could be very severely disrupted due to quarantines, staff illnesses and people staying at home for fear of infection .

It made me stop and think. I think I will be seriously reviewing my preparedness plans.

Information about the program, and some of the dilemmas can be found here
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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Eyeball Popping

Literally.
I kid you not. I would not have thought this was physically possible, but there you are.......

I found this today on a medical blog. It features graphic photos and video of people who can literally make their eyeballs pop out.

Be warned, it is truly bizarre and VERY GRAPHIC.

Yuck
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Name Sharing

I was amused to find that apparently there is no-one in the US with my combination of legal first name and surname.

Go check your own !
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Die Grosse Stille/ Into Great Silence - Coming Soon !

The film about La Grande Chartreuse Carthusian monastery which depicts the life of the monks, is now available on DVD for those of you who are familiar with Italian :-)

The RC Fr Tim Finigan describes how the film moved him here

I can`t wait.
I don`t want to wait.
I want it NOW !!

So I definitely need to wait for it to be released in an English version , LOL.

It will be shown in cinemas across the UK in Nov/Dec 2006.
I have contacted the company to ask if they have a DVD release date, but in the meantime, this link will take you to their company`s press release page .

Just imagine what a film like this about Mount Athos would be like ? I wish someone would do one for Orthodox monasticism......
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Friday, November 03, 2006

Round-Up Plea

For those of you who have enjoyed the Round-Up, *please* mention it on your own blogs and provide a link to the post, so we can get as many people participating in it as possible.

We all have such varied blog-rolls that there must be loads of interesting posts on good sites out there in Cyberia which do not get the readership they deserve.

Let`s change that !
I`ve already started on the next issue....... LOL.
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Generating Things

No, this has absolutely nothing to do with self-sufficiency !

You may remember the Church Sign Generator......

There is a site which now gives you the ability to create your own cyber-seals, concert tickets, cassette and vinyl spoofs, political figures saying things, including Tony Blair, LOL.

I particularly liked Pave the Moon :-)
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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Halloween Special - Orthodox Round-Up Number One

I was a little surprised that last night, we hadn`t had a single trick or treater visit our home by 7.15pm. I even said so to my DH when he phoned up from work.
No sooner had I put the phone down when there was a knock at the door, and there were two beautifully behaved and nicely costumed children.

We had two more visits in the next half-hour, and that was it.

I had said Vespers in the Icon corner, with the lampada lit, in deference to it being Western-Rite All Hallows Even.

For many non-Orthodox or even non-RC Christians, our concept of the Communion of Saints and the great cloud of Witnesses is hard to grasp. It seems entirely natural to me and to my children, who, young as they are, understand that our beloved dead are dead only in body and that they do most truly live and rejoice in Christ.

It is entirely appropriate that in the historic first millenial Orthodox tradition of Britain that All Saints`Day is so immediately followed by All Souls` day, when we can remember those who have gone to their rest before us and for us to pray for their souls.
May their Memories be Eternal, O Lord !

Fr Joseph has an interesting post on Halloween and asks why there aren`t Old Calendar Pagans.....

Remembering Vladika John was posted by Fr John Whiteford recently, and is an edifying read.

Seraphima at A Catechumen`s Walk blogs eloquently about the soul`s need for healing at the Spiritual Hospital.

From the Tundra Medicine Dreams blog comes a wonderful account of an Orthodox Alaskan Yupik village funeral as observed by a non-Orthodox. Sometimes it is very enlightening to see ourselves from the viewpoint of an outsider......


Deb provides a link to the Orthodox resources at YouTube. This could end up being a brilliant resource :-)

Please keep the nominations coming in !
Next Round-Up will most likely be in 2 weeks time.
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The Orthodox Round-Up

The medical sites have a weekly "Grand Rounds" compilation of aricles and blogposts of noteworthy interest.
I got to thinking that this might be a jolly good idea for us Ortho-bloggers too. We all have different sites we visit, and it is almost impossible for one person to keep up with them all.

What I propose is this:-

I do a fortnightly (or weekly, if demand warrants it!) round-up of Orthodox-interest posts we have particularly enjoyed, but this means I need help from you all, gentle readers :-) If you have seen blogposts you want to recommend for inclusion, please drop me a line at orthodox dot mum at ntlworld dot com and we`ll see what happens !
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