Thursday, June 30, 2005


For those of you have inquired about DD1`s driving test, suffice it to say she was unsuccessful, and she was so traumatised by the event that she has not said a word about it.


So we have thought it best not to inquire too closely, until she feels ready to talk about it.

I can sympathise; I have never felt such utter panic in my life as I did when I took my two driving tests. I didn`t know whether I wanted to be physically sick or doubly incontinent first, such was my terror. Ironically, everyone said I could drive well; I just found the test itself so traumatic.

Stupidly, I threw in the towel and never bothered to try again, which I bitterly regret now.

One of her friends has just passed on her fourth attempt, which has heartened her no end. It is a case of perseverance and endurance. But it is still no fun.
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New Ortho-Blogger Priest !

Welcome to Fr John Parker, who has entered Blogworld, and has written a brilliant piece on his blog.
Go visit him here .
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Wednesday, June 29, 2005

More on the Tsars

Further to the last post, I had a quick Google and brought up a tarot website, which has a glorious quote :

"Golden Tarot of the Tsar is a misnomer, a deck without home in the dwellings of the tsars. The Russian tsars, like their medieval French and English kingly counterparts, were chosen by their God to guide the secular nation according to His Will. They were the defenders of the faithful, the scourge of heresy, and religiously orthodox of the orthodox—literally and well as figuratively in the case of the Russian tsars, who were devoted sons of the Russian Orthodox Church. On no account would a tsar have possessed a tarot deck, much less one commissioned personally for his use. One might as well expect Pope John Paul II to run a Kabalistic hotline in his spare time, or Billy Graham to set up shop as a Reiki consultant. "

End Quote.

Quite So.
`Nuff Said !!
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Surprise on Ebay

I was ambling through Ebay today, which I do on a regular basis, looking for items relating to our family history.
I typed in Orthodox Christian, and look at what popped up in the results...
Tarot of the Tsar

The blurb states :-
"Golden Tarot of the Tsar
Author: A.A. Atanassov
Publisher: Lo Scarabeo

A luxurious looking tarot based on the iconic art of Russian Orthodox Christianity. The Golden Tarot of the Tsar is one of Lo Scarabeo's metallic decks, the saints and biblical scenes have textured gold backgrounds.The latest of Lo Scarabeo's stunning metallic decks, The Golden Tarot of Tsar is printed with shining gold foil, evocative of the richness of the art of the Tsars. Atanassov meticulously captures the intricate art of the Russian miniaturists who exemplified the art of this time. He also brilliantly merges the archetypes of the Tarot with the histories of Christian saints. Just as the saints achieved spiritual enlightenment and expressed their precepts in their daily actions, so the Tarot helps us access the spiritual and manifest it in our everyday lives."

End Quote.

Words fail me. This is something I would undoubtedly have rushed to buy in my neo-pagan flirtation days. Not any more.
I would much prefer to read the lives of the Holy Saints on a daily basis .
Why anyone would go to all this trouble to create a set of cards when they could truly access Russian spirituality through Holy Orthodoxy alone defeats me.

Though I must admit that I would be interested to Google and see what saints they envisage as archetypes for certain Tarot concepts.
I imagine the Crucifixion for Death, the Theotokos for the Empress etc.

Anyway, enough of the babble about the oddities to be found on Ebay.

Time for Terce prayers !!
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Bible Reading Schedule

I do try to read my copy of the Bible and the Holy Fathers for Orthodox on a daily basis, but I have long wanted to try to read the whole Bible through in a systematic fashion.

Kudos to Michael for linking to this, which I will start TODAY and pin up next to the computer as an added incentive........... LOL
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All Quiet on the Western Front

It has all been a bit quiet recently :-)
The rash is gone, I have only two more antibiotics to take.
My back is still sore from the fall, but only slightly worse than normal.
All family members are well.

Made contact yesterday with a bookseller who has very kindly given me a bargain on four books I have wanted for a long time....only 170USD for all four. Two books are about Walsingham and are rarer than hen`s teeth and about as expensive. One of them alone is being sold at 190 USD here in the UK !!

Another book is about the great Anglican Tractarian hero Fr Tooth, who was imprisoned in England in the 1800s for " excessive ritualism" (I kid you not!) as he started to have candles on the altar and to wear vestments etc during church services.. Goodness knows what they would have done to Orthodox priests then !!

Last but not least, I have acquired a copy of + Kallistos` book The Festal Menaion for a knockdown price.

I am happy. Whether DH will be is quite another matter, as he is baffled by my seemingly never-ending capacity for book-buying and reading ...... He jokes that I see a book and have to buy it :-)

I will need to seriously curtail my spending for the next few months, as I am way over budget on personal expenditure. But I will have so much fun reading, LOL.
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Saturday, June 25, 2005

Not such a good day.

Rash is almost completely gone and I am half-way through the antibiotics.
DD1 failed her driving test, and has been very downcast about it.

And this morning, I was carrying Abby downstairs and she was carrying some small plastic toys. She dropped one on the stairs and I slipped on it, so we both fell halfway downstairs. Luckily she was being held in front of me, so she rode down the stairs on my stomach, whilst I hit my spine and arms on every step. She was scared but unhurt.
It was most painful and my language was unbefitting both a lady and a Christian :-(
The horrendous crashing sounds sure got my DH out of bed at warp speed though :-0

I have done something to my right arm, though, and I have constant pins and needles and pain.
Ho hum. I would never have the courage to be a martyr.......
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Friday, June 24, 2005

Misc Notes

I am glad to report that the antibiotics are working, and there is improvement in the leg department.

DD1 has her practical driving test this morning, and we are currently in the throes of some spectacular thunder and lightning and torrential rain, which is going to make driving fun for her .........

DH continues the decorating in his methodical yet utterly perfectionist way - looking good so far.

DD4`s speech is improving , and we can now have fairly coherent conversations, despite her only having had 2 NHS speech therapy sessions. She can`t have any more because her therapist has moved from the area......they hope to be able to see her again when she`s 4.
I am not going to comment on this, in case I start to rant and rave.

And I just feel happy. :-)

When did Blogger start incorporating an "add image" to the Create Posts menu bar ?No-one told me......LOL. I`ve been using Picasa and/or Hello, depending on how much tweaking the pictures needed.
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Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Rash Revisited

I really wish I hadn`t shaved my legs.
Been to the doctor`s, and I have a rip-roaring full blown cellulitis, which he is very concerned about.
One calf is 3/4 of an inch bigger than the other due to the infection.

I have come home with Erythromycin tablets, four per day for seven days, and with strict instructions that if the rash is not significantly better by tomorrow, I have to return to see him immediately, either for a change of antibiotics or maybe hospitalisation.

See, I knew it was vanity, and look where it`s got me :-)
The razor is going OUT !!
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A Parable Of Sorts

Once upon a time, there was a rich merchant in China. As was the custom then, he had four wives.

His first wife was deeply loyal and devoted, but he did not love her and scarcely paid any attention to her, despite all her care and love for him over many long years.

His second wife was patient and wise, and always helpful when things were tough, and for this he did love her.

His third wife - oh, he loved her very much, and was proud of her accomplishments. He took delight in showing her off to his friends and acquaintances, but he was always a little fearful that one day she might run away with one of them.

His fourth wife was the youngest, the most beautiful, and the most deeply loved. He delighted in adorning her with lovely clothes and jewellery, and showered her with treats.

One day, however, the merchant fell ill and realised that the end of his life was drawing near. He asked his fourth wife to visit him.
"I loved you the best and gave you the finest that I had. Will you now follow me in death ?" he asked.
"No way !" she replied contemptuously, in a way that cut him to the heart, and swept away without a backward glance.

He then summoned the third wife and said " I have loved you for a long time. Come with me in death"
She laughed her clever laugh and commented "Oh, I will soon belong to someone else when you are dead and gone".

The merchant`s heart turned cold as ice, and he called for his second wife, who wasn`t far away. " I always turned to you when I needed help. When I die, will you follow me and be my compnaion ?"
"I cannot do that" she replied regretfully" But I can see you to your graveside".

The merchant was devastated. Suddenly he heard a quiet voice say "I will go with you. I will follow you wherever you may go, even unto death itself".
It was his neglected, starving and unloved first wife.

Grieved at his folly, the merchant cried "You ! I should have taken more care of you than all the others, while I had the opportunity ! "

We all have four "wives".
The fourth is our body, and no matter how much we lavish on it, it will be the first to leave us in death.
The third wife is our possessions, and when we die, they will be dispersed to our friends, relatives or creditors.
The second wife symbolises our family and friends. However close they have been to us in this life, they cannot yet follow us past the grave.
But that first, neglected and unloved wife - she is our soul, the only one who can continue the journey beyond this transitory life, if we take care of her while we can, while we are still alive.

I tell you, this made me stop in my tracks, and think !

It is adapted from Carol Bonomo`s book "Humble Pie . St Benedict`s Ladder of Humility", which is my current reading.
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Random Baby Thoughts

A while ago, I unearthed a stash of tiny baby clothes put safely away.
Bear in mind I have been richly blessed with four daughters aged from 19 to 3.
I have kept a few clothes of immense sentimental value, such as a few dresses that my late father bought for my eldest daughter before he died, but I know that there are plenty of families who could benefit from those baby clothes, so I decided they could go to the local free Community Chest.

So, on Saturday, I re-washed all the clothes and hung them on the line to dry in the sun. I sat and watched them blowing in the wind, and I could have cried at thought that I would never again have another baby of my very own to hold in my arms.

Crazy, when I have four wonderful children, I`m 41 and know that for serious and valid medical reasons I must never again become pregnant. But to see those baby clothes blowing in the wind before I give them away was like watching a book being slammed shut. Ker-bam, that`s it, no more babies :-(

But on the bright side, I can look forward to grandchildren in due course :-)
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No, I haven`t done anything rash...or actually, perhaps I have.

In a fit of sun-induced lunacy, I decided to shave my legs on Sunday.
On Monday, my legs seemed a bit sore, so I plastered them with lotion.

Yesterday, my legs were scarlet, covered in lumps and quite incredibly sanity-threateningly itchy, so I am off to the doctor`s today.
Looks like a follicular rash which is starting to get infected, so I may end up antibiotics. Oh joy, oh bliss.

I think DH is just going to have to put up with hairy legs.
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The Return of the Native

DH arrived safely home yesterday evening, bearing gifts for all, but with a red face and arms. After my pointing and shrieking, he explained that yes, he had been using his suncream, and the damage wasn`t done at Le Mans, but on the ferry on the way back to the UK, when they all sat on deck for the 5 hour crossing. Now, that was *not* bright , considering it was scorching yesterday :-)

They all had a good time; the weather was amazing. at one point it hit 35 degrees, which he assures me is very hot.
So hot, in fact, that parts of the race track started to bubble and melt, which I find amazing.

It is good to have him safely home. He was only away for six nights but it seemed like an eternity. Things are back to I get to do all his dirty holiday laundry, LOL.
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Monday, June 20, 2005

PDF Problems

I have resolved my problems with the Small Horologion.....I was using Adobe Acrobat reader, and it persistently reported errors, which was most frustrating.
I had a trawl on the Web and discovered another free PDF reader called Foxit reader, which reads the troublesome files perfectly. Woohoo !
Now to print out my Horologion and get it bound :-)))))))))

Many heartfelt thanks to the kind person whose labour of love it has been to produce the Horologion. The only thing I could ever criticise is the fact that there is no liturgical use of "Thee" and "Thou" .

I know I am a liturgical stick-in-the-mud, but I do love the traditional English.
If there was an Orthodox equivalent of the Prayer Book Society, I would be in it.......
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Current Reading

This weekend I have read:-
Prison Diaries vol 2 by Jeffrey Archer
Prison Diaries vol 3 by Jeffrey Archer

The Quotidian Mysteries: Laundry, Liturgy and "Women`s Work" by Kathleen Norris.

An interesting juxtaposition, I have to say :-)
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Saturday, June 18, 2005


Has anyone else tried to download the Small Printable Horologion from this site ?
I can download the read me file, and then when I try to download the remaining files, they just come up completely blank.
I have tried disabling my Norton Internet Security etc but to no avail.
Please can someone else have a go and see what happens ?
Thanks :-)
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Sundry Prayers

I thought you might like to see some prayers from "Orthodox Prayers of Old England", so for your edification here are :-

A Prayer Against Gossips
Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that we may care nothing for the reproaches of reprobate minds, but, trampling on the same sort of depravity, we pray that Thou wouldst not suffer us to be threatened by unjust injuries, nor entangled in captious flattery, but rather love that which Thou dost command. +Through Christ our Lord. Amen

Prayer of St Basil for Animal Friends
O God, grant us a deeper sense of companionship with all living things, our little brothers and sisters to whom Thou hast given this earth as home, in common with us. We recall with remorse that in the past we have acted high-handedly and cruelly in exercising our domain over them. Thus the voice of the earth, which should have risen to thee in song , is become a groan of travail. May we understand that all these creatures live not only for us, but for themselves and for Thee, and that they love the sweetness of life even as we do, and serve Thee better in their way than we do in ours. Amen.

I imagine that this last is included because of St John`s great love of Western Orthodox saints and all he did to encourage devotion to them and the preservation of Western- rite Orthodoxy during his time as Bishop in France.

To St John of San Francisco (+1966)
Entreat thou the Holy Trinity for us, o holy John, herald of incorruption. Help us to avoid the scandals of these dark and evil times, and keep us in the fulness of Divine grace, that amidst hymn-chanting choirs of the angels, we may lift to heaven our unceasing alleluya.
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Just for Matt, a better photo which shows the High Altar and the Easter Candle :-) Posted by Hello
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Friday, June 17, 2005

The High Altar of the church where I worshipped before I became Orthodox..... Posted by Hello
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Past Thoughts

I was a strange child.
Nothing really changed there except the height, I hear members of my family mutter....
Thinking about some of the youngsters we hear about in the news, with numerous ASBO awarded by the courts etc, I was **weird**.

We were an unchurched family. I had never been baptised, for every time my parents attempted to arrange it, the Rector of the parish where we lived when I was born , promptly had a heart attack, poor man. I am not even going to attempt to analyse this :-)

As a child of about 8, I started going to Baptist Sunday School with a schoolfriend, which was OK, until they started getting a member of the Sunday School to stand up in the vast church to read Bible Verses. This chapel would easily hold a thousand people, and nothing on the planet could have induced me to stand up in front of that number of people and read.
Consequently, when it rolled around to be my turn to read in public, I refused to set foot there ever again.

That left an interval of about 4 years, in which time I was inwardly still seeking God, but didn`t know where to start. My family didn`t know anyone who went to church, and I was too scared to set foot in any of the Churches in our town on my own.
When my mum changed jobs, one of the ladies she worked with mentioned that she went to St X`s church, and my mum mentioned this to me one day in passing. I asked her to ask her colleague if I could go with her, and that was that, as they say.

It was a lovely, purpose-built Anglo-Catholic church whose amazing High Church liturgy made the local post -Vatican II RCs look like Protestants and I loved it. Hence my still-lingering love of the Old Sarum Western-Rite.
I went to High Mass every Sunday, and Evensong with Benediction, and rapidly I started going to daily Mass and Evensong.

Remember, I was about 12 at this point.
I was Baptised and Confirmed, and began to serve at Low Mass every single day without fail, for none of the altar boys went to Low Mass at all.
I was not allowed to serve at High Mass on Sundays or Feasts, for that was a boy`s job , but that was right and proper in my mind.
I still wish I had not badgered to be allowed to serve at Mass at all, for I am sure that was the slippery slope for that particlar church.......I set a precedent.

I was soon promoted to being in charge of tending the Lampada in front of the Blessed Sacrament, and then to preparing the vestments and the church for each Low Mass. I even had my own key to the sacristy, though not to the safe where the Silver Sacred Vessels where kept. I had to wait for the officiating clergy to arrive before I could access that key :-)

I checked the Ordo, laid out the appropriate vestments and prepared the Sacred Vessels. I even washed and ironed the altar linen when needed.
I was then responsible for locking up the church after the evening Mass.
On Thursday mornings, Mass was said by a retired priest of immense holiness, and this meant being in church by 7.30 am to get everything ready, and I would go straight to school from Mass.

I was blessed to be so trusted, and to participate so fully in the life of that Parish. It was one of the assistant curates to who lent me Bishop Kallistos` "The Orthodox Church" and various prayer books, which started me on the path to Holy Orthodoxy, for which I shall be eternally thankful. May God bless and preserve you, Fr John !!

Those were such fun days....but was this normal behaviour for a teenager ? Certainly not by today`s standards.
Like I said, I was weird........ :-)
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Ringing Phone

Often, when I hear the phone ring, I will mutter under my breath, who on earth is it this time ?
I am actually quite a gregarious person, but my home is my castle as well as my church.
One of the reasons I like my mobile is that I can see **who** is calling me.
I hate not knowing who is going to be on the line. All too often , despite being ex-directory and registered not to receive direct-selling calls, it is the phone equivalent of junk mail ;-(

Anyway, to cut to the chase.....
I had a call from the DH to say he has arrived safely at Le Mans, Glory to God. What a relief.

Strangely, though he works away a lot, and we are used to him being away for a few nights at at time, it is knowing that he is in Britain and can get home in about an hour and a quarter if necessary that makes all the difference.

Knowing he is in France makes him seem very, very far away indeed, and we are all missing him :-(
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Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Loose End

DH has now departed on his trip to Le Mans, and the house just feels so empty without him.
I don`t like it at all :-(
Never mind, he will be home on Tuesday.
I said the prayers for travellers for him, and I think I will pray Vespers shortly.

On Monday I woke up at the crack of dawn..........(well, 5.30 am) and decided that I would pray all the day office hours in the Orthodox Prayers of Old England book.
Lauds at 6.00am,
Third hour at 9.00am
Sixth hour at noon,
Ninth hour at 3pm
Vespers at 6pm and Compline at 9pm
It was great to pray so much in one day, and I **really** enjoyed the privilege of joining in the Church`s worship but I was conscious of clockwatching to pray at the right times, and I found the day very "bitty" in terms of not being able to do any long projects.

Interestingly, on Tuesday I felt like a damp dischcloth, and "prayed out".
I am sure it would get much easier once in a regular routine.
I don`t think I could do it on a daily basis until Abby starts school in Sept, when my days will be my own from 08.45 am to 3.25pm, but I will certainly try to fit in daily offices wherever possible.
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I have decided to keep a log of what I read each week, excluding newspapers.
So far, it is an interesting eclectic mix !

In the last week I have read:-

Orthodox Prayers of Old England (ongoing)
Elder Macarius of Optina
The Oxford Book of late Medieval Verse and Prose (dipped into)
Fr Dolly, the Guardsman Monk (autobiographical of a RC soldier/Benedictine monk)
The Dean`s Watch by Elizabeth Goudge
**Maidlin to the Rescue by E.J. Oxenham
**The Chalet School Does It Again by E. Brent-Dyer
(** part of two series of school stories I have been collecting since I was a child. They are expensive and relatively hard to get hold of. I am still collecting them, as I want to have them to hand on to my grandchildren, LOL !)
The Handmaiden issues 1 and 2 of vol 9
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Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Orthodox Prayers of Old England

If any of you have a hankering to know what western Orthodox worship in England was like in pre-schism days, wonder no longer.
Run, don`t walk, and get hold of a copy of Fr Aidan Keller`s awesome book NOW from here

It is not a cheap book, at $40 but it is beautifully produced in hardback and worth every cent.
This is what the book contains :-

"Orthodox Prayers of Old England remains the most complete and most traditional Western Rite Orthodox prayer book ever published. It's 440 6" x 9" pages, Smythe-sewn, and hardbound in imitation dark blue leather with beautiful gold stamping on the front and spine.

Contents include:
- Basic Prayers
- Morning Prayers
- Evening Prayers
- Table Blessings

-Reverences in Church
- Preparation for Holy Communion
- Order of Divine Services on Sundays and Feasts
- Prayers before the Divine Office
- Vespers for Sat., Sun., Mon., Tues., Wed., Thur., Fri.
- Compline (for reg. days, feasts, Our Lady)
- Matins and Lauds for Sundays
- Third Hour -
Sun. Water Blessing, Sprinkling, and Procession with Bidding Prayers
- Divine Liturgy (Sarum Liturgy, incl. Hierarchical items)
+ Bread Blessing
- Thanksgiving after Holy Communion
- Notes About the Liturgy (patristic sources of the prayers, spiritual interpretation)
- Sixth Hour
- Ninth Hour
- Presanctified (for Lenten weekdays)
- Missa Sicca (Western Rite Typika)
- Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, incl. all things added for Hierarchical
- Gaelic Litany of the Holy Virgin Mary
- Litany of the Saints with Final Collects
- Jesus Prayer
- Salutations Before the Holy Cross
- Prayers of Remembrance (memoriser or intercession)
- Seven Penitential Psalms
- Fifteen Gradual Psalms with Collects
- Little Office of the Holy Virgin Mary (Vespers, Compline, Matins, Hours, etc.)
- Little Office of the Guardian Angel (Vespers, Compline, Matins, Hours, etc.)
- Priest's Visit to a Mother Newly Delivered
- Blessing of New Mothers (churching)
- Order of the Catechumenate / Holy Baptism / Chrismation / Tonsure
- Repentance (explanations)
- Guide to Confession (extremely complete examination of conscience)
- Order of Confession
- Betrothals (notes, banns, betrothals proper, nuptial Liturgy, bed blessing)
- Service for Travellers
- Holy Unction (20 pages, all priest's prayers as well as the others' parts)
- Prayers for the Dying
- Vigils of the Dead (Vespers & Matins)
- Commendation of Souls (sung before every Requiem Liturgy) - Requiem Liturgy - Burial of the Dead

- Prayers for Various Occasions
1. Prayers for Those in the Church
Prayer of a Pastor Prayers for Pastors & Archpastors
Prayer for the Faithful
Prayer for a Monastery
Prayer for Unity
Prayer for Catechumens

2. Prayers for Family & Friends
General Prayer For Those in Heresy / Schism
For Those in Judaism
For Those in Paganism
Prayer for a Living Friend
Prayer for God's Guidance
Prayer for One Sick or Afflicted
Prayers for the Sick
Prayer for Taking Medicine
Prayer for a Pregnant Woman

3. Prayer for Benefactors

4. Prayers for Prisoners

5. For All Living & Dead

6. For the Departed

Prayers in Time of Trouble
1. Against Evil Thoughts
2. Against Temptations of the Flesh
3. For Chastity
4. Thunderstorms & Tornadoes
5. Lightning
6. Destroyers of the Church
7. Deliverance from Pagans
8. In Wartime
9. For Peace & Reconciliation
10. For the Holy Land
11. Against Gossips
12. In Afflictions
Prayers for Travel
Prayers for Good Death (of St. Melania, St. Hilary, many others)
Prayers for Fasting Days (one is for fasting on a vigil)

Prayers for Virtues and Blessings
1. For the Kingdom of Heaven (describes heaven - beautiful!)
2. For True Love
3. For Faith, Hope, and Charity
4. For Chastity
5. For Wisdom
6. For True Peace
7. For the Virtues
8. For Spiritual Life
9. For Indwelling of the Holy Spirit
10. For Courage in Nightly Fears

Prayers for Good Gifts
1. For Rain
2. For the Crops
3. For God's Protection
the Breastplate Prayers

Prayers for the Animals
1. For Animal Friends
2. For Sick Animals
3. Against Infestation

Missa Sicca of Thanksgiving
Prayers to the Holy Trinity
Asking the Prayers of the Saints of God
1. The Theotokos (many)
2. Holy Angels of the Lord (many)
3. Patriarchs & Prophets (many)
4. Holy Apostles (many)
5. Holy Martyrs (many)
6. Holy Confessors (many)
7. Holy Women of the Lord (many)
Prayers to the Lord with His Saints
Prayer When One is Sick
Prayer for Protection from Enemies
Prayers of Repentance
1. Of St. Jerome
2. Short Prayer
3. Of St. Martin
4. Of St. Ephraim
5. For Tears, by St. Isidore of Seville
Prayer of Exorcism of Pope St. Leo III
Order of Reading the Holy Scriptures (prayers before reading)
Abbreviations for Books of Scripture Read the Whole Bible in a Year (schedule includes deuterocanonical books)
Weekly Psalter Readings (150 psalms per week, includes the canticles) - compares Massoretic and Vulgate/Septuagint numbering in a clear way
How to Make Singing Breads (prosphora recipe, prayers)
Fasts and Feasts (explains the fullness of the Western tradition)
Little Calendar (gives a Saint or two for each day of year)
Eight Tones (gives psalm tones and neums)
Indices and more.
Except for Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom and Jesus Prayer, everything is from the old tradition of the Western church. Many items are provided with complete musical notation, such as the Our Father, Te Deum, Sat. Vespers antiphons, Tones."

I love mine. I can see me having to buy another copy so I can have one in reserve :-)
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Going Camping

Or, to be more accurate, DH is going camping :-)
On Wednesday, he is off to see the 24 hour Endurance race Grand Prix at Le Mans in France with some of his friends.
This is a long-standing fixture, as he and his friends have been going for at least ten years.

Don`t get me wrong, I love camping, and went often with my two oldest girls (when they were young) and my in-laws from my first marriage.

This trip is camping at its most basic, in ridge tents, and about 20 000 people queuing up to use a tiny number of portakabin type toilets, judging by his description. They take their cycles, and visit local village inns to sample lots of beer etc.
Definitely NOT a family outing :-0

So, this year, DH has decided in his wisdom that on his return, Family Camping is to be instituted as well.
He has bought an swish 5 person tent, with sleeping compartment and a section in which you can relax, cook, etc. This tent is actually big enough to stand up in ! He has also bought just about every camping gizmo you can imagine.

Expect to hear in a few weeks that the tent has been duly "christened" :-)
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Thursday, June 09, 2005


This is the lovely epitaph of George Routledge, a watchmaker, in the graveyard of the Devon town of Lydford.
Long gone are the days of watches needing to be wound on a daily basis !
Unfortunately I was unable to find a photo of it, but here it is verbatim:-

Here lies in a horizontal position the outside
case of

George Routledge, Watchmaker

Integrity was the mainspring and prudence
the regulator of all the actions of his life;
humane, generous and liberal,
His hand never stopped till he had relieved distress.

So nicely regulated were his movements that
he never went wrong, except when set going
by people who did not know his key.
Even then he was easily set right again.
He had the art of disposing of his time so well,
till his hours glided away, his pulse
stopped beating.

He ran down, November 14, 1801, aged 57,
In hopes of being taken in hand by his Maker,
Thoroughly cleaned, repaired, wound up, and set going in the world to come, when
time shall be no more.
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Wednesday, June 08, 2005


I am posting some miscellaneous photos from our holiday, and of the view from my beloved Garden Window.
Hope you enjoy !
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This is the Hotel at which we stayed in Ilfracombe....the Harbour Lights. Posted by Hello
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The view down the sheer cliffs of Ilfracombe is very dramatic ! Posted by Hello
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Another photo from our Ilfracombe holiday. The locals call the theatre/cinema/tourist information office/coffee shop complex "Madonna`s Bra" and it is easy to see why :-) Posted by Hello
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I have no idea what these flowers are called, but their petals have the look and feel of parchemnt paper. Very unusual ! Posted by Hello
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White climbing roses in the garden. Posted by Hello
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But from a higher perspective, the clematis proves to be an almost solid carpet of colour ! Posted by Hello
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The view of the clematis trailing through our big pergola is really rather pretty...... Posted by Hello
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As promised, a belated photo of Bernie the Hedgehog :-) Posted by Hello
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Monday, June 06, 2005

From the Chapel looking into the porch, with the holy water stoup in the right-hand corner Posted by Hello
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Close-up of the altar. Posted by Hello
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The Chancel arch and the altar Posted by Hello
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The east window of the Chapel. Posted by Hello
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The rear of the building, where the priest would have lived, and the lighthouse lantern. Posted by Hello
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The view from the Chapel. Posted by Hello
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You may remember that last year we visited Ilfracombe, in Devon.
I waxed lyrical about the delightful ancient chapel of St Nicholas, and on our return I made a point of taking more photos for your delectation :-)
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Our family at the tea room at Chambercombe Manor ! Posted by Hello
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Chambercombe Manor. The original thatch roof was replaced with tiles. Posted by Hello
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I would like to tell you a story......

I`d like to tell you a story.

Once upon a time there was a man who lived on a beautiful large farm near the sea, on a very dangerous stretch of the Devonshire coastline.
Many ships foundered on the rocks in that area, and the villagers all would salvage what they could from the shipwrecks to eke out their meagre existence.
One man , Alexander, went further, in order to fund his addiction to alcohol and gambling. He became a wrecker and plunderer of ships.
He was ashamed of what he did, yet he continued to do so.

One night his young son William wondered where his father could be going on such a stormy night, and he followed his father to the cliff edge, and watched, to his horror, as his father deliberately lured a passing ship to its doom on the treacherous rocks in the sea.
Alexander was shocked and appalled to find that his son had discovered his shameful secret, and fearful that a chance remark of his son could lead to his discovery and arrest, he sent his son abroad to school, for he could not bear the thought that an innocent comment from young William might one day cause his own horrific death by public hanging for such a crime...........
William grew up a steadfast and honest man, getting married and having only one child, a lovely daughter named Katharine, who in turn grew up , fell in love and married a ship`s captain from Ireland.

Further grief came to William, for on his father`s death, it was found that Alexander`s debts were truly horrifying, and their loved family home had to be sold to settle the debts.
William was able to stay on the farm as a tenant, but it gnawed at him that he no longer owned his family`s home.

One night, in a fit of madness, he decided that he would wreck a ship deliberately in order to plunder it and earn enough money to buy back the ancestral home. He had no desire ever to wreck again, and it seemed a way out of his troubles.
Against the pleading of his wife, he made his way to the cliff-top near his home and waved a light, fooling the ship that it was approaching the lights of St Nicholas` Chapel and safe harbour at Ilfracombe town. The ship was wrecked and the crew died on the cruel rocks.

William gathered a good haul of valuables and storing them in a nearby cave, prepared to cart them to his home, when he saw the almost lifeless body of a woman on the rocks, her face badly disfigured from the ravages of the accident. He carried the woman home, where he and his wife tended her, but she never regained consciousness and died of her injuries a few days later.

William was faced with a dilemma, for the local constabulary had already visited all the surrounding houses,asking if anyone knew what had happened to the foundered ship`s cargo. He had denied any knowledge of the event, and what was he to do now ?
He could not declare the woman`s death to the authorities or to the clergy, without placing himself under grave suspicion of involvement, nor could he dig a grave on the farmland without fear of being dscovered, so after stripping the woman of her rich jewellery and heavy moneybelt, he placed the body in a tiny bedchamber under the eaves of the thatched roof of the farmhouse, and sealed up the window and narrow passage way at both ends so successfully that it was impossible to detect.

Some weeks later, a list of the ship`s passengers was circulated in the area, asking if anyone had found the bodies of the missing passengers. Idly, William read the list, and was appalled to read that there had indeed only been one woman aboard the ship he had wrecked, and that woman was no other than his beloved married daughter Katherine, on her way to visit her loving parents and bringing many valuable gifts for them.
Insane with grief , his wife died shortly afterwards, and unable to bear the knowledge of what he had done, William left the farm for ever, and moved to Cornwall, where he lived for many years. On his deathbed, he made a confession admitting to causing the wreck.

In the meantime, other tenants lived on the farm, and one day, the thatched roof began to leak. The lady of the house left for market, leaving her husband strict instructions to mend the thatch before she returned.
Her husband climbed up a ladder to the level of the thatch, which hang down very low over the walls in this part, and as he stripped away the old thatch, he noticed to his surprise the remains of a blocked up window. Puzzled, he counted the windows on the front of the house, then went indoors and counted all the windows again. There was definitely one window unaccounted for, and having mended the thatch, he waited anxiously for his wife`s return.

Together, they broke down part of the lathe and plaster wall in their bedroom and found a narrow passageway leading between two of the bedrooms. Because there was a staircase at each end of the house, no-one had realised the existence of this passageway...........
Curious, they broke down the plaster walls and found the concealed bedchamber, with a small four-poster bed with tapestry hangings. As they parted the curtains, they were faced with the sight of a skeleton lying on the bed, with the remains of her rich clothing.
It was the body of William Oatway`s daughter Katharine, and she was reverently buried next to her mother in the parish church graveyard, where she remains to this day.

As you may have guessed, we visited this house, Chambercombe Manor , when we were away on a brief holiday in Devon last week !
It is very ancient, mentioned in the Domesday book, and belonged to the family of Lady Jane Grey, who was very briefly Queen of England. It was an important Manor House in the Middle Ages and even had its own Chapel, which we visited, and a priest`s hole made during the persecutions of Catholics under Queen Elizabeth I.

It is well worth a visit, though the guide makes great play of the number of people(including herself) who have experienced supernatural happenings there.
As for me............
I just said prayers for the repose of the souls of Katherine and her parents :-)
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