Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sol's Question

Sol asked me "You have once again insprired me to add to my library. I'm just not sure whether to read The Stripping of the Altars first. What do you recommend? "

Now that is an interesting one !

Here is my take on it, but your mileage may well vary, given your profession and the considerable amount of knowledge you already have about the subject.....

I read the hefty but utterly absorbing "Stripping Of The Altars" first, and loved every word. It could possibly have benefited from a slightly more judicious editorial pen, but that is a minor quibble. "Stripping Of The Altars" is thorough and comprehensive, and covers the country, in greater or lesser detail according to the sources still extant about each area. It does give a very good exposition of the thoughts and events underpinning the changes of the period even for someone with no real prior knowledge of the era.

Inspired by this, I bought "The Voices of Morebath" at a knock-down price on EBay. I have to own, reading it immediately after the first tome left me feeling slightly disappointed as some of it was already familiar, having been discussed in the first book as befits one of the most interesting and utterly unique resources amongst Tudor historical documents.

I left it for a good few months before re-reading it, and I am very glad that I did.

I am equally glad I did buy it, for it is an extremely in-depth look at how the whirlwind events of the Reformation affected this tiny English parish and its folk. Having duly absorbed the first book, reading the minutiae about this little village was utterly fascinating!

I do think that unless someone already has a fairly good grasp about the various legislation and events relating to the Henrician and Edwardine Reformation, it may be heavy going or rather tedious and need frequent recourse to a good general history book of the period.

I must admit to liking reading fairly heavyweight scholarly tomes, of course.

But hey, we're Orthodox, we invented scholarly heavyweight tomes, didn't we ?

I would love to know which one you eventually choose, and what you think of it/them. I did get "Stripping" from the local public library, because of its cost, but I fully intend purchasing my own copy when funds permit :-)
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Time Is Running Out.....

I'm sure most of my American readers will have already seen this, but if not, the video is worth watching.

If society does not care about the most innocent and vulnerable of its members, what hope do the rest of us have when we become "encumbrances" or "burdens" or "drains" on society's resources ?

Failing to care for the unborn is the first step on a very steep and slippery slope to not caring a toss about anyone else, either.
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Monday, October 27, 2008

Thrift Shop Haul !

On Saturday, on the way home from fencing, I stopped at the Cancer charity shop on Blogtown, as they had a huge table filled with books and the sign "Any 3 for £1 ", which is always music to my ears :-)

I was thrilled to get a lovely copy of Georgette Heyer's "The Reluctant Widow", absolutely ecstatic to get a hardback 1944 edition of H V Morton's travelogue through Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Turkey and Greece " Middle East". I have nearly all of H V Morton's books, and love the evocative writing of a long passed yesteryear.

I also found one other book, cough, mumble, which I paid for in the shifty manner of someone transacting a particularly unsavoury purchase. I bought Michael Moore's "Stupid White Men" because I wanted to see what it was which had reduced Jeremy Clarkson from TV's Top Gear show to gibbering, incandescent rage.

It did contain one or two salient points, but most of it was ....drivel, IMO.

Jeremy Clarkson was quite right to throw the book out of the window :-)
Still, two gems and one piece of dross was still not bad for £1 !
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Sobering Reading

I have just finished re-reading Professor Eamon Duffy's outstanding book, "the Voices of Morebath".

The tiny Devon village of Morebath had the same parish priest for fifty years, covering the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I. Sir Christopher Trychay served his parish faithfully throughout enormous religious upheaval, and documented his parish's life meticulously.

It makes for absorbing reading, but also for so much sadness, seeing what remanants of Orthodoxy remaining within late mediaeval Roman Catholicism being systematically stripped out of the newly formed Ecclesia Anglicana. It must have caused immense sadness and distress to so very many people in the village.

Not even the church Bells were allowed to be tolled at deaths and funerals. Newborn infants, normally baptised on the day of birth or the next day, in an era when infant mortality was in excess of 30%, were now to be left unbaptised till the next public Sunday service, if they survived that long. Imagine the anxiety of not knowing whether your premature or feeble infant would survive to see Holy Baptism, even now........let alone in those days when the belief was that the unbaptised were excluded from Heaven.

I can only guess at what it must have been like to see the churches altered, frescoes defaced or whitewashed, the statues burnt, the vestments discarded, and the services altered beyond all recognition within such a short space of time.
Imagine if our Churches were defaced and despoiled in this way nowadays, on the whim of a monarch or civil authority, and we were powerless to stop it.
Imagine being forced to attend services which bore no resemblance to those we know and love so much, to no longer be able to ask the Communion of Saints for their loving intercession......... it makes my stomach churn, just thinking about it, let alone having to live through it, to be honest.
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World Domination Looms !

First the Fencing Club........tomorrow the world !

Cue: maniacal cackles !
No, I have not completely lost my marbles- or at least, not yet :-)

DD1 - the inimitable DoomHamster- has now joined DD3 and I at our fencing club.Before we started there were only two regular female sabreuses. We have now taken the number up to five :-)
The males still heavily outnumber us, but as our coach said, next year DD4 will be old enough to join us too, if she wants to !

DoomHamster is thoroughly enjoying herself and doing well; on Saturday, I was fencing with her and she managed to get past my defences and land a hit on me. I was well impressed, considering it was only her third lesson.

In a couple of weeks I am likely to get thrashed, as her reactions are far better than mine. She can type at 60 words a minute after, all..........
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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Hot Tubs And Prayers

When we arrived at Center Parc on Monday, the weather was appalling. It was cold, wet and windy.
So what did we do ?
Check in, then haul the rucksack with the swimming gear in out of the car, and head for the tropical pool. Not to swim - at least not initially, but to go in the outdoor hot tub.

Surprisingly, there were very few there and we had the tub to ourselves. Possibly the rain put them off, but it was absolutely brilliant fun !
Sitting immersed in hot bubbles, with the rain lashing down and clouds of steam rising from the tub into the air around us. The clouds were low over the trees, and it was magical.
It was a wonderful start to our holiday and a great way to leave the stress of everyday life behind.

On subsequent sunny days, it was amazing to sit there and see an open vista of soaring trees, blue sky and fluffy white clouds occasionally masking the sun whilst mentally saying the morning Trisagion prayers :-)
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The Photo Meme

This was the scene on Christmas morning 2007 **before** the girls got up :-)
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Saturday, October 25, 2008


The trees are so tall that if you look up to their tops, they are almost meeting........

This shy little Nuthatch was a welcome sight at our patio table !

And the squirrels came to visit us several times a day :-)
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Scenes From Around Our Accomodation.

The flora and fauna at Center Parc are amazing......

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One of the sealions at Longleat.

Nico, the Silverback gorilla who lives on an island in the river. His home is centrally-heated and he has a Hi-Definition wide-screen TV and Satellite. (Sky Plus, for those who of a technical turn !). He loves watching the tourists on the river boat.
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Holiday Snaps

We managed to navigate the enormous maze at Longleat ! These were taken from the central tower . And we managed to get out again :-)
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Sunday, October 19, 2008

See You Soon

We are off on a short break to Center Parc Longleat , Monday - Friday.

Hopefully, I will have nice pictures to blog about on my return :-)
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Friday, October 17, 2008

Happy Birthday !

... to my precious last-born, the now seven year old DD4.

We had a swimming party at the local leisure centre after school yesterday, for a small number of her classmates and friends, and a family party today at home after school, though DD2 was not able to be with us due to being in Bristol :-(
This will be the first time I have not had all my girls home together for little ones's birthday.

DD1 is travelling over from The Big City as I type, and will be here shortly :-)

Many years to the handmaiden of God Abigail !
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Tidings of comfort and joy..............hardly.

I have a rather nasty apical dental abscess in my already root-canal filled and porcelain crowned tooth, so am on the dreaded metronidazole for 5 days. And we go away on holiday on Monday. Oh joy. At least I am not in pain, unlike DD2, who also has a rip-roaring dental abscess and is now also on antibiotics whilst she is working away in Bristol.............
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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Keeping Busy

Being bored is no longer an option any more !

I have been recruited to a small team (okay, let's be honest, a *very* small team !) to help restructure and re-organise our school's library.
It is a fairly big undertaking, as we can only work in it for a limited time each day due to other committments within the school.
Today we dusted two bookcases of books, and boy, were they dirty !

I am looking forward to our four night break at Center Parc next week, and hope to have some time in which to enjoy being bored - though as I am taking my knitting, that may not happen :-)
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Monday, October 13, 2008

Did I Blink And Miss Something ?

I'm beginning to think I live in a parallel universe, beause I have not seen this reported elsewhere............

A RC clergy blogger whom I read has posted the text of an address given by an Orthodox priest from Greece at a World Synod of RC Bishops


VATICAN CITY, OCT. 12, 2008 ( A representative of the Orthodox Church who addressed the world Synod of Bishops spoke of the Bishop of Rome as a sign of unity among Christians.
Archimandrite Ignatios Sotiriadis, fraternal delegate from the Orthodox Church of Greece, spoke Saturday to the synod, which is focusing on the Word of God in the life and mission of the Church.

His address brought more applause than any other intervention in the first week of the synod.

"Your Holiness," he said, "our society is tired and sick. It seeks but does not find! It drinks but its thirst is not quenched. Our society demands of us Christians -- Catholics, Orthodox, Protestants, Anglicans -- a common witness, a unified voice. Here lies our responsibility as pastors of the Churches in the 21st Century."

"Here," the Orthodox pastor continued, "is the primary mission of the First Bishop of Christianity, of him who presides in charity, and, above all, of a Pope who is Magister Theologiae: to be the visible and paternal sign of unity and to lead under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and according to Sacred Tradition, with wisdom, humility and dynamism, together with all the bishops of the world, fellow successors of the apostles, all humanity to Christ the redeemer."

"This is the profound desire of those who have the painful longing in their heart for the undivided Church, 'Una, Sancta, Catholica et Apostolica,'" he concluded. "But it is also the desire of those who, again today, in a world without Christ, fervently, but also with filial trust and faith, repeat the words of the apostles: 'Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life!'"


Comments welcome.
It may just be that the translation for Greek to Italian and thence to English is bit dodgy, but as it stands, there are some theological assumptions contained therein over which our Archbishop might raise an eyebrow .......
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Monastic Funeral

Rather a nice video of a Monastic funeral on Athos over on YouTube......
worth a look.
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Daily Services Online

The dynamic Psalter site now has the texts of the daily services available, complete with the tonal information and the appropriate prayers for the days of the week.

I have just prayed First Hour from the site. This is a great resource if you are working at a computer for long periods, as so many office jobs entail nowadays.

Well worth a visit !!
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Wednesday, October 08, 2008


The dog woke me up at 5am today, desperate to go into the garden.
I was not best pleased at being woken two hours before the alarm was due to sound, especially as I had stayed up late last night reading, but I dutifully put on my warm dressing gown and slippers ready to venture into the garden.
It had rained torrentially yesterday, and I was spellbound when I opened the door and saw a dazzling canopy of stars overhead.

So much so that I nearly fell flat on my face as I missed the step up out of the courtyard to the lawn, because I was so busy stargazing !

I was quite reluctant to go back indoors once the dog had "done the necessary", but I did.

It was wondrous to just watch the stars in peace and quiet and contemplate the glory of the heavens :-)

Oh, and the book that kept me up so late last night ?
"The Eliots of Damrosehay" trilogy by Elizabeth Goudge.
Well worth getting, if you can, though it is easier to find the individual books as a rule: A Bird In The Hand, The Herb of Grace and The Heart of The Family.
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Monday, October 06, 2008


I have been worrying about the fact that I have not been writing much about religion; to be honest, I am finding that after four years of blogging, it becomes quite difficult to pen anything new or insightful about the liturgical cycle that I haven't already said, and I am reluctant to start recycling my posts.

I just do not know where the time is going to at the moment. My days seem to pass by in a blur :-)
I am helping out down at school a lot, but that may have to change.

Financial pressures are making it increasingly likely that I may need to get a part-time job at least, though that may prove to be difficult here in Blogsville, where there are very few jobs, period, as poor DoomHamster and DD2 have proved by their lengthy periods of unemployment this year........
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Wednesday, October 01, 2008


Courtesy of the wondrous Ian from Oz's blog, I found the Demotivators site.
I particularly liked this one :-)
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