Sunday, 28 May 2017

A Drop In The Ocean

St Mary's has signed up to the 24 Hours of Prayer initiative, "Thy Kingdom Come".

A list has been drawn up of those willing to take part and we have each been asked to nominate a time and day to pray for one hour for five people.

I may have mentioned before that I find prayer difficult without the 'trappings' of a set liturgy, so this is going to be a very long 60 minutes.

We were told we could choose where we wanted to perform this duty, either walking, in the company of others, on our own at home - basically, where we liked.

After giving it some thought my decision was to do it at home between 7.00 am and 8.00 am tomorrow (29th) as this is a Bank Holiday and I am unlikely to be interrupted.

The view seems to be that a very large number of people praying over a set period will institute change.

Whether this will prove to be true I have no idea but it will at the very least effect some sort of change in those who pray.

If it does nothing else for me it will be a good exercise in self-discipline..

We shall see.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017


Yet another violent act of hatred leaves our world shocked and shaken.

What possesses one human being to unleash such a vicious cruel attack on other human beings, mostly young, going quietly about their everyday lives?

Even though we can hardly be unaware of the frequency of such murderous acts, yet still we hope that normal life is still there to be lived.

It is impossible for most of us to plumb the depraved depths of these assassins, yet still we strive to understand why.

Poor children.

Poor Manchester.

Poor world.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

A Lovely Afrernoon

I have just come back from a piano recital in St Mary's by Alexander Ardakov.

The programme consisted of Tchaikovsky Chopin and Rachmaninov

He  is a world acclaimed pianist and the playing was wonderful.

It's possible that I've never mentioned before that St Mary's superb accoustics attract musicians of all ages, styles and abilities.

Every Thursday lunchtime there is a concert of classical music, sometimes the performers are students, sometimes young professionals just making a name for themselves, and sometimes someone of world standing who is familiar with the famous St M's accoustic.

We also have a jazz concert three or four times a year which attracts well known artists from many quarters.

It is quite a long time since I went to one of the performances as a member of the audience and had forgotten what a pleasure and privilege it is to be able to enjoy music of such a  high standard in a 'mere' church.

The sun was shining outside but I was quite happy to be inside just absorbing the music.

Friday, 19 May 2017

My friend Crow

This is a Google Crow not mine but looks a little like him.

For a few months there has been a dip in the numbers of birds coming to my restaurant, due in part I think, to the long period of drought but since the long awaited rain arrived there is a sudden run on breakfasts.

All the usual characters have started to turn up as soon as it gets light and by the time I am up (6.15) there is quite a line-up along neighbouring rooftops.

I heard a Jay uttering its harsh cry yesterday, the first one this season and for the last two days my Crow is back.

Oddly for such a very large bird he seems to be quite timid and nervous of the much smaller birds.  They will happily eat without any sign of fear just a few feet from him, but, if any of them move towards him he hops sideways and gets ready to take off.

He watches me from the safety of a shed or garage roof but won't come down to eat until i am safely back in the house.

I love the robins and blue-tits, finches and sparrows but there is something special about Crow.

He has been coming to my garden for three years now and I am really pleased to see him looking glossy and healthy.

A friend in the church whose garden looks onto the churchyard is surprised that I find crows in any way attractive.  The churchyard has several resident ones and she regards them as pests.

While it is true that compared with blackbirds or thrushes or even the robins, the crow is somewhat lacking in musical virtuosity, they make up for it with character and personality.

Or maybe it's just that being a fairly solitary individual myself I have some fellow-feeling for my large black friend.

Sunday, 30 April 2017


This ancient recording (courtesy of You tube), is one i adored as a child/teenager.

I haven't felt much like blogging for a while, and see no point in writing even more uninteresting stuff for others to read than usual.

Nothing is particularly wrong, but neither is it particularly right.

Interesting things seem to be happening to at least some of the people I know.

Not to me.

This is not a lament.

It is not a complaint.

I don't want 'my money back'

I just want something interesting to happen.

Can't be bothered to make up a tale or invent  a story or imagine something - anything.....

Please forgive my self-indulgence and I promise to do better soon.

Meanwhile, please play this recording.. Says it all really.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Joy in small things

Today was total relaxation day after the 4-day marathon that was Easter.

The singing was hard work but mostly good and occasionally excellent so worth all the effort.

More than 10 hours altogether it takes its toll vocally and with accompanying stiff joint from too much standing followed by sitting in uncushioned wooden choir stalls.

All the services were good in different ways and on Saturday the huge baptism and confirmation one with our Bishop who not only sings very well but also includes some very funny anecdotes in his homilies and sermons, helps to take the edge off the extreme length of this particular evening.

We had better-than-usual congregations for all four services which is quite heartening and makes it feel worth while.

Today I pottered.  A bit of this and a bit of that, nothing  strenuous and with time to observe the birds in this case starlings having a communal bath and emptying the bird-bath about a half dozen times.

Each time I refilled it and the last time I did so there was not a bird in sight only a very small squirrel sitting holding on to the edge of the bath with its little hands and drinking as though water were going out of fashion

Obviously I know they must drink but have never seen one doing so before.

My camera was, of course, upstairs and I was down.

The picture above is unrelated but I liked it.

Easter.  Done and dusted.  Back to (normal) tomorrow.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

The First of the four is accomplished

This evening we had our Maundy service with foot-washing, the first of the big four services which lead us to Easter Day.

We started an hour's rehearsal of all the music for the whole of the services at followed by an hour and a half long Maundy thursday service.

Tonight we had some of the usual hymns, the anthem was "An upper room" to the tune of "O Waly Waly" and led the congregation into the lady chapel to the Taize "Watch with me".

A slightly lighter and easier selection than we have had in some previous years, but still a lot of singing.

Oh and I forgot to mention "Ubi caritas the plain-song version which we sang during the foot-washing.

Tomorrow from 10 00 am there is first of all the stations of the cross followed by various other events until the choir sings an assortment of pieces from about 1.30 until 2.00 pm when the Solemn Liturgy begins.

On Saturday we have our usual big service with the Bishop singing the Exultat followed by baptisms and confirmations and the return of the light.

On Sunday morning those of us who have survived the 3 previous services will present the usual Easter Day service which for the choir will finish with "The Hallelujah Chorus" from Messiah.

There is then an Easter Egg hunt in the churchyard for the children. (By which time, those of us who  value our lives will have fled) and tea or coffee for the brave/foolhardy few who remain.

I'm glad Easter only comes once a year.