Sunday, 29 March 2015

Making a difference...

I've been called many things over the years; nutcase, insane, fanatic, most recently "gratuitously nasty," not to mention all the abuse to which I have oft been subjected on account of my appearance, and to each of them there is a degree of truth (albeit I would contend with the word gratuitous). Even so, as Frodo counselled Gollum on the stairs of Cirith Ungol:

"'Don't take names to yourself, Sméagol,' said Frodo. 'It's unwise, whether they are true or false." (The Lord of the Rings, Book IV, Chapter VIII).

Sympathetic readers have even called me a "fool for Christ," or holy fool. Well, this old sinner is flattered by that but I am conscious enough of my own sins of neglect, sloth, wrath and lust to ware of that too. I have, however, consciously endeavoured to make a difference to people's lives and to change their perception of liturgy. In two cases (in present recollection), I have been successful (see here and here). But in most, I have failed. And the reasons for that are obvious.

Liturgy was, until recently, an unfashionable subject. Its practitioners, men like Ronald Silk, Quentin Montgomery-Wright, Mgr Gilbey in his way, and in our own time Rubricarius and Anthony Chadwick, are seen as eccentric and unreasonable, and so long as you keep their kind of liturgical practices in the dark, in a ghetto, the neo-con traddies can happily go on with their votive masses of the Sacred Heart and rosaries recited before a monstrance and treat the "eccentrics" with contempt and suspicion. As Goliath denounced David with lofty disdain so the conventionally wise traditionalist crowd usually laughs in scorn at me and my ideals, and, for my sins, I am not worthy to unloose the latchet of the shoes of any of these great men aforesaid. And in this liturgical ghetto of far-sundered nobodies, because we none of us have the wherewithal and support of the "greats" of Traddieland (I won't name names, but you know who I mean), we stagger on amidst taunts, raspberries, cries of "heresy" and other abuse and enjoying the malefits of our adherence to Tradition and reverence for the Roman Rite. We are proscribed, persecuted and systematically excluded from the debates of our age because our views are irrelevant, our time is at an end.

In my case, my critics are disingenuous. They know in their hearts that my words are those of a true seer but they can't admit this openly because to do so would be to dismantle the Babel Tower around the bishop of Rome they have so carefully constructed and in which the cult of the infallible pope is enshrined. The fact that you can't have Tradition and an infallible magisterium simultaneously (at least under the present conditions) puts them out of reckoning, and the notion that liturgical orthopraxis can be practised in spite of Rome, without deference to Rome (let Rome look to us and learn, not the other way around) is an abomination. And so they make recourse to a kind of cynical self-censorship; they say among themselves, "what Patricius says is wrong and nobody should listen to him," but also, "and nobody does listen to him," and then add "because he is autistic and liturgical minutiae fills some psychological vacuum."

But it takes an aliturgical critic to say this. I say aliturgical because not only is liturgy secondary to modern traditionalists, most of whom have become doctrinal conservatives with a mere preference for the "extraordinary form," but they would even sacrifice what is good and venerable in liturgical tradition for a sense of concord with modern Rome; "offering up," in the spirit of that Ignatian axiom "sentire cum ecclesia," what they might privately find distasteful or irksome in the present in hope of better times to come, perhaps under a more sympathetic pope. This is essentially why the traditionalists find no fault with the liturgical books of 1962, even when they are aware of the reformed nature of those (incomplete) books, and why they all welcomed Summorum Pontificum which enshrined them forever. In their view, liturgical orthopraxis is suspect and abject humiliation before the See of Rome is noble; reverence for and adherence to Tradition for itself alone (as one might love spring groves for themselves and less as kindling) is suspicious and yet reverence for the person of the pope and his infallible authority is the very yardstick of orthodoxy. I humbly contend that this is the very state of mind that wrought all the present woe and that trust in modern Rome will, in the end, only confound you.

Tradition is consequently stifled in traddieland because of their attitude to Rome which has taken on the semblance of virtue. Where before traditionalists were in many ways dissident, they have replaced dissidence with a kind of axiomatic, snivelling sycophancy and a willingness to blindly accept any tenth rate rubbish allowed them by Rome. The anonymous Liturgical Pimpernel epitomised this arrogance; the very same who discredited my writings and those of Rubricarius in all ways that he could, presenting real traditionalism (Evelyn Waugh's kind), which I have ever advocated, in the worst possible light. And this stifling means that traddieland bears fruit only in rottenness and deceit! What passes for liturgy and tradition among these lords of the Roman Rite is, for the most part, dismally and meanly hideous. And worse, where there are some traditionalists with more sense (Mr Di Pippo of the New Liturgical Movement springs to mind), who make some effort at liturgical orthopraxis, their efforts are ostensibly hushed up for fear of some stickler for 1962; the propriety of introducing orthopraxis under the aegis of Summorum Pontificum notwithstanding! The similar case of that Midnight Mass from 2010 in my old parish where my services as "straw subdeacon" were curtly declined springs to mind also.

O me miserum! I say with total confidence and conviction that the Roman Rite is incredibly rich, fecund and has the potential to be truly great once more but there are wicked people deliberately holding it back, and they are NOT Fr Joe Blogs down the road with the altar girls and eucharistic prayer II; those idiots are truly irrelevant. I know we're not in the right season for it but the other day I was reading the antient Roman rite for the Blessing of the Waters on Epiphany Even; a service of incredible beauty and symbolism. With my mind's eye I could see the spectral forms of the bishop in cope with his ministers about him; the ninth lesson at Mattins, a procession in great majesty to the river, the litany, the lessons filled with the music of water and seasoned with salt, of thirst quenched and the glory of the LORD, of the mystic rood wherewith God made sweet the water; the procession of the "godfather" (padrino) with the cross accompanied by twelve taperers to the bishop, the choir singing Baptizat miles regem, servus Dominum suum, as the bishop plunges the cross into the waters hallowed by Christ's sacred feet in antient days. It brings tears to mine eyes. And if this makes me a "liturgical fetishist," or a "nutcase," or gratuitously nasty then I take those names, given in scorn by the Philistines, with pride.

But the bishop in cope, his ministers, the deacon who chants the gospel in which Christ says that he that believeth on me out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water, the taperers, the veiled cross, the thurifer, the acolytes, the choir; they remain spectral forms, all of them ghosts of a dead rite and a Tradition stone dead, and kept from reviving by the true enemies of Tradition: the traditionalists.

In the False Kalendar it is Palm Sunday to-day. I shall refer readers to the greater expertise of Rubricarius for an exposition of what Palm Sunday ought to look like.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

The Machine, part I...

"There is the tragedy and despair of all machinery laid bare. Unlike art which is content to create a new secondary world in the mind, it attempts to actualise desire, and so to create power in this World; and that cannot really be done with any real satisfaction. Labour-saving machinery only creates endless and worse labour. And in addition to this fundamental disability of a creature, is added the Fall, which makes our devices not only fail of their desire but turn to new and horrible evil. So we come inevitably from Daedalus and Icarus to the Great Bomber. It is not an advance in wisdom! This terrible truth, glimpsed long ago by Sam Butler, sticks out so plainly and is so horrifyingly exhibited in our time, with its even worse menace for the future, that it seems almost a world wide mental disease that only a tiny minority perceive it." The Letters of J.R.R Tolkien, no.75.

When I announced my intention to embrace Puritanism, a reader asked me what Tolkien would do. It is difficult to say without attributing intentions wholly unfounded in history to Tolkien. We do, after all, have to live in the world as it is, to an extent. But I was reminded of Tolkien's profound contempt for what he called compendiously "the Machine." He did not mean simply the internal combustion engine but the attempt to question a particular life problem and wilfully to choose the wrong, easier solution. The dishwasher, the mobile phone, a bank card with a chip, the oyster card, social networking sites; they are all machines designed to make a simple life needlessly complicated, and we all blindly accept their use in our lives. The dishwasher is the least sinister out of the five examples but it's years since I made use of one. What then of the others?

The mobile phone. I won't lie, I own a mobile phone. I didn't until around last June when I was forced to get one because of work but I stupidly bought another iPhone on a two year contract when I really ought to have bought the cheapest, plainest mobile phone available on a pay-as-you-go basis. The iPhone is addictive. It is not simply a mobile phone; it is a miniature computer on which you can play games, use the Internet, send e-mails, play music, even make payments and do all manner of things that are wholly shallow and unnecessary. I don't use even half the facilities available, such as Siri, Facetime and all the other default applications but I do spend a considerable amount of time using the phone. It is seldom out of reach. But I resent having it and the grip that it has because I am conscious of its hold, which is a stranglehold on my liberty. All my life I have fought against various addictions and I have overcome many of them but a computerised phone won't go away. During the four or five months in which I didn't have a mobile phone, my parents were constantly complaining that they couldn't "get hold of" me. Ironically my father was the chief complainer; the very same who ten years ago was highly suspicious of mobile phones and people addicted to them and now spends all day with his reading glasses on playing solitaire on his iPhone! But working in the city I depended entirely on public transport and its unpredictabilities and coming home late for dinner would usually entail the, "well, if you had a mobile phone..." speech. But why should people need to get hold of me? Why should we be within the constant reach of other men? Why should a set of numbers tapped by someone miles away set up this unwanted connexion? Then there is the "big phone company" side to it. When we sign these contracts, giving our home addresses and bank details to these big companies, do we not sign away our very souls? I am bound for another year to this contract but I tell you all now that I will not buy another iPhone, nor sign another contract, and I will not be proved faithless.

Friday, 27 March 2015

A dream...

I have strange dreams. Don't we all? You may remember that Marks & Spencers used to have life-like mannequins (do they still have them?). I had a nightmare about them when I was very little, which featured the evil garden gnome my neighbours Tony and Irene ("the Baptists") used to have on their porch. They bit my fingers off, one by one. Well, last night I had a very strange dream about an old tribe or cult. I'm not sure what they worshipped but they had a temple in their cult built at the top of an huge tower with two minarets shaped like the phallic symbol on either side of the entrance and above the entrance to this temple was a Latin cross in an obscene and provocative position. It seemed to be between a man's erect penis and another man's tongue. The men of the tribe practised sodomy.

Think what you will about the depths of my subconscious mind, I think this is telling about our own modern culture of progress and depravity. St Paul does say that sodomy has its uttermost origins in idolatry. God help me! God for His mercy give Grace!

Art: John Howe. This is the temple built in honour of Morgoth at Sauron's behest in Númenor. It was destroyed during the Change of the World at the end of the Second Age, which is what the painting depicts. It looks nothing like this "temple" of my own imaging but similar arts and rites were probably performed there. It's interesting that Tolkien equates the decline in Númenórean longevity with their growing pride and, finally, their fall into darkness and idolatry; biblical genealogies reflect this too. In those days, under the domination of Sauron, they became fierce and desperate. In the case of despair or desperation I have noticed that my own falls into the sin of lust seem connected to despair. A trendy psychologist might say that is "self-hatred." But modern scientists are no longer lovers or seekers of Truth. The same can be said of the religious too. It's hardly surprising that I tend to view all men as inherent liars these days. There might be sincere and honest people out there but I daresay most worship in the temples of Morgoth.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

A living saint!

I went into the CTS Shop and St Paul's bookshop near Westminster Cathedral this morning. Every time I go to St Paul's I see somebody I recognise. In this case, someone recognised me and said "hello Patricius!" from behind. That was after I took this photo. No disrespect intended to the lord pope gloriously reigning but who on earth would buy this? Not only is it tawdry and distasteful beyond belief, and even bears some resemblance to Hannibal Lecter, but it seems to imply a dangerous "reigning pope = living saint" superstition. I mean, I wasn't at all surprised to see whole sections dedicated to the "Holy Father," with books, smiling portraits and the rest, but this surely takes the biscuit!


Before my grandmother moved to Ireland in 2003, she left me my late grandfather's old collection of coins from his travels as a young man in the Navy. There are coins from all manner of countries, in foreign currencies some of which I have never heard of, but one of the oldest and most interesting in the collection has to be the silver half crown with Queen Victoria's portrait on it. Its high silver content is shewn by its state, which is quite worn. My father was 14 years old when the British Pound was "decimalised" and half crowns discontinued so I have never used the old coins (but I do remember heavier 50p coins), but holding this half crown with the Widow of Windsor's countenance thereon, which was legal tender until 1967 (I think), gives one a sense of history which modern money, even when it is used at all, simply does not. Peter Hitchens has written an interesting article on his blog about the old money which reminded me of granddad's old collection.

All I can ever get out of my parents about the old money is that sweets were cheaper. I have no memory of the old money; "D Day" was 17 years before I was born, but I have always measured in inches, feet and yards. Another way to stave off the dark tide!

Monsignor Gilbey...

The great Mgr Alfred Gilbey died 17 years ago to-day. Customers of the St Lawrence Press Ordo will notice that on 26th March, under the instructions for the liturgical day, is written: Dies Anniv Rmi Alfredi Newman Canonici Gilbey, Praelati, 1998. This inclusion is due to the fact that Mgr Gilbey bought, and used, the Ordo. I have heard nothing but praise of Mgr Gilbey from those who knew him well (including many of my personal friends). Great among the proto-traditionalists of the Church, he resigned from the Chaplaincy of Fisher House, Cambridge in 1965, after 33 years, when it became clear that the university would admit women to the status of undergraduates; a man whose views about women resemble my own.

It can be said that the shibboleth of Liturgiae Causa is the pseudo-feast of ''Joseph the Worker,'' about which I have written at length before. Mgr Gilbey, who was herald of a time when traditionalism was about at least the semblance of Tradition, had nothing to do with it, and on 1st May was wont to come from the sacristy of the London Oratory in a chasuble of the blood red hue of the Martyrs, to the great indignation of the provost. Nor did he ever say the Collect Pro Papa on the days prescribed, except once, but said rather Ecclesiae. His "low" Palm Sunday is said to have been magnificent.

Were Mgr Gilbey alive to-day, I have very serious doubts that he would have much to do with modern traditionalists, and would certainly not identify with their papal turncoat tendencies. I daresay he would hold a man like Cardinal Burke in polite contempt.

I am sorry never to have met Mgr Gilbey, a priest and gentleman. May he rest in peace.

The photo is credited to a dear friend of mine who knew Mgr Gilbey and attended his funeral.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

St Gregory the Great...

(A.D 540-604), Pope of Rome (perhaps the last good one?) and Preacher of Dialogues. I first read St Gregory's advice to St Augustine of Canterbury many years ago in one of my Oxford World Classics editions called The Anglo-Saxon World and it knocked me sideways for its clarity, common sense and disparity (with later bishops of Rome), for he said: "things are not to be loved for the sake of a place; rather places are to be loved for the sake of their good things." And this was in answer to questions about what kind of liturgy to introduce to these grey shores. In those happy times there was no sacred congregation of rites and men were more instinctively liturgical.

Now, if I were not so wicked and lazy I'd have gone to Mattins this morrow. Instead, the Catholic Encyclopaedia has St Gregory's epistles which you can see here. Pick one in honour of the day.

A Tolkien documentary...

I've only seen bits of this over the years but finally I have discovered the complete "centenary" Tolkien documentary from 1993. I heartily recommend it. It is narrated by a much younger looking Judi Dench and for me there is a tremendous feeling of solidarity watching it. I have met or been in contact with some of the persons in the documentary over the years, most notably Fr Robert Murray, whom I met at Heythrop College in 2006, and I was in contact with Dr Verilyn Flieger some years ago. What Murray says about the ideals of Tolkien's legendarium, being as they are in the tradition of epic poetry and the Middle Ages, is very astute.What Flieger says about Frodo can be ignored but I agree fully with her about recommendation of The Lord of the Rings. It is not a work that readily I recommend to people, for many complex reasons; I actually recommend few books. This is inextricably linked up with the nature of the book, Tolkien's magnus opus. Like Flieger, I think it is a work that you have to discover for yourself, akin, as it was with me, to the discovery of a secret wine cellar or a beauteously bound illuminated manuscript in a cathedral library long out of knowledge and memory.

Christopher Tolkien's observations are, of course, to be taken very seriously, particularly what he says about "the Machine," Tolkien's disposition to the modern world, and the malicious and deliberate confusion Tolkien's critics have made about his work, the actual distinction between the desire to escape from prison or the deserter running off. There is also a particularly moving moment in which he narrates one of Tolkien's letters to him when he was in South Africa, and Tolkien's desire to see the fields about Artois again; for reasons more profound than I, born in 1988, can really understand. Priscilla Tolkien narrates one of the finest passages from Leaf by Niggle, a work which I haven't read for about a decade. Tom Shippey, whose works on Tolkien are very astute, makes very cogent points, one about the rowan tree and Quickbeam, the Woses related to "Woodhouse Road;" and the Emnets of Rohan; what he says about Tolkien's mastery of Old English, that had England had the sort of rolling countryside of the antient fields of Calenardhon, what native names would they have had? It's like I am Gandalf, and I am having this conversation with Pippin going to Minas Tirith and saying; "I am trying, with my limited imagination, to perceive the unimaginable heart and mind of Tolkien at work." I won't say in the morning of the world, or when the Two Trees were in flower, because Tolkien was inevitably a man of his time, even if his mind and his manner were of a richer, more courteous realm. He did once say (to Robert Murray actually) that his own small conception of beauty and majesty were based on his ideas about St Mary. It's remarkable and it calls to mind Merry and Pippin's first meeting with Treebeard; do you remember when he asked them the modern name of what they were standing on! These questions, so beyond the reach of my own thought, were constantly going about Tolkien's mind. Rayner Unwin admits this; that Tolkien did his best not to try and embarrass him but that Unwin was constantly aware that Tolkien was a gigantic intellectual. And there are tears in my eyes as I write this. Even Queen Margrethe II of Denmark speaks of the affinity that she has with Tolkien, with his ideals and languages remote and yet near. C.S Lewis and the Inklings are mentioned only briefly, about fifty minutes in, but Priscilla quotes from a personal letter that Tolkien wrote to her shortly after Lewis' death which shews the "communion" (Tolkien's own term) that they both shared, going beyond the confines of ecclesial boundaries.

Ultimately, I agree fully with Tom Shippey that reading Tolkien makes you look at things differently. It's a very profound, ineffable and unexplainable feeling. It's as if the work speaks to you about things that you know, deep down, by a perception other than sight or hearing.

Forgive this appallingly bad and hastily written introduction to this documentary; I am speaking as it were from the heart having just watched it. I'm afraid that "$ully" doesn't go away.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

The Maundy...

This Professor Kwasinutkase really gets on my nerves. In yet another piss poor article on the Aliturgical Bowel Movement, written in his accustomed verbose and pretentious style, he has referenced the Cistercian tradition as a stimulant for reform in the liturgical vacuum of modern Roman Maundy ceremonies. The great shibboleth is the involvement of women in the ceremony when the rubrics stipulate viri (I humbly suggest that the liturgical books say a good many other things that the traddies conspicuously ignore, but that's for another post) since, he claims, this undermines the doctrine of the male priesthood. He goes on to suggest that the ultimate symbolism of the Maundy is the "ordination" of the Apostles into the first bishops of the Church at the LORD's Supper, at which they concelebrate the first "Mass." After a lengthy quotation from a history of the Cistercians, he says:

"Could there be a washing of the feet of (e.g.) prisoners or the elderly or the handicapped that was not embedded, misleadingly and acontextually, in the liturgical commemoration of the Last Supper on Holy Thursday?"

Boob. The article makes no mention of the fact that the incorporation of the Maundy into the Mass rite is itself an innovation, having its uttermost origins in the mutilations of Pius XII, so why does he make such a fuss about "disregard for the wisdom of Catholic tradition," and those who claim to "know better than our benighted forebears?" It seems to me that if the praxis has become so obnoxious and objectionable, why not omit it altogether in parishes and petition bishops conferences to restrict it to cathedral and collegiate churches? Surely that would be better expressive of the apostolicity of the bishops? And since Christ our LORD washed the feet of the Disciples after they had supped, the current position of the Maundy in the Roman Rite is especially odious and not in keeping with Catholic tradition by any stretch of the imagination. Traditionally, the Mandatum had no connexion to the Mass rite whatsoever, there was no requirement that it take place in the church and the feet of thirteen men were washed, not twelve as in the bastardised rite of Pius XII, so venerated by the traddies. Yes, let's all idolize the early 1960's as the most sublime era in liturgical history.

Dr Kwasniewski needs revision if you ask me. Furthermore, it would seem proper for the Traddies to order their own houses before they questioned the mess of others.

Monday, 23 March 2015

Two women...

Sitting on the bus this afternoon I saw two women. One was a young Somali covered head to foot in a black burqa, with her face visible. She was carrying ASDA shopping bags. The other was a fat white woman in a pink tracksuit, probably about my age. She had peroxide hair with noticeable dark roots in a pony tail, sallow skin, dark bags under her eyes, and spoke with a harsh, thick "London" accent (cockney is almost extinct). She had two children; one, about six years old eating a bag of crisps, and the other in a pushchair. This one is probably on benefits.

Which is worse? The Somali woman dressed in a culturally objectionable way and who shouldn't be in this country or the native low life? Unfortunately, most people who object to the sight of the Somali are of the white trash calibre, like our beloved pink tracksuit woman, and the left-wing, intellectual elite can simply say that their objections are based on ignorance, lack of education, bigotry, racism and a plethora of other phobias which are the enemies of modern civilisation.

I say that modern civilisation is anything but civilised and that this country, just like everywhere else, is finished.

The darkness and the light of Puritania...

The modern world is totally evil. In England we're fast becoming a despotism. It was said that by 1984, riveted into the home of every family, there would be a one way television screen through which we would see nothing (what a relief!) but through which we would be watched continuously by Big Brother. We're thirty years too late for that but we're not far off. And that's not all. Not a day goes by when I don't see a dark face. People go about with mobile phones pressed to their ears, jingling with amulets, bright clothes, ripped jeans...creating no sensation whatsoever. Gay marriage, fornication, abortion-on-demand, the cashless society. I wish I had more opportunity to use my cheque book.

We can't stop it, pray as we might. All this globalisation, decline in morals, it is an insatiable tide of darkness and all we can do is flounder and reach up to Christ our God. What we can strive to do, though, is embrace a form of Puritanism. Now, I'm not in the financial position to move to the county so forbearance will have to suffice for the dark faces speaking in tongues harsh with antient idolatry but what I can do, and offer to my readers as something worth considering to stave off the tide, is to try to live life to the best of my ability as though it were not, in fact, 2014. "Live in the past," in other words. On your respective journeys to the Celestial City, perhaps, like me, you might like to consider the following:

I. Is the Gregorian Kalendar worth keeping? It is not the Kalendar bequeathed to us by Tradition. Try to avoid "civil holidays" too, like all these "international" something-days one often sees on Google. Live life according to the liturgical kalendar...a real one, of course.

II. Is Greenwich Mean Time really that useful for someone living in Cornwall? I mean, before the Industrial Revolution we all had local times. Why not go back to those happy, simple times? In my case, Greenwich is less than ten miles from my house so this might be more difficult for people outside London...

III. Is possession of a mobile phone an absolute necessity? And ear phones, we can all do without those. Keep an address book handy, of course. And if people can't get hold of you, that's too bad. I personally resent the idea that I can be disrupted whithersoever I go by someone I'd rather not have contact with (such as work).

IV. Food is something of a problem these days. With so many cultures brought in, etc. Try to eat only in season. Never eat foreign strawberries in January. Try to eat plain, wholesome food. Don't refrigerate everything. In fact, try to stop using the refrigerator altogether. I drink Guinness in the summer mornings because I won't use refrigerated milk.

V. Do not eat Kosher or Halal. That means boycotting certain brands (e.g, Heinz) and refusing to buy meat in certain shops.

VI. Milk comes cheap in plastic bottles these days, unless you're wealthy enough to still have the milkman deliver it. If, like us, you're too poor to benefit from the services of a milkman, buy a nice milk jug and store your milk in it. Milk is precious and worth more than a plastic container.

VII. Try to keep holy the LORD's Day. Don't do things like shop, or go to the theatre. The new Sunday trading laws exist for the benefit of atheists but that doesn't mean that we have to cheapen Sundays by becoming like them.

VIII. I'm sure readers of this blog dress appropriately. I feel more comfortable paying that little bit more knowing that my clothes were made in a factory in this country, where conditions are good, rather than some sweat shop in India. Labels aren't everything, of course. I buy most of my clothes from Charles Tyrwhitt.

IX. The "cashless society." If that is not the mark of the beast, I don't know what is! Try to avoid paying by card in shops. Not only is it none of your bank's business where you spend your money but, having worked in a bank and having spent considerable time going through customer transactions, you'd be surprised how much you can learn about a person by their spending habits. Everything is recorded; the exact date and time, the store number and address, the amount debited. That information should be between you and the retailer. If you use your cheque book at the counter in the bank, however, and just draw on the account, the bank is none the wiser. Avoid ATM's and use the counter service, even if you have to queue up for ages. Use your cheque book as often as you can.

X. When shopping, try to avoid using the express checkouts. They're putting people out of jobs and seem geared towards this solipsistic, I'm alright culture. What happened to customer service?

XI. Charity. It is not your moral responsibility to feel concern or compassion for people you've never met, and never will, who live thousands of miles away and do not help themselves. Charity begins at home. Do not give to Children in Need or Comic Relief. Do not countenance or support these bogus enterprises in any way.

XII. Going to and from your homes, do not speak to anyone unless you are spoken to; try not to look at other people. Instead, try to observe silence.

I hope these points are of interest to you. Now it's just a question of implementing them.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

The Song of the Lark...

On the ninth day of March the Church venerates the venerable Forty Martyrs of Sebaste. Their feast is placed deliberately during the Great Fast because their example is as a light to us, like that of St Lucy during Advent, in the time of trial. There is a pious custom of baking pastries shaped like larks on this day because it is said in tradition that the song of the lark rises from the doors of night and pours its voice among the stars, greeting the sun of spring beyond the walls of the world, and releasing the bonds of winter. In token of this, here's one I got this morning.

All ye holy martyrs, pray for us.