Saturday, 15 June 2013

At the last...

I am going now to live in quiet retirement, away from all this. I learned a valuable truth when I deleted my Facebook account (which I would counsel you all to do): the Internet is a frightening place. In recent months I have let myself go, as it were; I have fallen far short of my own moral standards, and so I am going to try and pick up my life before I knew of the existence of blogs or a ''traditionalist'' movement, back to a time when I knew only about dragons. Who knows, when my passport is finally renewed I may even go far away and live somewhere else.

Is this the death knell of Liturgiae Causa? After three years and a long silence on matters liturgical, what do you think?

Saturday, 8 June 2013


A recent photo of Lucy.

My dog's name is Lucy. We named her for St Lucy because we brought her home as a puppy on St Lucy's Day in 2001. She is a soft, squishy Labrador Retriever and my best friend. She ran away this morning as my father was cutting the grass and I was still asleep (I don't get up until late on Saturday mornings as I have to get up every weekday at five o'clock). Our garage door was left open and I guess she thought it worth her while to go off on a little adventure. Naturally I was very worried so I went off to look for her, feeling rather peeved that I hadn't had my morning coffee or any breakfast and thinking what a blasted nuisance she was. I turned back after a distance of just two miles and thought it would be better to simply ring the local authority or the vet. I got in and rang the local authority but didn't know her chip number. Fortunately there was then a call from the vets, and the dog had been found by a local woman called Gwen. I left a message on her answering machine and she rang me and I went to collect her.

Everyone loved her and lavished her with treats and thought she was younger than 11 years, which I thought was very touching. She was very nearly run over by a bus. She is now sleeping peacefully in my father's chair. She isn't allowed to do that but it's her favourite spot.

Dogs are simple creatures. I know sometimes we read about horrific dog attacks, such as that of the Princess Royal some years ago, but Lucy is a very docile and placid creature, more interested in sleeping and eating than anything else. She likes nothing better than for her back to be scratched as she can't reach it herself. She also has a particular fondness for poultry and sausages. She has never stabbed me in the back, or lied to me, or stolen from me (the sandwich I left unattended a few years ago notwithstanding!). Every day I return from work she is ostensibly happy to see me, no matter what kind of day I've had. She is of no particular use; all she asks is to be loved because she loves me. Audrey Hepburn (my idol) once said: ''I think an animal, especially a dog, is possibly the purest experience you can have. No person, and few children...are as unpremeditated, as understanding, really. They only ask to survive. They want to eat. They are totally dependent on you, and therefore completely vulnerable. And this complete vulnerability is what enables you to open up your heart completely, which you rarely do to a human being.''

This is a photo I found on Google Images of an autistic boy with his dog.

In recent years paediatricians and psychologists have been researching dogs in relation to autistic children. We already have guide dogs for the blind, hearing dogs for the deaf, and now we have service dogs for people with autism. I received a telephone call at work the other day from the National Autistic Society and while our kalendar was full for the rest of this year, and much of 2014, I had as long a conversation with this lady as time allowed and asked her about dogs. I think they're probably the best thing for autistic children. With dogs you don't have to worry about eye contact, saying too much or too little (or the wrong thing), and dogs, having been around human beings for thousands of years, are naturally helpful creatures. You can read about Autism Sevice Dogs on Wikipedia.

Tolkien loved dogs too. I don't think that Tolkien ever owned a dog but his view of dogs relative to cats is expressed most clearly in the Tale of Tinúviel from The Book of Lost Tales. There Beren is ensnared by monstrous cats in the service of Melko and Tinúviel comes to his rescue with the aid of Huan of the dogs, whose bitter feud with Tevildo (who later became Sauron) is known to all the Gnomes. Huan is victorious and breaks the spell and Beren comes forth. In the Quenta Silmarillion it is told how Huan was the most faithful of friends (save Beleg Strongbow) and died after his battle with Carcharoth, the most vicious wolf in the service of Morgoth. And don't let's mention the fabled Cats of Queen Berúthiel!

As for cats, I have no especial dislike for them. I was at Blackheath on a bleak afternoon some years ago and a beautiful blue-grey cat came up to me and was very friendly, purring affectionately and allowing me to stroke his back. I left him with regret as I had to go to the pub.

Coming back to Lucy, I think the name was well given, for she is indeed the light of my life. I would be lost without her.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Vivat Regina!

I say this with unrepentant royalism: Her Majesty The Queen represents our very last national Christian institution and I think she's wonderful. In the words of my mother, she ''has been an absolute blessing to this Nation and Commonwealth;'' indeed I can think of no other who has served this nation so selflessly and devotedly for so many years. Other countries had revolutions and wars scarce less than our own but we've managed to stay politically sound in spite of so much Whiggery and suspicion of the Jesuit lurking in the shadows with a dagger. I guess this is one reason Oak Apple Day always appealed to me. We had a godly Restoration of our Church and Government because the commons of the Realm found the alternative repugnant, that being ruthless tyranny, ugliness and the Protestant religion.

Of course, the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II was, in all likelihood, the very last Catholic Coronation in the history of civilisation. When The Queen eventually passes to her reward (may that day be long from now) her successor, whoever he is, will inherit a very different Kingdom and Commonwealth. His Coronation will be cut short, it will be some awful ecumenical, inter-religious affair; hardly worth watching. Indeed, the Coronation, while having no real legal standing, goes to the heart of the mystery of government; that being that the Sovereign is directly anointed by God to defend the Church, do justice and to suppress evil laws and customs. What could be more odious to modern, secular society? What better way to pave the way for the destruction of Monarchy than by sabotaging the rite of Coronation? In no particular order (I am not a prophet) everything old and good about national life will go, and in my lifetime. The Church of England will eventually be disestablished, the House of Lords will go to be replaced with a different, secular kind of ''upper house,'' the Commonwealth will disintegrate (Australia will be the first, I think), the Monarchy itself, representing the last connexion between these evil days and the godly days of yore, all the old livery companies, etc. It is an inevitable process but no less regrettable.

Through my depressive months I came to the realisation that you can't change the world, even in a lifetime, and so for the preservation of your sanity you just have to accept the world as it is, as unfair, iniquitous, jealous, despicable and as depraved as it really is. By waving Bibles around and whinging about it you just end up making yourself very unhappy. Be true to yourself, and to the Truth, but remember that you live in a world of relativism. After all Historia is a long defeat and salvation comes only through Christ.

I have digressed, and this has turned into a rather dismal post which was not my intention. What I mean to say is: enjoy The Queen while she is here. Long live The Queen! Vivat Regina!

Saturday, 1 June 2013


''There was the day that Karsavina arrived among us, just after her escape from Russia: I can see her breath-taking beauty as it struck me that morning on entering the hall. She sat there with her small son and I thought of all the most beautiful pictures of Madonnas that I had ever seen; I decided that she was more beautiful than any of them.'' Ninette de Valois.