Southwell

May 10th, the Lord’s Day, the Fourth Sunday after Easter. So we can still proclaim the Easter greeting: Alleluia. Christ is risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia.

We’re planning to be a bit holy today by going to worship at Southwell Minster, a cathedral we first visited last August, and which, during this virtual pilgrimage, is still open for business.

It’s the most extraordinary cathedral we’ve come across in England, in that it serves the city of Nottingham and the county of Nottinghamshire, while the actual town of Southwell, some 30 miles from Nottingham, has a population of less than 8,000. You find your way to it on B-roads, expecting to be able to see the cathedral from a distance, like you do with Salisbury; but even when you’ve found a car park, it’s not obvious where the Minster is. By this time you’re in among the streets of the town with their buildings, and you’ve still no sense of where the pedestrian route to the cathedral is. You can tell we really are urbanites, not expecting to find a car park anywhere near the Cathedral. What you need to know about Southwell is that you simply let your satnav guide you to the Cathedral, and there is plenty of room to park in the street.

By Steve Cadman from London, U.K. – Southwell Minster, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4620564
The Nave

The congregation may be quite small, so you may find yourself being directed into the choir, rather than a seat in the nave. But they’re a friendly lot, and the service is simple, dignified and ‘done properly’. Since our first visit they have a new Canon Precentor, the Revd Richard Frith. Richard served his first curacy at St Mary Magdalene’s in Oxford, while I was Vicar of Marston. They don’t have very many funerals at Mary Mag’s, so I was asked if I’d let Richard come and take some of mine, to get the practice. That was fine by me, and I hope he had a good experience – though I don’t recall that we had very many requests for funerals during that time, either.

Do stay for coffee after the service, and tell the Dean, and Richard, Hello from me.

Among the things to see in the Minster: this Green Man, carved in stone.

The Green Man

The Katyn Memorial in the RAF Chapel.

Why does Southwell Minster house this memorial to the 14,500 Polish officers – probably the entire Polish officer class – who were massacred at Katyn in 1940? For many years the Soviets blamed the Nazis for this atrocity, when in fact they were the guilty ones. In fact more than 22,000 Poles, intellectuals and leaders of society, were murdered here. Many Polish airman who managed to escape were based with the RAF in Nottinghamshire, and continued to fight for their country’s freedom.

The Great War Memorial Window by Nicholas Mynheer:

If you’re in Southwell on a Sunday, and looking for the best Sunday roast in Nottinghamshire, you must go to The Bramley Apple in Church Street.

The best Sunday roast in Nottinghamshire at The Bramley Apple, Church Street, Southwell

The other major thing to see in Southwell is the Workhouse, now owned by the National Trust. It was built in 1824 when the local vicar conceived a plan to help the poor and destitute. It became a pioneering model for similar institutions throughout the Victorian era and beyond; in fact Southwell Workhouse was still functioning as late as the 1980s. It’s a horrible reminder of how even the best of human intentions (“Let’s do something to help the poor”) can turn into something harsh, dreaded, often even cruel. And why? Because now, just as much as then, we ask the wrong questions. The good vicar and his contemporaries shouldn’t have been asking “How can we help the poor and the destitute?” but “How can we change the system so that there are no poor and destitute, so that poverty doesn’t exist in the midst of such wealth, but everyone has the means to live decently?” It’s another example of how we try to solve the first problem we see, instead of looking for the questions that explain why the problem is there. It’s emergency first aid, instead of prevention.

We’ve had enough of the Workhouse long before it’s time for Evensong, but that’s no problem. We can enjoy the walk back to the Minster, then sit quietly inside until it’s time for the service.

Then back to Charming Old Chapel. Tomorrow we head off towards the North, on the next stage of our pilgrimage.

Newark

It’s Saturday May 9th and I’m feeling confused about the anomalies surrounding this virtual world. The BACC meeting I was expecting to attend has been cancelled in the real world, and it’s not happening in the virtual world either. But in this virtual world we’re still able to go shopping, eat in restaurants, and explore the usual attractions. It’s almost like I’m making up the rules, here.

Anyway, this leaves us free to choose what we do today, so we decide to visit Newark. We weren’t very impressed when we first visited the town last August, but it seems only fair to give it another chance. We park, again, in the Riverside Car Park and head off on foot across the River Trent. Over the river rises the impressive outline of Newark Castle; but it’s all an illusion.

Newark Castle and the River Trent

During the English Civil Wars, Newark was one of the most important centres of the Royalist cause. It was besieged by Parliamentary armies three times, and after it fell, Parliament commanded the Castle to be destroyed, leaving only the shell of its wall above the Trent, like a cheap film set.

Newark Castle interior
By Martinevans123 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=36697843

Within the wall is a municipal garden, that’s often used as a photo opportunity after weddings that have taken place in the nearby Register Office. There’s a wedding party there as we walk through. The bride, beautiful in white; the paraplegic groom in a wheelchair. You know how you can’t stop yourself making up stories about the lives of people you don’t know and will never know anything about? We imagine this young man is a veteran of one of the Middle East wars, flown home with terrible life-changing injuries after his vehicle was blown up by an IED. Or maybe was paralysed after a quad-bike accident on someone’s stag weekend. His loving fiancée insisted that the wedding they planned must go ahead anyway; she’ll marry him for better, for worse, even though the worse has already happened. We’re amazed by such love and devotion. We pray that love will be enough to sustain them through the lifetime that lies ahead, and that they really will be happy and blessed and true to each other.

Last time we visited Newark on a Friday and had a longing for fish and chips. Sadly we chose the wrong place, which I won’t name. I’m now pretty sure that the right place for fish and chips in Newark is the Castlegate Fish Bar. This looks like the real thing, mushy peas and all.

The right fish and chips

After lunch, though, we didn’t find that much to do in Newark. The town has known great days: in 1377 it was one of the 25 largest towns in England, with a population of 1,178. Now it has a run-down feeling. The parish church of St Mary Magdalene is grand and imposing, clearly expressing the town’s earlier wealth and status. But I didn’t find that frisson of the numinous that I look for in the churches we visit.

Alison doesn’t share my interest in the English Civil War, so she wasn’t interested in paying a return visit to the National Civil War Centre with me. It won’t tell you whether the right side or the wrong side won. (My answers are a) Yes, and b) We might know, when it’s finally over.) But it does include what must surely win a prize as one of the most tasteless items you’ll ever find in a museum gift shop:

Want a tasteless gift for a loved one?

I decide I don’t need a political chopping block. (You’ll see why in a minute.) I meet up with Alison who’s had enough of the shops, such as they are. We walk back to the car and drive back to Charming Old Chapel where we relax with our books And maybe look forward to a glass or two of wine later?


I’ve brought Hilary Mantel’s The Mirror and the Light away with me, and I’m determined to finish it this weekend. It’s the concluding volume of a trilogy begun with Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies, telling the story of Thomas Cromwell, chief minister of King Henry VIII from 1532 to 1540. Meticulously researched and brilliantly imagined, it’s a fascinating read. The final volume, published in March 2020, appeared two years later than its author planned, because, she says, it was ‘difficult’. But it was worth the wait. It’s very entertaining, and will keep you entertained for a long time – I think I read that it’s as long as both the previous volumes put together.

One of the things I love about it is the way that Thomas Cromwell comes across as such a hero, so human yet also admirably intelligent and gifted. I’ve reflected elsewhere about the way in which I somehow absorbed history, in my younger days, as if it were a tale in which there are ‘goodies’ and ‘baddies’. Is that just me? Is that the way history has always been taught? Is it that history as we were taught it at school – written as we know it is by the victors – is little more than a propaganda exercise in support of the status quo? The prime example of this is the way we were taught the English Civil War as if the Royalists were the Good Guys.

It may be through reading A Man For All Seasons at school, in which Sir Thomas More is obviously the hero, that I picked up the idea that Cromwell was the Bad Guy. Hilary Mantel’s trilogy turns that around. Here it is More who is the villainous reactionary, while Cromwell is the champion of true religion, a Gospel man whose great cause is to make the Bible available in English so that every man, woman and child can read it in their own language.

Henry VIII is also a more sympathetic character than I’ve tended to think. Clearly he is a sort of monster, but we also see that that is the very nature of kingship: the king is the nation, and his health, well-being, faith and fertility are all determinative of the nation’s well-being. With such a burden of responsibility, it’s no wonder he is a tortured soul; but he’s also intelligent, devout and very human.

If you’ve read it, let me know what you think. And the key thing is: Reader, I finished it.

Lincoln

It’s May 8th, the day when the Church of England remembers and celebrates Julian of Norwich. I love the idea of Julian, but I can’t say I’ve a great familiarity with her writings. On the one hand, I love the graciousness of her vision (All shall be well, and all shall be well… and her lyrical meditation on human excretion). On the other, I struggle with the stark horror of her descriptions of Jesus’ sufferings on the cross. Perhaps it’s something about her being a 15th century woman, her life and experience so different from ours? My absolute favourite passage is her vision of “a little thing, the size of a hazel-nut in the palm of my hand, and it was as round as a ball. I looked at it with my mind’s eye and thought, ‘What can this be?’ And the answer came to me, ‘It is all that is made.’ I wondered how it could last, for it was so small I thought it might suddenly have disappeared. And the answer in my mind was, ‘It lasts and will last for ever because God loves it; and everything exists in the same way by the love of God.’ In this little thing I saw three properties: the first is that God made it, the second is that God loves it, the third is that God cares for it.”

But today we’re not going to Norwich. We’re in Bleasby, Nottinghamshire, and we’re going to Lincoln. Why Bleasby, why Lincoln? I’ll tell you. A general meeting of BACC – the British Anglican Cursillo Council – was to be held in Newark on Saturday the 9th, and diocesan lay directors and spiritual directors (that’s me) are invited. We could have driven up today, but since this is the special VE-Day Bank Holiday, we thought the motorways would be busy and decided to travel earlier. We spent a day in Newark last August and were not impressed. It didn’t look the kind of place we’d like to stay for a weekend, and a search for nearby Airbnb properties offered us the Charming Old Chapel. It’s a happy choice. So today we can explore somewhere we’ve never been before. We’re going to Lincoln, to see the city and its cathedral.

Work on the construction of Lincoln Cathedral started in 1072. Perhaps there was an earlier cathedral there, in the town that the Romans had called Lindum Colonia, and which had become an important centre of trade when the Danes settled. It controlled an important road to the north, and after the Norman Conquest, work on a castle started as early as 1068 to defend that route. To match the growing importance of the place, and underline the reality of Norman power, an impressive new Cathedral was planned too. Before this, Lincoln had been part of the diocese of Dorchester-on-Thames; afterwards, and throughout the Middle Ages, Oxfordshire was included in the diocese of Lincoln, making it the largest diocese in England. For nearly 300 years, it’s said, it was the tallest building in the world.

Lincoln has had some distinguished and saintly bishops down through the centuries, some of whom I have even heard of. St Hugh of Lincoln (1186-1200), Robert Grosseteste (1235-1253), and Edward King (1885-1910) are still remembered in the Church of England’s calendar of saints. Robert Grosseteste has always made me wonder, How big was his head, actually? Alas, we shall probably never know the answer, any more than we shall know the real stature of Little Bilney; and in any case Grosseteste probably doesn’t mean Bighead at all. He has been described as “the real founder of the tradition of scientific thought in medieval Oxford, and in some ways, of the modern English intellectual tradition”. Lincoln was also the place of one of the most notorious instances of medieval ‘blood libels’ against the Jews. In the mid-thirteenth century a nine-year-old boy disappeared, and his body was later found at the bottom of a well. Suspicion fell upon the Jews, who were accused of kidnapping the boy, torturing and crucifying him, in the practice of their anti-Christian faith. ‘Little St Hugh’ (to distinguish him from the earlier, real, St Hugh) was acclaimed as a martyr, and 19 members of the Jewish community were executed. These days it’s thought that it was all a ruse by the church authorities to generate income by using the tragic death of a child to promote a local cult to rival those of other cities where children had allegedly been murdered by Jews. Even the holiest places have a dark side.

But those are not the thoughts at the front of our minds while we enjoy a lie-in, a lazy breakfast, then set off to drive the 27 miles from Bleasby to Lincoln, where we park in Lincoln Central Car Park. For the morning we explore the old city with its steep streets, and have lunch at the Jackalope Restaurant in Drury Lane, “a fabulous place providing a wonderful experience” as one reviewer described it.

We’ve saved the Cathedral for the afternoon. I hate being charged admission by cathedrals (and reflect what a good thing it is that this is a virtual visit) but maybe £8 isn’t too much to contribute towards the £1.6 million a year it costs to maintain the Cathedral. It’s one of those wonders of English cathedral architecture that make me wonder why I’ve never been here before. The nave takes your breath away,

Lincoln Cathedral, the Nave

the vaulting is amazingly intricate, the Chapter House a wonder. Be sure to look out for the Lincoln Imp, high up above the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The Lincoln Imp

We take some hours to explore everything, light candles and spend some time praying in the chapel for private prayer, and (not forgetting the Cathedral Shop) it’s soon time for Evensong sung by the Cathedral Choir. And then we drive back to the Charming Old Chapel for a quiet evening.

“Let’s not plan to do quite so much tomorrow,” we say to each other.

We set off on our (virtual) pilgrimage

Charming chapel, lovely location
Charming Old Chapel

It’s Thursday, May 7th, 2020 – the first day of our May holiday and northward ‘pilgrimage’.

Our destination for the first day of our journey is Bleasby in Nottinghamshire, where we will be having our first experience of Airbnb accommodation. We won’t be able to gain access until the afternoon, so there’s no need to set off too early, even though we always like to make an early start when we’re setting off on a journey.

So we can enjoy a leisurely breakfast before finishing the packing. We’ve done quite a lot of the preparation before going to bed the night before, so now there is more than enough time to change our minds about what we really need to take in the way of books and electronic devices, to change them back again, and to end up still knowing we will both have forgotten something essential, and taken things we will never ues. In the end we can’t bear to wait any longer, and set off long before we need to for a drive which Google Maps tells us will take 2 hours 10 minutes.

What are we going to do about lunch? Alison’s preference is always to stop in some nice place on the way – what about Coventry? or Leicester? – but I always grumble about how difficult it is to find somewhere to park in a strange town, and we end up stopping at the grotty motorway services where the car park is crowded and the choice of sandwiches boring, and I’m feeling guilty about not having followed Alison’s suggestion. (Note to Self: She’s always right about these things, and it would be good if I changed my mind about travels.)

In spite of the stop for lunch we still arrive early, but it doesn’t matter because the property is ready and the owners, Victoria and Catherine, are both there to greet us. I imagine them, from our exchange of messages, as charming, intelligent, attractive women in their 40s or 50s, who are intrigued by my message that we will be staying there as a first stop on ‘a sort of pilgrimage to the North’. If we ever lived in Bleasby, they’re the kind of people I would want to be friends with. And their property, advertised as ‘Charming Old Chapel’, is the kind of place I wouldn’t mind living in. It has been sensitively converted to a dwelling house, and is bright, clean and modern.

We settle down for our first evening with an easily prepared pasta and salad, and later a bottle of wine and some favourite nibbles.

The Pilgrimage That Won’t Be

Pilgrims walking the causeway to Holy Island

We didn’t have much in the way of holiday last year. After months of health problems resulting from the complications that followed my prostatectomy (I won’t go into them here – you can Read All About Them in previous blog posts) I was still waiting for a hernia repair, so we were reluctant to book time away. Afraid, too, that health insurance for overseas travel would be prohibitively expensive. The one high point was a week in Sherwood Forest in August with all the family, to celebrate my 70th birthday. There were 18 of us in all, three generations of the Price tribe, making it one of the best holidays ever.

So as 2020 arrived, we felt ready to book some quality time away from home. For Alison’s 70th in January we went to the seaside and stayed for four nights in the Grand Hotel in Brighton. Brighton is much nicer out of the summer season, without the holidaying crowds.

Then we began to look ahead and make plans for Easter and springtime. Our thoughts turned to holy places and experiences. For several years we have been unable to keep Holy Week the way we would like, so the first plan was to stay at Mirfield to share in Holy Week with the Community of the Resurrection. Then we booked two places on a retreat on Holy Island in May, and planned to make a slow progress northwards in the week before the retreat, visiting on the way some places we’ve never seen, and revisiting others that we know and love. We were confident that this year my health problems were all in the past, and in that confidence booked hotels with the cheaper, non-refundable option. What could possibly go wrong?

If we had paid more attention to the news coming out of China in the first days of the year, we might have had an inkling of what could go wrong. But then, we weren’t the only ones who either didn’t pay attention or had little understanding of what the news might mean. Even Governments – our own, for example – which had been getting advice for years that a global pandemic was probably the greatest threat to national security, did nothing until it was too late, and the pandemic was upon us. We still don’t have a full reckoning of just how bad and how big the cockups by our Government and others have been. Perhaps when, or if, the final death toll is in, there might be some consensus about that, and even some accounting.

In the meantime, there have been Cancellations. Everything, everything has been cancelled. And without refunds. We’re miffed about that, of course; but then again, we reflect that the booking fees we’ve lost may make the difference between solvency and insolvency for those hotels and their employees.

Our northern progress towards Lindisfarne was to begin tomorrow, May 7th. I’m thinking that I still want to make that journey, at least in my imagination. During this lockdown we’ve all been learning about the ways technology can make things virtually possible, when they are not physically possible. So the plan is to begin a daily, or virtually daily, account of our 2020 May pilgrimage.

Want to come with us?

The Inbetweeners and Sex Education

Here’s a reflection I’ve been pursuing about contemporary culture, sexual attitudes, mores, popular entertainment, and humour, inspired by two TV sitcoms. You could frame it as an essay question:

Compare, contrast and evaluate The Inbetweeners, (2008-2010) and Sex Education (2019-present).

See the source image
The Inbetweeners
See the source image
Sex Education

They are apparently similar in being British comedy dramas about teenagers coming of age, and especially exploring their sexual identities, doing their best to look cool to their contemporaries, and to get laid as often as possible.

I quite enjoyed The Inbetweeners when it was first aired. I can’t say the same about viewing it again on Britbox, where it is currently available. Each episode opens with the moral health warning: Contains strong language and adult humour. This isn’t exactly true. The humour is relentlessly adolescent, and I would add, aimed at adolescent males. In the ten years since it first came out, there has been a huge sea change in the way we (or at least, I) react to this brand of humour. Perhaps it has been the effect of revelations about the abuse of women perpetrated by men, the whole #Metoo phenomenon, the language used by Donald Trump and others that sets out to humiliate, degrade and objectify women. I can no longer listen to Will, Simon, Neil and Jay’s conversations with even the wry recollection, “Yes, that’s just what being a spotty adolescent was like, my body raging with lust and hormones.” Now it’s just repulsive and gross.

Sex Education is different. It’s still about teenagers at a sixth form college agonising about sex, identity and the rest. It’s still a jungle in there – why is it that teenagers are often so outrageously cruel to each other? But it’s so much funnier, cleverer, more adult in fact, but without repelling in the same way. You might say, perhaps, that it’s about what the title says it’s about: these young people know more about sex (well, not always – witness among other examples the chlamydia “plague” panic in series 2, episode 1), and it’s also, seriously, about how they learn more. It’s also much more inclusive: girls have sexual desires and experiences as well as the boys. There are lots of strong female characters in the comedy, and they are often shown in a better, more sympathetic light than the boys. Adults have sexual desires and experiences too, and they form an important part of the action. The adults elicit our sympathy but also our disapproval, as they mistreat their pupils or children.

I thoroughly enjoy Sex Education and can watch it again without that disgust that not only The Inbetweeners, but other more vintage ‘comedies’, arouse.

What do others think?

Apocalyptic

Last Edited: Mar 25, 2020 2:01 PM

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It seems strange when I remember it now. When I retired at the end of August 2016, and for some months afterwards, I quite often found myself having anxious, fearful thoughts about different kinds of disasters and apocalypses that might happen.

Some of it, I’m sure, was the stress of something I had never experienced in my life until then: the burden and responsibility of living in a house that we actually owned. Say what you like about living in a tied cottage – such as a vicarage is – but you don’t have to worry much about maintenance. You just pick up the phone to Church House and get the Diocesan Surveyor to send someone round to fix it. It’s also true that the Diocesan Surveyor got a bit fed up with phone calls from Marston Vicarage (which has since been demolished and a new one built.) Starting with the leaky flat roof, and progressing through numerous cracks in the walls caused by alternating heave and subsidence from the huge willow tree about ten metres from the house, rebuilding of said walls, and at the last water leaking from the pipes embedded in the concrete floor… Now I write all that, I wonder how we put up with it for 25 years, unless it was something to do with the wonderful parish and people. But at least it kept us entertained, and was really the only thing we had to complain about in the whole of our wonderful time there.

But when all that was left behind, I would often find myself – chiefly in those sleepy moments of doing the washing up – thinking what it would be like when you turned the taps on and no water came out… or when there was no electricity… or when rats crawled out of the toilets. Like in Raymond Briggs’s terrifying When The Wind Blows. Or when bands of brigands roamed, terrorising neighbourhoods, or tanks rolled along the streets. This was in the months following the Brexit Referendum, with that sense of dread over the divided country we were suddenly living in, and the possibility, that I imagined, of actual civil war or some similar calamity.

Never, in my wildest fantasies, did I imagine an apocalypse in the form of a global pandemic. Clearly I needed a more fertile imagination.

What a difference a year makes

If you were reading my blog about this time last year, you’ll remember that I wrote quite a lot about the health problems I was having. After my RARP (Robot Assisted Radical Prostatectomy) I developed osteomyelitis of the symphysis pubis – a bone infection of the pelvis. This is such an unusual complication of the surgery I’d undergone, that it was some time before it was recognised and diagnosed, by which time I had been in real pain, practically unable to walk, for about five weeks. The treatment prescribed was three months of antibiotics, and about the time of the spring equinox last year, I had been on ciprofloxacin for a week, and not yet seeing noticeable easing of the pain. I noted in my diary that I went out for a walk – aided by my two walking poles – and managed about a couple of hundred metres and back.

It was a grim time, and there was further unpleasantness to come, in the form of acute urinary retention which required a urethrotomy. One of the things that helped me cope with this whole months long ordeal, was telling my story. I told it to anyone and everyone I thought would listen. I told it so often and in such horrifying detail that it probably drove my family and friends to distraction. Fortunately they had the wisdom, the patience, and the grace to listen, because telling your story is a healing thing. Victims of far worse traumas than mine – rape, war, genocide – have all testified how telling their story can help, even if there’s an element of it forcing you to relive the bad time.

For me there are still ongoing maintenance procedures I have to do, chiefly intermittent self-catheterization, which sounds terrifying but proves to be manageable even for someone as squeamish as me. It’s amazing what you can do when there’s no alternative. But as 2020 began, we began to think that this year we could get away for holidays and breaks again, in a way that was impossible in 2019. Nothing as ambitious as overseas travel, because foreign health insurance was likely to be difficult to obtain. Instead, we planned a progress north to see some of the cathedrals and medieval abbeys we we have never visited or would like to revisit. This was to finish with a week’s retreat on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, one of our very favourite places. A thin place, a place where you really feel that you can draw near to God.

And then came Covid-19.

It has turned the world upside down, in a way that seems more extraordinary and frightening than any of the other disasters that have befallen the world in the 70 years I have known. In October 1962, when I was only 13 years old, the Cuban Missile Crisis convinced many people that we were on the brink of a Third World War which would destroy us all. I have hardly any recollection of it – certainly not of being unduly terrified at the time – though I know some of my contemporaries who were more aware of world events shared that great fear. The Vietnam War was terrible, but far away from being an immediate threat to our survival. Likewise the Gulf War(s), 9/11, and all the subsequent Middle East horrors. Suddenly an invisible killer is out there in the world, and all the powers we have been accustomed to look to for help seem powerless against it.

Each day that passes brings news of further restrictions, as the Government struggles to find the least worst way forward in dealing with the crisis. It often has the look of people thrashing about in the coils of a monster that is dragging them inexorably towards destruction. Apparently our Prime Minister was driven by enormous ambition to reach the place he is now. I’ve found myself wondering whether he regrets that now… Or would it be worse if he’s sitting in No. 10 thinking he really is the man for this hour?

We’re hoping to stay well, and if that doesn’t happen, we’re hoping to survive (what a thing to come to!) Perhaps we really are coming to a time when Bishop Ken’s hymn becomes real:

Redeem thy misspent time that’s past
And live this day as if thy last…?

How would my thoughts, words, actions be different, if I considered that every journal entry, every blog post, every phone call, every conversation, might be my last? Not many of us are ready to think like that. Maybe we should cultivate how to be.

That’s Not MY National Anthem

That’s not MY National Anthem…

… It’s too small. It’s not about the nation or the people at all, but about one over-privileged individual. Its whole ethos is one of the causes of the mess we’re in today. (Unless, like me, you reckon Her Majesty’s real enemies are Her Majesty’s own Government, and it’s their politics and knavish tricks we are praying will be confounded…)

This is MY National Anthem…

… It’s national and international, it’s European, it’s joyful, it’s for the people, it’s for the brother/sisterhood of all humankind.

Yes, that’s MY National Anthem.