Monday, 6 February 2012

Whistling in the dark

So, how have you two been? Sorry to have been away so long but let's not pretend you missed me! A belated happy Christmas and a happy new year likewise. Happy birthday too, if you've celebrated one since I last saw you!

Richard, a long-time US reader, comments on my last post of 5 December that two months is quite enough rest for one blogger. Alright, buddy, alright! That's the American work ethic in operation for you ;-)

Looking out on the winter scene that greets me in the garden, my mind goes back to struggling through the snow to Mass yesterday in my wellies when practically everyone I passed greeted me like some long-lost friend. If this is what the bad weather does for community relations, then I say bring it on more often. It reminds me of the old Milton Jones joke:

"I ordered a book off the internet. It was called How to have absolutely nothing to do with your neighbours . Unfortunately, I was out when it was delivered ..."

Why do people communicate when the weather is bad but ignore each other when the sun is shining? You'd think it would be almost the other way around!

There is in that observation some dim and distant echo of one of the reasons I haven't blogged in the last couple of months. What's the point, I've been thinking. It's all hot air anyway. But then, I suppose when you live in evil times, you experience the cultural equivalent of the heavy snow fall. You have to speak to your neighbour. Times are too bad not to. It won't melt the snow and it won't de-ice the roads, but it might lift a spirit or two. That's no bad thing. It's like whistling in the dark.

Actually, as evil as the times are - pardon my Puddleglumness - happy story after happy story has rolled into my in-box in the last few weeks. One reader of this blog has given up his job and is heading to the south of France to begin El Camino at Arles before applying to enter a religious order. Another reader of this blog, and an old pal, has been accepted for his diocese where, God willing and with the bishop's full backing, he will be ordained for the Extraordinary Form. Another niece or nephew will be heading my way in early summer. My own happy news is that I have almost cracked the technique for making a tomato tarte tatin.

As everyone knows deep down, these are the things that matter. One must find one's consolations where one can. Victoria Mildew, another long-time reader, has had some more positive news about her very serious cancer. Do remember her, nevertheless, in your prayers.

Not all the news has been so happy of course. Anne Read of Reading - a lady who could put the salvo in the Salve Regina after Mass - has gone home to her reward. She was happy to be going, I understand. Please pray for her and for those she has left behind.

That's it for now. It's so much whistling in the dark, but needs must when the devil drives.


Ben Trovato said...

Good to see you back and blogging.

BTW there's a fault on your OCD clickers button. I clicked several time in an ocd kind of way, and it just toggled between 1 and 0. Deeply unsatisfying. So of course I had to tell you. I'll probably remind you now and again, too...

Ches said...

I would not be at all surprised! As someone said to me the other day, 'Surely OCD should be CDO (alphabetical order!).

W.C. Hoag said...

Welcome back, Ches! As a consolation know that I have not updated my blog in several months.

Richard said...

I was expecting your return to be some insightful commentary on this:
"Priestly Society of St. Pius X is “obliged to say ‘no’” to the proposal of reconciliation which came from the Vatican."

You can catch up on the news on Fr. Z's blog

Anagnostis said...

Anne Read, of Suffolk, North Wales, London, Sussex and Reading latterly was, together with her late husband David, an old and very dear friend and godmother to one of my daughters. Her professional career (as dancer, then singer, then educator) was remarkable - but less so than her heroic spiritual struggle which culminated on the Vigil of Candlemas last week(on the anniversary of her husbands death eight years earlier, and of my first wife Julie's, nine years before that - a strange and wonderful synaxis).

Anne converted prior to her marriage but, like Alice Thomas Ellis, she "had only been Catholic five minutes before it all turned upside-down". She and David spent the remainder of their lives totally dedicated to the restoration of everything that had been swept away with such crass brutality and disregard, leaving the "lay contemplative" without a place to lay his head. In the seventies, they toured the States with Archbishop Lefebvre, founding and training scholas; in the eighties and nineties, in retirement in rural Sussex, they provided unstinting assistance - spiritual, practical and financial - to the burgeoning but beleagured Traditional movement wherever they found it; they were never partisan or ungenerous in relation to any group or individual. Only God knows how many priests, seminarians and disorientated laity they helped and encouraged, how many vocations they fostered, how many acts of kindness great and small enabled some friend or casual aquaintance to hang on when everything seemed most hopeless. The love and kindness she lavished on me and my family, through all of our ups and downs, are among the greatest blessings of my life.

Anne's training as a dancer and operatic performer built upon her native elegance - there was, externally, always something of the aura of the diva about her, to the extent that those who didn't know her well sometimes imagined her haughty and a little unapproachable. Nothing could have been further from the truth. She was the most warm and loving of friends, but also always tremendous fun. I remember her calling me on an anniversary of David's death to tell me of having woken sad and lonely, only to discover a letter on the doormat that turned out to contain a royalty cheque in respect of a recording of David's, some years earlier - "Batman Begins". I can hear her uproarious laughter as I type, and I can see her, glass in hand, recounting some outrageous theatrical anecdote or other.
Nunc dimitis servum tuum Domine. May her memory be eternal.

(If any other bloggers are attending the funeral, I'd be delighted to meet you. I'll be the one signing himself right-to-left, to Anne's considerable dismay, though she always defended me nevertheless, sometimes quite fiercely. She knew the details of my own journey better than anyone. I shall miss her more than I can say).