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.