Sunday, 23 November 2008

Scant postings at the moment, mainly due to marking November examinations and writing endless progress reports.

Our hearts sunk this weekend when we received a letter from British Gas. A final demand and a threat to cut us off. This is because we owe about £60 from our previous property (not yet sold and can't afford the outlay to get it rented). We have already explained to them countless times that mercifully our cash flow dilemma is temporary and we can pay them in full on the 28th November. They handily forget this. If I had the guts I'd send them a letter that may read something like this:

Dear British Gas,

In common with many people, we find ourselves in very difficult times regarding our finances. We contacted you last week to explain than we could not pay the bill at the moment but that it can be payed in full on the 28th November. Your telephone operator claimed to understand and was even sympathetic to our plight.

In receiving your horrible letter today I have a few points I'd like to make. You provide us with a utility. Some would say we have a right to fuel to keep up warm and to cook with. When does it become fair to charge us £14 in addition to the money we owe simply because you have decided to generate a letter threatening us with court action? Then you also threaten to charge us an additional £400 if you have to visit our property to cut us off from the gas supply. The logical conclusion to this is that if money was still not forthcoming you would make us go on a prepayment meter where the tariff for gas is DOUBLE what your ordinary customers pay.

Our financial situation is temporary. I feel deeply for those souls who receive such letters and have no way of paying. How are you making these people feel? Adding extortionate extra charges to their debt with no offer of assistance. You are robbing and using the poor and vulnerable as an extra cash generator.. I hope you realise you could ROT IN HELL for this. Not my judgement, you understand but there is a judgement that comes to us all on how we treat our fellow men. Your treatment is despicable and I weep for those less fortunate than myself who will literally feel despair on receipt of such a letter.

You can do something about this, and it is your choice. Think about it.


Saturday, 15 November 2008

Winter Asparagus

I don't like asparagus, in fact I find them singularly unpleasant. However someone once said to Rachmaninov that finding deep deep male voices was rarer than asparagus in winter. Well here is some stupendous singing. Go on turn up your speakers and damage the brick work, or the suspension on your airstream!

The Male Choir of St. Petersburg

Sunday, 9 November 2008


In Matthew's Gospel, something happens after the money changers and dove sellers have had their tables and chairs removed from the Temple. Jesus goes off to Bethany for the night, then on his return to Jerusalem something quite shocking happens. I personally have always found this far more puzzling than the incident with the money changers in the Temple.

And leaving them, he went out of the city into Bethania, and remained there. And in the morning, returning into the city, he was hungry. And seeing a certain fig tree by the way side, he came to it, and found nothing on it but leaves only, and he saith to it: May no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And immediately the fig tree withered away.

Matthew 21: 17-19

I think the order may be different in Mark (this may have happened before the incident at the Temple), but that is not the point. This is more than just a device to show the disciples how little faith they have. Something much bigger seems to be going on.

When we hear about Jesus being thirsty, he meets the woman at the well and so much grace ensues. Here we hear about Jesus being hungry (did Martha not feed him well enough in Bethany- unlikely!). What sort of hunger is it? Is this some sort of hunger for justice and God's will?

When a fruit tree fails to behave like a fruit tree, is it not violating God's law? The tree is inanimate, it can not be saved, yet it can be corrupted. Does this tree is someway represent the "culture of death", to appear to be living yet to lack any fruitfulness whatsoever? It is almost as if the tree is possessed. There is more than a hint of exorcism about this event. Elsewhere Jesus exhorts us to care year on year for the barren fruit tree until we are absolutely certain it cannot produce fruit. I remain puzzled by this passage from the Gospels.

One thing is certain, we cannot go around driving the chatterboxes and gossips out of the pews on Sunday (like moneychangers from the Temple), nor can we kill stone dead some unjust anti-life law (like a barren fig tree)without another one springing up to take its place. We are too puny and sinful to behave like Christ. When we get angry that God's will is not being done we must be so careful that we don't become as ugly and abhorrent as the barren fig tree itself. In our anger, ugliness will produce no good fruit. We must put our faith in Christ, let his light shine through us and let him get on with the dirty work.

Super Smashing Great

I've got an award from Mum6Kids!

I went over to check what it meant using Alta Vista's Bable Fish and apparently it means Prize Darts. I'm now supposed to award it to a lot of other bloggers. Well basically anyone who is in my side bar is a jolly good blogger, so consider yourself awarded! And if you want more darts, have a "bit of bulley too". British "in joke" for anyone else who loved that game show.

Monday, 3 November 2008

All souls day

Well, I couldn't make it to Mass, due to work commitments, but the nearest Catholic Church to my work has its doors open all day (deo gratias), so I was able to spend some time in prayer down there.

All blogs are filtered out at work and only certain clever blogs can circumvent this. For entertainment therefore at work I rely on the Curt Jester, the Anchoress and Daniel Mitsui's excellent Lion and Cardinal.

It is from the latter that this stunning Ars Moriendi comes from,

(H/T The Lion and the Cardinal). It was constructed by someone in the middle ages with such wondeful insight into the human condition and goes through the full cycle of death throes as they should be seen, birth pangs into the eternal life. Thoroughly uplifting and perfect for All Souls Day. See the full collection here with explanations.