The Royal Hospital Chelsea is an appropriate place to worship on Easter Sunday. The fresco in the apse is Sebastiano Ricci’s The Resurrection. Continue reading Let Us Pray
John Colet was Dean of St Paul’s and, in 1509, founded St Paul’s School. Colet House was built on what is now the Talgarth Road in the 1880s. It is adjacent to LAMDA and has been used by the LAMDA students while their new rehearsal rooms were being built.
Friends invited me today to the Hindu temple in Neasden, as they thought it would interest me and it did. The building, opened in 1995, has intricate carving in stone and wood and an elaborate archway, above. Continue reading Temple Time
There are some unfathomable mysteries in life. One is why John Betjeman called his teddy bear Archibald Ormsby-Gore. He took Archie with him to Oxford and Archie appears in Brideshead Revisited as Sebastian Flyte’s teddy, Aloysius. Continue reading All about Aloysius
Most of my Christmas Day Services have been at the C of I church in Dunleer. It was Low Church, austere architecturally and with the old, simple liturgy. Even the plate was a wooden platter, the sort of thing from which Oliver Twist might have had an exiguous helping of gruel. It was presented by my brother-in-law to mark the Christening of his eldest in the church. Continue reading Bath Abbey
Macbeth; Act I: First Witch … her husband’s to Aleppo gone …
On Good Friday in 2000 I didn’t pay for a ticket on the Heathrow Express and I wasn’t a fare dodger. I went to the wrong terminal and there was no charge to take the train between terminals. I just caught the direct BA flight to Aleppo. Continue reading Incense and Truffles
In a dictatorship when said dictator wants to impose his will he issues a Presidential Decree and at a stroke the dictator’s whim is law. In the UK there are democratic elections and two chambers in parliament to debate and scrutinise legislation. That is unless something is too trivial to detain our politicians, such as declaring war or leaving the EU. In that case parliament is by-passed and Her Majesty signs an Order in Council in the comfort of a sitting room in Buckingham Palace. Continue reading St Yeghichè and St Cyprian
Valentia is one of the most westerly points in Ireland, lying off the South-West coast of Kerry, connected to the mainland by a bridge. If you want to go there be careful not to buy a ticket for Valencia – and vice versa. Continue reading Bon Dia
Yesterday I went to The Royal Hospital, Chelsea. It was a Vets’ Service. Let’s get something clear. If you are an American you will assume it was a Service for Veterans; if not you will intuit that it was attended by uniformed members of The Royal Army Veterinary Corps. –more–>
After they had filed into the Chapel, designed by Christopher Wren after our Civil War, a motley bunch of uniformed Cadets slouched in. My disapproval waned when I read on the Service sheet that they were from 104 Irish Guards Army Cadet Detachment in Hayes. They sat on the knife boards* facing each other. My observations may not surprise you. They had no knowledge of the liturgy, drummed into me by going to church at home and at school. They didn’t know the hymns but neither did I. When it came to the last one, For All The Saints, they didn’t even know that; I belted it out. At the Royal Hospital one sings the National Anthem. They didn’t stand to attention, although in uniform, and again didn’t know the words. I was little better as, unusually, we sang the second verse which I don’t know, so I goldfished them. However, I felt proud that they had chosen to become Cadets and especially of the Irish Guards. Hard to know how Irish they are but there was one carrot-haired boy who looked like he’d make a great wartime soldier.
The music yesterday is worth mentioning. It was the Feast of St Thomas the Apostle so the Introit was Quia Vibist Me, by Hans Leo Hassler. The words aren’t too long so I can squeeze them in.
Because thou hast seen me, Thomas, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. Alleluia.
The Missa Brevis was by Zoltán Kodály, the Communion Motet, Glorious in Heaven, by Percy Whitlock and the organ voluntary, Marche Pontificale, by Charles-Marie Widor.
When I reflect on life and eternity I am without doubt a Doubting Thomas. When I go to the Royal Hospital I don’t lose those doubts but I do have a chance to recite a liturgy remembered from my childhood, to enjoy beautiful music and to reflect.
*The seats on the gangway in the Eton College Chapel are popularly known as the “knife-board.”