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Friday, 31 July 2009

Requiem

Having just returned from a Solemn Requiem, it is time for a quiet reflection on the music and the lives in whose name the Mass was sung. THe setting was Faure's, the Pie Jesu was sung by Katie Etherington and we had a small string and brass orchestra with the Milton providing the continuo.

As ever Faure's setting is incredibly moving, particularly the Pie Jesu and the Agnus Dei. No matter how often I hear this setting, it always has the capacity to surprise and to move one spiritually. If you have only ever heard it as a concert, try hearing it in its proper setting, within the Requiem Mass and you will have a new perspective on it.

May those for whom we said it and all the faithful "Requisicat in pacem et resurgam in gloria tuum."

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Breeding for the future?

Humanity and one other member of the ape family, the Bonobo chimpanzees, are almost unique in their breeding practices. Humanity is probably alone in its expectation that every male will meet and mate with a female at least once. This is one of the reasons for the 'success' of our domination of the ecosystem that is the planet Earth. We have, quite simply, out bred everything else. But now comes the crunch - there are far too many of us and the promotion of having children as a "right" guarantees that we now breed far more children, each of whom will, we hope, also breed at least two children, than the world can actually sustain. Already food and water resources are overstretched, oil is under strain and so are many simple necessities, so, can we afford to continue to operate on this free for all, breed as you like, system?

I recently read a story that suggested a future world in which humanity is organised into "clans" in which only the Alpha Male was allowed to inseminate females and produce children. It skipped over how all other males would cope with this, but did point up the fact that the vast majority of the mammilian animal kingdom practice this system to control populations and keep them within the boundaries set by the available food supply. Hints that this practice may well have been followed in early human societies exist in a number of societies even now. The African practice of setting a "Bride Price" for any girl and the problem of "Street children" - usually unwanted boys for whom there is no "market" - is one such. Many early societies sacrificed boys, rather than girls, thereby reducing competition to breed and others simply exposed unwanted boys to the elements as infants, again limiting the number of breeding boys available. Some of our more primitive societies still practice this form of population control, though now, of course, Aid Agencies and UN organisations try to prevent it or gather these children and sustain them to adulthood. Early "civilisations" waged war on one another with two objects, territorial expansion and the acquisition of slave labour. Notably many emasculated captured men, castrated any preteen boys and sold the girls into the households of leaders and warriors. Even in Medieval Society (and in the Harems of the East!) the practice of "Droits de Signeur" or the right of the "Lord of the Manor" to have his dependents and peasants brides to his bed on their wedding night shows that some form of "Alpha" system operated until fairly recently in our history. There is eloquent testimony to the probability of an "Alpha" breeder in all early human societies in our genetic record - there are only seven key "male" genetic markers outside of Africa (45-plus in Africa) suggesting either that all humans are descendents of only those successful breeders who managed to get more wives than anyone else.

Humanity and the Bonobo Chimps share the use of sex for "recreational" purposes, but where the Bonobos limit their population (or have it limited by the stability of a "death/birth" rate) humans have interfered with this and slewed the balance. Ever since the introduction of modern medicine death rates have fallen dramatically among infants and at the same time life spans have extended. Populations have exploded since the 1940's and even the wars and the more efficient weapons we now deploy in them hasn't made a significant dent in the growing numbers of humans. Now I have to be careful lest this be taken in entirely the wrong way - modern medicine has overcome one of the key reasons for our early success. Defective infants didn't survive and if they did, they certainly didn't breed. Now transplants - in some cases of every organ in the torso - medicines to sustain us when we become "non-viable" and many more, sometimes quite simple, procedures which allow us to live far beyond the point our genetic programming starts to "shut down". We have removed evolution from our breeding programme and it now appears that we have done so to the overall detriment of every living thing on the planet.

Add to that mix the fact that we now expose large sections of our populations to chemicals that affect our genes, mutating them and damaging them. The result is that we are also having to find ways to deal with increasing incidence of disablities which in more primitive societies would have resulted in the infant being killed or exposed to the elements to die naturally. Morally and ethically such an approach is totally unacceptable in our society so we have no alternative but to look carefully at our attitude toward the whole issue of human breeding - a very sensitive and emotionally charged subject, especially for those most likely to find themselves excluded from the gene pool in future - which may well include something like 90% of males and possibly a large proportion of women as well.

Is it time to return to some form of "Alpha" male selection? It would seem so, but a key question which needs to be answered before anyone even thinks about implementing such a strategy. We need to have a very clear, and probably scientific debate (Excluding all politicians and all Civil Servants!), about what the selection should and should not include. And then we have to have a scheme for how we provide for all those boys who will not be allowed to breed! Is this a likely scenario? Not in a modern Western Society I am glad to say, but it could well be implemented in some future "socialist paradise" on the Marxist/Leninist model (And those always start with the sort of "soft" socialist idealists we currently have infesting universities and bureaucracies everywhere in the west). The worry there is that the selection process would then be based on a set of ideological criteria and not on genetics.

Of one thing I am certain, if humanity is to survive the changing climate and the threatened food and water shortages, we have to find some way to limit population growth. I am not suggesting that we should embark on some new form of "ethnic cleansing" or "Eugenics". What I am saying is that we have to put in place a responsible, moral and ethical system which does not involve force or mass extermination and does take account of the genetic diversity we need to keep the human population healthy - and we have to look at ways to reduce it from the 6-7 billion we have at present back down to the pre-1940's levels which were sustainable. We have proved that interference with natural selection threatens us all - now we have to find a way to work with it.

As I said, an explosively tricky subject, but one, I suspect, that is already being discussed by politicians behind tightly closed doors and in heavily screened rooms lest the slightest hint of the discussion leaked into the media. Can you imagine the uproar if it were discovered that our political classes were planning to ensure their genes were the survivors for the future (As their Bunker plans for the Cold War intended with only the politicians and civil servants guaranteed a place of safety reveal) and the rest of us were to be allowed to die out?

Quite. This is an idea that I do not think will find political endorsement (officially!) anytime soon. That still leaves us with three times the human population the planet can support comfortably. An interesting conundrum.

Musica Deo Sacra

Is an annual feast of music and liturgy here at the Abbey and this is its 40th anniversary. It began on Monday with a stunning setting for the canticles and psalms, an amazing anthem and a prelude and postlude on the Milton that was just stunning. The Introit, Ecce vicit Leo to a setting by Peter Philips (1561-1628) set the scene for a service which mixed Samuel Sebastian Wesley's music with Richard Shepherd, George Garrett, Mathew Camidge, K John Pye, William Croft and Basil Harwood. The sermon by the Venerable Norman Warren was a gem in itself, setting the standard for the rest of the week.

Tuesday's service was the Solemn Eucharist in honour of Our Lady using the Missa Assunpta est Maria by Palestrina embellished by the organ prelude Ave Maris Stella by Grigny, Introit Rise up my love by Willan, Holst's Ave Maria, Archer's the Son most high, Sandstrom's Es ist ein Ros' entsprungen and finished by Flor Peeters Toccata, Fugue et Hymne sur Ave Maris Stella. The sermon by the Very Reverend Michael Tavinor, Dean of Hereford Cathedral took the standard of preaching to a new high.

Wednesday brought the Solemn Eucharist of the Holy Cross introduced by J S Bach's "O Mensch bewein' deine Sunde Gross" as the prelude. The Mass setting was "Mass for double choir" by Frank Martin with Purcell's "Remember not our offences", Orlando Gibbons "O Lord, in thy wrath", John Sanders "The Reproaches", Mawby's "Ave verum Corpus" and closed with the Praeludium in F Sharp Minor by Buxtehude. But even more was still to come as this evening we were treated to a virtuoso performance on the Milton and the Grove organs by Carleton Etherington. In a truly amazing programme it is impossible to pick out a single piece as better than any other, though I enjoyed the sheer exuberance of Grainger's "Handel in the Strand" on the Milton and Mendelsohn's Overture to the St Paul Oratorio on the Grove. And, as if that were not enough - we then moved to an unaccompanied Compline sung by the Choristers of the MDS Choir.

A musical feast that will be running through my head and others for days to come. And we're only half way through the week.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Long range weather

I have no doubt at all that the weather of these last few months - a world away from what the "Long Range Weather Forecast" issued by the Met Office earlier this year predicting a long, hot and very dry summer - will soon be seized on by the Global Warming Scaremongers as "proof" of climate change. Of course its changing, it has been changing for at least 10,000 years in the current cycle and quite probably longer. Something that seems to get forgotten by the hype mongers and so-called climatologists (And ex-politicians like Al Gore) is that the Norsemen who found Greenland a thousand years ago were able to farm it successfully, the climate was warmer there then and supported mixed farming. They also named a big chunk of what we now call Nova Scotia "Vinland" because they found vines bearing something like grapes there!

Thanks to the Gorse Fox I found this BBC website which actually gives a very interestingly balanced and rather skeptical report on the melting of the glaciers. They report that the researchers studying these glaciers have discovered that the rapid retreat and expansion of the key glacier all the predictions are based on appears to have happened several times in the past - and long before there were ever enough humans to have an impact. So who do the Climate Change scaremongers blame for that? T-Rex cooking his victims?

I do not doubt that the climate is changing. I don't doubt that overpopulation and the destruction of rain forests, the draining of the Aral Sea and a number of other large scale changes such as the damming of the Yellow River in China are having an impact. What I do take leave to doubt is that this is all the fault of the Western Societies. I also take leave to doubt that we can reverse it without a major reduction in population and even then I think we would very rapidly discover that the changes are driven by the Earth itself and forces so far outside our control that we have little influence on them.

In the meantime, I am enjoying a cool summer and we can probably look forward to a colder than usual winter. But then, I'm not a Met Office employee under Civil Service orders to produce long-range forecasts that reflect "official" government "The World Is Overheating and Its All Your Fault for Heating and Lighting your Home and using Private Transport". An agenda that I do not doubt has more to do with a Socialist hatred of personal choice and liberty and nothing to do with climate change.

Remember, the Climate Models the so-called experts at Fiends of the Earth and Green(Strife)peace and the Universities that produce these people are using don't model anything above 1.6 km from the surface and don't model the oceanic effect. If you read the BBC report they don't know why the Glacial melts occurred in the past and they certainly don't know now. Until they do - Long Range Weather Forecasts are about as accurate as someone keeping a collection of dried seaweed on the porch to predict the weather.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Proselytising Atheism

The news today that an Atheist Group are arranging and holding camps for youngsters as young as seven, in which to "counter Christian religious propaganda" should worry the churches. Although it is claimed that they are against all religion, they seem to be targetting only children from a Christian background and one of the statements they keep repeating is that "religion may inhibit morality". The trouble with that is that their brand of morality seems to have more to do with the "free love" ideals of the Hippy generation than anything the "man on the Clapham bus" would recognise as moral.

The thinly veiled "lessons" in anti-religion include an invented story which requires the children to "prove" that Unicorns do not exist even though a "Centuries old" book says they do. A reward is offered to the child who can "prove" by means of a logical argument and 'hard' evidence that the book is false. The claim is that they are teaching the children to exercise skepticism, logic and 'natural' laws to 'inform' their religious ideas - yet none of those teaching this course lnow enough about Christianity or any other religion to, frankly, know what they are talking about. Nor are the children given anything to show what does support the Bible or for that matter any other religious text. This is a blatant attempt - fully supported by that arch anti-Christian Dawkins - to brainwash children and poison their minds with this New Age founded Atheist claptrap.

The idea that morality is inhibited by the holding of religious views has to be challenged. Pol Pot was an Atheist, so was Joe Stalin and Hitler. Or perhaps their mass extermination of opponents and certain ethnic groups was simply a rational attempt to impose a new religion free order? Are we now to believe that these men were somehow more morally informed than someone who happens to believe that his or her religion forbids same-sex marriage? That is what this is really all about. Religious doctine (In all the religions based on the Judeo/Christian/Muslim philosophy there is a bias against samne-sex relationships) is now seen as standing in the way of the "anything goes" ideology of this atheist socialist government. Socialism in all its guises is the complete antithesis of religious morality and principles and that is why the government and the political classes are now trying their utmost to promote Ateism as superior to religious belief.

The amusing side to this, if there is one, is that in this pursuit of a Godless Society, they have created a new God for themselves. Its called science, yet their understanding of science is questionable at best since they 'believe' that science can explain everything which real scientists will tell you it can't. I think I'd be more accepting of this if the promoters actually knew enough about my religious beliefs to comprehend it. And perhaps that is the tragedy in all this. The 'religion' they are attacking is a Sunday School simple explanations/fundamentalist travesty, it does not represent true belief at all, but they do not want to engage in any debate. Any attempt to do so, simply ends up with the Atheist speaker becoming angry as he/her ignorance is exposed and then abusive. If that is their idea of "moral" or even "logical" - God help them.

Monday, 27 July 2009

Democratic options?

It seems that all but one of the several Mayors, Deputy Mayors and members of state legislature arrested in the corruption scandal currently rocking the US East Coast is a Democrat. So much for the Democrats squeaky clean image I guess, but then, politicians are the same wherever. Some of them are just clever enough not to get caught. Mind you it must be some kind of record for a Party elected on the bandwagon of "look how corrupt the Republicans are" to be caught up to their necks in the pig ordure so soon after coming to power.

I would also have to say that it is typical of the arrogance of the so-called "liberal socialist" persuasion to corrupt everything they touch. Socialism seems to attract the types who cannot see that they are no better than their pet Bogeymen - the ones they label Fascists at every opportunity - and try to suppress any hint of their own wrongdoing. Watch the Labour Party in the UK as the election approaches. I confidently predict we will see them trying to revive every scandal that rocked the Conservative Party and talk up a negative take on every policy of the Conservatives while refusing to say what their own are or apologise for the corruption exposed by the Daily Telegraph - which arose on their Watch, was designed by their own Mandarins and promoted to their new MPs at the outset of their term in Government.

Seems the US Democrats must have been taking lessons.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Road Tax

If proof were ever needed that our political classes live in a different world/dimension to the rest of us the latest utterances from that House of Crass Arrogance has to be the ultimate proof. Now they advocate "Road Pricing" as an alternative to Road Tax, but not, I note, to Fuel Duty, which nets the Whitehall W*nk*r Brigade an astonishing 88 pence in every litre we put in the tank. The argument runs that we should poay for using the roads.

Excuse me, but I thought we were already - £10 billion in Road Tax and probably twice that in Fuel Duty! And not even a fifth of that is actually spent on roads or transport!

So now they want to introduce a sort of Toll system which will have each of us monitored as we drive and somewhere in Whitehall a meter will be running, measuring how much mileage you are doing and how much you must send them for the privilege at the end of each month. What they do not explain, since, as usual, they are looking only at the city and motorway traffic, is how those of us who live outside of the cities and away from their cattle-truck transport systems, will manage to get to and from work. Or the impact that this tax on travelling to work and back will have on the woder economy. As usual it is driven by the city dwelling Fiends of the Earth and Greenpeace Ecowarriors who would like to see us all back to living on self-subsisting smallholdings in unheated, unlit mud huts with thatch roofing and animal dung walls and floors. Of course, they omit the fact that we'd need animal skins to clothe ourselves and charcoal (which generates huge amounts of Carbon Monoxide) to heat our mud huts and international travel or even travel to the next collection of mud huts would be a thing of the past.

This government and their supporters and lobbyists see motorists as cash cows, to be milked as often and as viciously as possible. They hate the personal freedom that comes with car ownership because it means we are not under their control and they cannot control our movements or our choices. They hate independent thought and particularly anyone of inniative. What they want is a controlled, immobilised society of good little citizens who will do as we are told, pay everything we earn to them so they can enrich themselves and prevent us from doing what is right for us as individuals and not as the pawns they want us to be.

Naturally none of these morons has worked out that every increase in fuel duty, road tax or tolls translates into higher food prices and inflation. That just doesn't enter Whitehall's ideology driven thinking.

This is a tax we should all resist - if necessary by driving our politicians and their civil service puppeteers into the Thames!

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Appalling

The news from the US that over forty people have been arrested as a result of an ongoing investigation into money laundering and corruption in high places is bad enough. To find that several several Rabbis are implicated in these activities and worse, in the sale of human organs, is devastating. As an indicator of how human greed can override common sense it is a perfect example of how to hand the enemies of the Jews as a group, and the Islamic fundamentalists in particular a coup they couldn't have generated if they'd tried, it surpasses belief.

As a Jewish friend of mine said, this undermines everything ever decent Jew has given his or her life to and sends it crashing through the floor. It dishonours all those killed in the concentration camps and the pogroms of the 19th Century and the purges of Europe in all the centuries preceeding even that. He used a Hebrew word I have not heard before and which I cannot spell or even begin to translate to describe the Rabbis who he feels have betrayed every Jew by their behaviour. He wouldn't translate it - just said it was the worst thing any Jew could call another. I cannot believe that anyone of faith could be so stupid as to indulge in something so fundamentally against the principles of every faith, particularly the Jewish faith and particularly by a scholar of that faith.

I feel for all my Jewish friends at this time, as one of them has already said, it is now time for Israel and the Israeli government in particular to put a curb on the Ultra-Orthodox and to start growing the nation in a spirit of inclusiveness. Only by that means can they ever hope to achieve stability, win respect and find peace for their nation.

One can never be surprised by corrupt politicians, one can only be appalled by the blinkered abuse of positions of trust in religious matters which leads to the abuses these Rabbis have been involved in. They could not have handed the enemies of their people any better propaganda tool if they had tried.

Friday, 24 July 2009

Swine flu pan(ic)demic

Watching the news one is forced to wonder if we have become a nation of wimps. The Government website and the call centre wound up crashing because 9 million people tried to get onto it. Today the news readers are trying to tell people not to pnaic, but the government is pushing out a mixed message and releasing figures which suggest that everyone is about to go down with the virus. Yet the truth is that it is children below the age of 14 and those suffering from other medical conditions who are most at risk. So it looks like there are an awful lot of people out there in a state of panic over this. So are we a nation of hypochondriacs? It certainly looks like it.

According to the latest figures we are seeing 100,000 new cases in a week, but this isn't really an accurate picture. In Scotland where the first cases were recorded, the numbers are falling, in the Midlands rising and in London static. That last one is a surprise considering that it is there that the system guaranteed to spread any epidemic is absolutely perfect - the mass transport system the Capital relies on. Influenza in all its forms is not very pleasant and even the ordinary forms kill a number of people every year, so why the panic over this one? One thing I would like to see is a comparison with the numbers of 'flu related deaths in other years. I suspect that it may reveal that there may be variations in the age group affected, but that the numbers may well be comparable. According to the latest news we have had 27 deaths from this 'flu, only 6 of which have not had any other medical problems, a number I'm sure is fairly average year on year. So why the desperation over this strain? Why all the warnings and the medical specialists solemnly telling us how much more dangerous this strain is?

I suspect it may be related to the need to whip up some extra funding for the NHS in advance of the next Budget round, but the World Health Organisation may have its own agenda as well. As for the UK Media, well all one cansay is that they will publish anything - preferably scary - to boost circulation and sales. And with the "Silly Season" now upon us as all the politicians take their three months of holidays, the media need something to report so any scare story is going to get the front page and banner headlines. Shades, I suspect, of the "Daily Sport" headline that announced the finding of a B-17 bomber on the moon.

Want to avoid the 'flu? Stay away from crowds, stay away from the local Surgery Waiting Room, avoid the tube and the trains, flying long haul and stay home. And if you do get it, stay in bed, take sensible measures such as controlling your temperature with analgesics, keep your hydration levels up and maintain your nourishment. It's a virus, antibiotics don't work on a virus so don't take any unless you also have a bacterial infection which will respond - but remember, antibiotics can also lower your resistance to other bugs! Above all - Don't panic!

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Disappointing returns

Last night received the first and only sales report from my publisher. They reported that all the books sold have gone through Amazon, which I suppose is, in one sense good news since only Amazon UK are stocking it, but in another, its bad news since the Amazon Discounted price means that I end up owing them. Well virtually, in fact the book is currently selling at a loss even though it is selling.

I'll admit I find that very hard to understand. Further research required I think.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

A lesson in Socialist economics....

Perusing One happy dog speaks the other day I found this wonderful example of Socialist Economics in microcosm. The funny part is that I can remember having a lecturer make exactly this point about Socialism almost 45 years ago! Did no one else spot the problem?

If hard work and succeeding through hard work are not rewarded you generate a culture in which no one is motivated to work at all. That can be seen in modern Britain where a large underclass has grown up under Socialist "Victimhood" and "Poverty Eradication" policies over the last sixty years. Yes, this was intended to even out the extremes, but the truth, as Louis XIV's Finance Minister pointed out in the 17th Century, is that you cannot achieve this without alienating the primary source of wealth in the first place! Why should I work hard if the reward will be handed to some individual who doesn't do a tenth of what I do and still gets the promotions and the same pay packet as me?

The problem is that changing this will be extremely difficult since we now have a generation in charge who still believe they can make the unworkable work and who have imposed a culture of "non-competitiveness" on our youth. And, as any evolutionist will tell you - without competition species die out. Sadly, the death of the Socialist Dream is likely to comne about only through the death of the Western Civilisation.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Climate change myths

Interesting that the Obama Administration is desperately trying to silence the overwhelming majority of scientists in the US who disagree with the now politically driven "Global Warming" runaway train. As the following piece, taken from Hard Astarboard's blog shows, there is now a large body of evidence that shows the climate models and the media hysteria fueled by a small number of politically active and aware activists in the Greenpeace, Fiends of the Earth and similar eco-terrorist organisations are deeply flawed. In fact the data over the last ten years shows that the earth is actually cooling, not warming - something I can readily believe as I sit in the UK in mid July watching it rain and with the temperature hovering around 18*C. Even a few years ago this would have been considered unseasonal, but now the weather forecast is predicting several more weeks of this and a quick look at weather stats tells me that this is the weather we used to have in the UK in the late 1960's.

In the last few weeks Obama and his minions have rammed something called "Cap and trade" through Congress in the name of "reducing emmissions" and "saving US industry and jobs" among the usual raft of "liberal" agendas based on Socialist ideology. That it is happening in the US should worry the rest of us deeply.

Cap and trade” is first a massive indirect tax on the American people and hence another source of revenue for Congress. More importantly “cap and trade” is just about the most effective tool for controlling most economic activity short of openly declaring ourselves a communist nation and it’s a radical environmentalist’s dream come true.

So why the rush and the press on the Senate? Increasing evidence is emerging that far from there being global warming, the Earth has been cooling and has been doing so for 10 years. Prominent atmospheric scientists have recently sent a letter to Congress saying, “You are being deceived about global warming. … The Earth has been cooling for ten years. … The present cooling was not predicted by the alarmists’ computer models.” Last March, more than 700 international scientists went on record dissenting over manmade global warming claims. About 31,500 American scientists, including 9,029 with Ph.D.s, have signed a petition, that in part reads, “There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate.”

The Obama administration’s EPA sees the increasing evidence against global warming as a threat to their agenda and has taken desperate measures. About a week before the House vote on “cap and trade,” the Washington, D.C.-based Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) released some EPA e-mails, demonstrating that an internal report by Alan Carlin, a 35-year career EPA analyst, criticizing EPA’s position on global warming, had been squelched for political reasons (http://bit.ly/11XwoC). One of the e-mails is from Dr. Al McGartland, director of the EPA’s National Center for Environmental Economics reads, “The administrator and administration has decided to move forward on endangerment, and your comments do not help the legal or policy case for this decision. … I can see only one impact of your comments given where we are in the process, and that would be a very negative impact on our office.”


The problem is that the "Global Warming" 'loobby' is actually falsifying the data, discarding or suppressing anything that doesn't fit their model. This is not scientific, it is fraudulent, but now that the politcians have decided there is mileage in running with it so they can push through a raft of regulations and restrictions on personal choice and liberty, its probably unstoppable. Once again the mantra is heard "Some must give up some of their privileges in order that others may prosper." Animal Farm in the 21st Century. The report can be accessed here as a *.pdf

Monday, 20 July 2009

Moon walking

No, I'm not talking about a certain ex-Pop Star recently departed this life to another, I'm talking about the real thing that happened on this day in 1969. The famous utterance of Niel Armstrong, the first man to set foot on the moon, remains etched in the memory - "One small step for man; one giant leap for mankind." The stunning footage of the earth "rising" above the lunar horizon was breathtaking, yet, jsut as they seemed set to build on this massive achievement, the Democrat government in 1972 cancelled the funding and stopped all further manned exploration of the moon. In fact, at one point it looked as if they would withdraw completely from space.

I was therefore encouraged when the shuttle was developed and launched because without something like it we cannot hope to build anything permanent in space. But now we no cohesive policy - least of all in the UK, where space is seen as something everyone else can spend money on while we waste billions on welfare programmes which, if we actually had a space programme, would be rendered unnecessary by the employment it would generate. Surprisingly the UKis the fourth most active nation in Space Research even though we have not yet had an "official" astronaut in space - we've had a number who have been privately funded or fuded by other agencies and even states - and we now have an official astronaut in training. Itis also claimed that we are the leading builder of robotic equipment for space and have the largest European based satellite company here. Most of which is such a well kept secret its almost unknown! Why? Because Whitehall and Westminster are afraid of the "waste the money on social programmes" lobby - the same one that always wants to disarm us completely and spend the money "saved" on everything from minority culture promotion to even more social engineering stupidity.

So where are we forty years on? Well we still dream and we still live in hope that one day someone will have the guts to kick the wasters into touch and actually start up the development and the programmes we need if we are to build on the achievement of those first moon walkers. Whoever goes there now will be 'standing on the shoulders of the giants' who made those first faltering flights in space craft equipped with computers less powerful than the average mobile phone. They were giants and the men who dreamed and made their flights reality were giants too - a stark contrast to the mental pygmies now infesting our political organisations and the bureaucracies they have created instead. Yet, in spite of them, it seems that quietly and carefully our entrepeneurial engineers, scientists and researchers have managed to keep us in the game. Long may they continue to do so and all power to the Major selected as our first official astronaut, let's hope some faceless Whitehall W*nk*r doesn't find some way to pull the plug on his flight. They will if they can.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Sunday's sermon

I get to preach at oth the Parish and the Sung Eucharist today, so I'm cheating. Same sermon served twice! And here it is ...

Trinity 6 2009

“But he answered; you give them something to eat.”

+ May I speak and may you hear in the name of the Father, son and Holy Spirit.
Amen


Quite a challenge that; large hungry crowd, late in the day, remote from anywhere and the disciples, pragmatically say to our Lord –

“Send the people away so that they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.”

His response must have felt like a slap in the face. All they can find is five loaves – and two fish, not even enough for themselves – or so they think. But now comes the miracle, Jesus takes the bread and the fish, blesses them and has the disciples distribute them. Five thousand are fed and there remain twelve baskets of left-overs. A miracle? Or, as some would argue, the crowd opened their hidden lunch baskets and shared? Or something else?

I would put my money on the first. Why? Simply this, it is one of the very small number of miracles that occurs with slight variations in the detail in all four Gospels. John has a small boy bring five small loaves and two small fishes, Matthew tells us that besides the five thousand men there were as many women and children as well as does Luke and John uses it as a centre-piece in his selection of the miracles that point to Jesus being the Christ, the Chosen One or as he so aptly puts it in his opening lines of the Gospel, “The Word made flesh.”

Probably irreverently, this story always brings into my mind – especially in John’s account - the image of someone’s sandwiches, or as someone else once described them, Pitta Breads with a fish filling, and a hungry boy has slipped the fishes out of two or three during the course of the morning.

The feeding of the five thousand is a miracle in itself but there is far more to this story, in fact there are second and third layers to it. Let us take a look at these in the context of our Epistle.

St Paul writes: “But now in Christ, you who were once far off have been brought near through the blood of Christ.”

This brings us a new context of the miracle described in our Gospel for in sharing a meal, especially in the Eastern understanding of fellowship and hospitality, we are gathering into one community or even one communion. This is evident in the actions Christ makes as he Takes the bread and the fishes, give thanks for them, breaks the bread, and then distributes and shares it. The actions we will share in our Eucharist this morning.

It is in the action of gathering in the name of Christ for worship and fellowship that we renew our faith, share our doubts, our fears and concerns and come together for worship and fellowship. It is in gathering that we renew our discipleship and receive the strength to go out from here to face the challenges of the world and bring the gospel to others. If we look carefully at our Gospel we see that there is much more to this story than simply the miracle of the shared meal. There is also the fact that this large crowd went out looking for Jesus who had withdrawn with his disciples to rest and refresh their own spirits. And the crowd wanted to be part of that, there was a desire to share in that spiritual growth and renewal. So now we have another miracle, a less noticeable one perhaps than the question of the food. These were people hungry for hope, hungry not in the flesh but in the spirit.
And that leads me into my third layer to this story.

“When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began to teach them many things.”

And now we come to the meaning of his charge to the disciples –

“You give them something to eat.”

He was probably being ironic and teasing them. I’m pretty sure they saw quickly enough what he meant. It is an image he uses again and again. After all, their retreat into the lonely place was to rest after having completed a tiring and taxing spell on their own teaching and ministering to the sick. They had discovered for themselves just how tiring it was to be at everyone’s beck and call, to have to stand and teach, encouraging the faltering in faith, helping others to find faith, to encourage them towards the road and the start of the great journey of faith. No doubt those who had performed miracles as the other gospellers tell us, had experienced the drain of their own resources as they did so. They were beginning to understand how tiring Jesus himself must have found it.

The time was coming when Jesus would say to Peter, “Feed my sheep,” and Peter would know by then that this meant taking up his own cross and walking towards it, if not with joy, then at least with courage and in the company of our Lord.
Our soul’s need the nourishment of fellowship, of learning, of sharing in worship and in sharing in the learning and teaching we are all called to do in the name of our Lord.

“Send the people away so that they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.”

The disciples first saw only the physical need to eat, Christ saw much more. He saw the spiritual hunger, the need to gather, to hear the Word and to nourish the Spirit, alongside the physical. He teased the disciples and he challenges us as the Gospel tells us -

“But he answered; you give them something to eat.”

Amen

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Odd weather

The last few days has seen some really "unsummery" weather sweep through our skies. This is summer. Normally I would have my fans running, the duvet stowed away and the windows wide as possible. Not lately, in fact the wind last night wouldn't allow me to keep the windows open anyway and the chill in the air was certainly not summer temperature! And the rains have been drenching some areas, thankfully though, we haven't seen anything like the sousing we got two years ago - yet. I hesitate to say we have seen the last of this because that would be tempting fate in a big way.

The culprit for all this is the same weather engine that saw us get a years supply of rain in a few hours almost exactly two years ago. It's the jet stream that should, at this time of the year be swirling across the north of Scotland and the North Sea. It has relocated itself Southward and is currently over the Midlands and the mid-Atlantic zone which generates low pressure systems off the American coast and sends these hurtling into us. Not that I am complaining, my garden is flourishing - always tricky if we have a dry summer as I have to water with a watering can filled indoors - and my hayfever hasn't been too bad so far because the rain keeps the pollen down. So I've had to put on a pullover occassionally, frankly I don't mind at all, I like these temperatures.

And today we have a bright dawn, glorious sunshine and the promise of a really nice day ahead. There might be some more showers later and tomorrow, well that's another day isn't it.

Friday, 17 July 2009

Striking mail

It has often seemed to me that many Trade Unions have a death wish when it comes to businesses in deep trouble, though, perhaps, Public Service organisations are hardly 'businesses' regardless of how the idiots at the Treasury and in the Civil Service see them. The Royal Mail, a key 'Public Service' has been a flagship delivering millions of pieces of mail daily and 'losing' or misdelivering very little - except in the minds of the Mandarins who have demanded 'efficiency' and 'profitability' from a service that was provided in the 19th Century to make communication a 'universal' right rather than something only the wealthy could afford. The Mandarins seem to suffer from a form of lunacy difficult to catagorise since it involves looking at a service they are supposed to deliver and which is subsidised by the taxpayer because it is something that, at best, will 'break even' and try to turn it into something it can't be.

They destroyed the government's Maintenance Department by turning it into the "Public Services Agency" - and then demanded that it must, without the benefit of a Capital Fund to underpin it, compete for the "business" of doing what it had always done with outside contractors who could, and promptly did, undercut the prices forced on the Agency by the Treasury. The result? The PSA vanished from the landscape some 15 years ago and the cost of maintaining the government's buildings has quadrupled as the "competitive tenderers" have been able to form a cartel with the Treasury through the "Preferred Bidder" system.

Around 10 years ago they turned their attention to the Royal Mail. First they carved it up and sold off to people like TNT, Group 4 and others the 'profitable' parts such as long haul parcel delivery and bulk mail. Then they made the remnant, the normal postal delivery, an Agency and passed laws setting targets and demanding 'efficiencies' that meant the Royal Mail had to push up the prices, lose its envious sorting and delivery trains and aircraft and cut back on staff. Even so it has managed to deliver in the order of 90% of all First Class mail within 24 hours as required by law. (Where in the world is there another Postal Service with that record?) But the Mandarins are determined to destroy this so they have saddled the 'new' operation with a Pension Deficit of over £100 billion. Recognise the pattern?

OK, now enter the Unions. I have to say I can see their frustration for their members. No matter how well they do or how much pain their members take, the constant drip feed to Parliament and Ministers from the Mandarins of how bad the service is, how much more efficient their partners in the commercial world would be, has had the effect of persuading the politicians that "the Royal Mail is failing." How do you protect your members, the sorters, postmen and women and others who make the whole operation possible? How do you save their jobs in the face of the Whitehall Mandarins determination to destroy them?

The Unions only answer is to strike and foster, in the 19th Century mindset that fuels so much of the Socialist thinking that pervades the Unions still, a confrontation with the Management of the Royal Mail. Frankly, this will only play into the hands of the Whitehall Mandarins who have engineered the situation from start to finish. It's easy to blame the Managers of the Royal Mail for the situation but they are caught between the unreasonable and utterly impractical demands and restrictions of Whitehall and Westminster and the 'rights' of their employees as set out in the legislation written and bullied through against advice, by the same Mandarins who have created the situation that will see Royal Mail cease to exist. The Union needs to rethink its strategy - they need to make the Mandarins and the Ministers feel the anger, and they need to work with the Royal Mail's Managers to do it. The enemy is not their management, it IS the Civil Service.

All the strikes will do is guarantee the triumph of the Whitehall W*nk*rs.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Taxing the elderly ....

This is not a good age to be growing older. Why? Because Socialists with their ideaologies of "universal care," and centralised provision of everything from housing to pensions have suddenly, after years of warnings and years of ruining economies wherever they are in power, woken up to the fact that the idea that you can tax people and spend every penny without making any provision for the future or allowance for future demographic trends and future needs has come home to roost. And, as usual, it is my generation who now have to pay for a system most of us didn't want and have had to accept all through our working lives.

The latest "prefered option" put forward by this government of thieves, hooligans and ignoramuses is clearly aimed at impoverishing the middle classes and removing any possible hope of helping one's children through leaving them even a small legacy from any property you might have managed to hold onto into old age. It's not enough for the Civil Servants and communistas in Labour to be taking 45% of everything I earn in direct tax, indirect tax and the so-called National Insurance - an 11% tax on top of Income Tax - now they want to force me, in retirement, to pay an additional £17,500 - £20,000 per annum towards "care" I may not need, so they can provide it to those who do. And if I should need it myself, they want to give the local authority the right to take and sell everything I own to pay for it.

Oh, and they think this is "fair".

Coming from the parasites of Whitehall and Westminster that's rich, since everything they get is paid for by us and everyone who works hard and pays taxes is now having to pay extra - or likely to have to pay extra - in order to pay for Labour's parasitic voters on benefit and the expensive lifestyles of the same ideologues who have spent the last hundred years destroying everything about Britain that was "Great". They have also spent that time refusing to allow us to make private provision when we could or making it so expensive and unaffordable we couldn't. They have signed up to every cockamamie and expensive policy from Europe even when there was no need to do so and sold our country down the river at every opportunity and labelled everything about us as "institutionally -ism" (Insert own favourite -ism here!). This is the same government that has ruined pension funds and robbed pensioners blind - and now wants to strip us of everything we have left.

Anyone who still thinks that Socialism in any form is fair, reasonable or libertarian needs to be confined in a mental institution under the Mental Health Act. This is the philosophy that has seen crime rise dramatically, has destroyed the armed forces, reduced the Police to an alienated service policing the PC garbage powerless against real criminals. It is the philosophy that criminalises mothers who leave their children unattended in a safe place for a few minutes while attending to the needs of another child. That empowers children to ruin and destroy adults in schools and other professions by creating a system that assumes that all children tell the truth and all adults lie. That promotes Stasi type informers among neighbours. Socialism fair? Not bloody likely - its merely another means of ensuring that the Serfs, you and me, stay in our places and our children can never threaten the dynastic position of our Parliamentarians.

I can't afford this new "tax" and it seems likely that if this government or their successors - and the Civil Service will ensure this happens - actually adopt this system, I will have to sell everything I possess or allow the state to take it anyway. And any hope I had of leaving my children even a small legacy to help them along the way seems now to be most unlikely.

That I resent very deeply indeed. I have worked all my life, never drawn benefit, housed myself and other members of my family and always been denied any "benefit" despite paying through the nose for the privilege. I have not had the money to help my children directly along the journey other than in the usual manner of responsible and loving parents, and now it seems likely that what little I do have will be grabbed by these thieves as well.

And they call this a Civilised Society.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

British weather? Not anymore ...

In deference to The Archbishop of Canterbury and The Royal Commission for Political Correctness, it was announced today that the local climate in the UK should no longer be referred to as 'British Weather'.

Rather than offend a sizeable portion of the population, it will now be referred to as 'Muslim Weather'.

In other words - partly Sunni, but mostly Shi'ite

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Britsh Media failing the public

An excellent article written on the BBC Blog by Ian Dunt entitled "Is the British Media failing the public". It touches on a very serious issue. The Murdoch Press has, for the last few years backed NuLabour and been, in effect, an extension of the NuLabour Public Relations Office. A similar trend was highly visible in the US it has to be said in the last few years of the Bush administration. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure GWB wasn't that great as a leader, but I'm equally sure he wasn't as bad as the media made out. Reading some media reports you'd think he'd suspended the Constitution and set up Extermination Camps.

But the media in the UK is scurrilous and frequently biased. Even the BBC is not immune; watch the manner in which Ministers get away with spreading untruths while anyone else is almost crucified. The Media often behave as Judge and Jury and the way 'facts' are presented is often distorted and presents a completely false picture. While our MP's are hardly saints, they wouldn't be in politics if they were, the media hounds pursuing them have some interesting 'perks' and creative expenses claims. So why do we bother buying newspapers or watching/listening? It comes down to the fact that we have been raised on a diet of envy and hatred of anyone or anything which might be better than we are - so the media feeds on the desire among the great unwashed, as one media Baron described his reading public, to see anyone who rises above the common herd, dragged down and preferably destroyed in the gutter.

But the Media is just a part of the problem as Ian Dunt reminds his readers. The whole political system is discredited and broken and the media pack are a part of that. One body he has missed in my opinion, is the Civil Service, the unelected and hugely expensive and totally unproductive "Fourth Estate" of the political class. All three need a major overhaul, but I wouldn't hold your breath, none is likely to see any change this side of a blood bath.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Walking on strange shores

Is the title of a new short story published today by Residential Aliens, an online magazine or 'e-zine' that has published several of my short stories in the past. The new story can be found under the title Walking on strange shores and I certainly hope you'll take a read and enjoy it. The magazine is FREE!

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Tragedy in Edinburgh

A fire last night in Edinburgh has killed one fire fighter and injured several more. I have just listened to the news and heard the Firemaster saying that they had had to perform a number of rescues in the four storey building and the injuries occured when an internal floor collapsed.

In the time I spent in the fire service I saw a number of such events and can only give thanks that I have never had to break this sort of news to the wife/mother/girl friend/fiancee/partner of any of those serving in my Brigade. I have lost colleagues though in motor accidents and in neighbouring brigades, just not in my own. Something to give thanks for, yet, today, I find myself praying for a fallen colleague and for his colleagues and family as they come to terms with his loss.

These mounting losses in the fire and rescue services of the UK give the lie to the "modernisers" who tore up the rank structure, the training stratgies, the discipline codes and imposed a dumbing down which is now starting to bite. Just as in the Armed Forces cuts have also resulted in fewer people on the ground, the loss of experienced people and a loss of vital knowledge on the ground, something I encounter all to often in the classroom as I and others try to impart what we have learned - often through the harsh school of "battlefield" experience - and encounter blank stares when we raise the relationship of some concept with a basic piece of knowledge the trainees no longer get taught at recruit level or because they have 'parachuted' into a post without having any basic training at all.

That said, my sympathies lie entirely with the fire crews in Edinburgh, every loss is a death too many. Let us hope that this one will be the trigger for a reappraisal of the policies and practices that have led us to this position. In the meantime pray for those who have died, have been injured and those who mourn their passing.

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Sacrifices

Ten servicemen killed in ten days. Yes, it is a war that needs to be fought, yes we do need to be there or, as Mister Brown said yesterday - it will have to be fought on our streets and in our cities. Some might welcome that, but there is no getting away from the fact that the Taliban have to be stopped and so does Al Qaeda.

The tragedy is that our service personnel are being asked to do this on a shoestring - they don't have the heavy choppers they should have had from the start. Why because Brown and the Treasury keep cutting back the Defence budgets. They don't have the armoured vehicles they need. Why, because the last "Defence Review" felt we didn't need them. Reason? They cost too much....

At least there is a growing awareness of the problems these guys face and a huge respect for them among the general public. Maybe the pendulum is starting to swing and just maybe, the Treasury paper shufflers could find themselves having to come up with the money to fund our Armed Services properly instead of padding out their pensions with it. It's OUR money after all.

It's also the least we can do to honour those who have already fallen because of Whitehall's incompetence and self serving squandering of our resources.

Friday, 10 July 2009

Cabbages and kings ...

It's been a funny old day, started off at the garage because my car's Aircon needed a purge and deodorising. Then I needed to find some CCTV components so I could price them. Three electrical stores later - BINGO!

This evening I took Evening Prayer at the Abbey and as usual am amazed by the number of people who will trip over the signs saying "Service in progress - please enter quietly and join us" and wander in talking loudly, then say "Oh! Sorry" and back out again! They just can't seem to get their heads round the fact that services and worship happens every day of the week. In our case three times at least every day.

It's certainly been a busy day, and now Madam Paddy is trying to entice me to bed. She has a point!

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Wrestling with presentations....

In a few weeks time I have to do a five minute presentation as part of an assessment. The problem is that it has to lead into a discussion for a group which should be led by me and last at least fifteen minutes. On their own, neither presents me with a particular problem normally, but for some strange reason this combination is causing me difficulty.

I can do a five minute subject, no problem. I can introduce a discussion and keep it boiling, no problem. But do the first to lead into the second? I keep running into either running over time in the presentation or ending up with a lecture and then a discussion in which I would be answering questions instead of encouraging a debate. I can't seem to break the mould on this - perhaps because I have spent the last seven weeks lecturing from 0830 to 1700 and answering the students questions arising from the lectures and presentations .....

Maybe I need to head for the shops, get some milk, make a cup of coffee and then try again!

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Returning to the Moon

I have just read an article about the new NASA plan to send men to the moon again by 2020. That assumes, of course, that some little oik in Congress doesn't start to divert the money this will absorb to some more "useful" project - ie: one they get more votes for. That apparently was why the moon projects didn't continue in the 1960's, somebody in Congress figured out the Russians weren't trying anymore and pulled the plug.

I must say that the new modules are a complete sea-change away from the Appollo capsules. THe new Orion capsule is larger and has far more backup and computing power than any of the Appollo missions had. In fact, listening to Buzz Aldrin on the Radio the other day I could only admire the spirit of men who flew the Appollo (Or perhaps travelled in it rather than flew it!) missions knowing they had almost nothing to back them up if anything failed. There was almost no redundancy in their computers - in fact the modern Braun shaver has more computing power in its built in chip - and if anything failed or went radically wrong there was almost no chance of a return to Earth. Yet they went - and, as Appollo 13 showed - they had the wit, the courage and the ability to fly the thing back to Earth crippled and only just supporting their lives.

I was a schoolboy when men first walked on the moon and a young man starting out on a career when the last mission flew. I hope that I will live long enough to see men and women based permanently on the moon and on the sort of Space Stations we dared to dream would one day float above our atmosphere before the politicians started diverting the funds to fund their own ego boosting agendas.

My only regret with this project is that my own government and my own country will not contribute one penny to sending any of our own brave and intrepid men and women into space - they'd rather fund drug takers and wastrels than spend one farthing on anything worthwhile.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Defence Review = Defence Cuts

Today the Government announced it latest bit of eye-blind. A Defence Review. The last full strategic review was in 1998 and saw the Royal Navy cut to below the numbers of the French and left us with little more than a coastal defence force. To Labour and the Civil Service "Defence Review" always means cut it back even further.

One thing is for sure, by the time this shower of utterly incompetent and self serving cowards and their Civil Service puppeteers are finished we won't have any defences. Certainly the Navy can expect to lose even more of the ships they currently have and forget the Carriers - so proudly started today in VT's yard by the Gnome of Number 10 - but we can forget any new capability for the RAF (FAR too expensive these modern jets!) and the Army might as well write of the Mechanised Divisions and the Tank Regiment now. They only have 30 of them anyway - tanks that is - not regiments.

But, no doubt, we will once more be told by some moron in the MoD Civil Service (Right before he gets his KBE for destroying the military finally and utterly) that any one of our new Type 45 (Daring Class) Destroyers has "more fire power than the entire Grand Fleet of 1914 - 19 which had 33 battleships and numbered some 400 ships of all types and sizes. And these are the idiots who write the Minister's briefing notes (The Minister has to read one word at a time with his finger tracing the sentence and you can't let him have more than two syllable words - unless its "expenses" of course) with this sort of garbage, ie; One ship = 400 ships.

No you *rs*h*l*s - one ship is one ship. One tank is one tank and one Typhoon is one Typhoon! Shoot the Treasury whallahs now, before they start setting the outcomes for the revue - and then shoot every last damned Civil Servant in the MoD. Traitors the lot of them.

Monday, 6 July 2009

Ooops, the Justice system has 'lost' some of its miscreants ....

I have always had reservations about the system of letting serious offenders out on "Licence". This is supposed to be carefully managed and the convicted criminal isn't eligible for it until he or she has served the minimum 'tariff' set by the sentencing judge and even then not usually until at least half of the sentence has been served. I have serious difficulty with the idea of turning murderers loose into an unsuspecting community and there is a distinctly "Old Testament" part of me that demands "a life for a life" - though I would be satisfied if our "Life Sentence" actually did mean "life" behind bars. It doesn't and the argument always advanced by defenders of this lenient system is that the offender is always monitored and "on licence".

Of course, that's why the Department of Justice has succeeded in "loosing" 954 "on licence" offenders. And a large proportiuon of them are people sentenced for murder, rape, violent assault, armed robbery and using deadly weapons .....

But our Justice Secretary assures us there's no need to worry - it's only 1% of the 'on licence' offender population! As is usual with this government he then dives into endless statistics which show that the system is 'improving'. Of course it is, a pity that it took a major foul up between a court, the probation service and the police to expose this example of Whitehall fraud. One of these "on licence" offenders murdered two French students - presumably because he felt like it (there's no other explanation!) - after Whitehall fouled up yet again and failed to expedite the recall of his licence when the Magistrate's recalled it.

Oh, but we shouldn't worry, Mister Straw says only a few commit very serious crimes and he has directed the police to throw all their resources at finding the missing offenders. Which just means another "target" for the Bureaucrats to generate a miriad of forms for the police to fill in. On top of the several hundred pages they already have to complete every time they arrest anyone. No wonder the Metropolitan Police (London's Police Force based on New Scotland Yard) managed to re-employ an officer dismissed the force for inappropriate behaviour and barred from rejoining! Ah, but wait, the section that carried out the checks on him and should have spotted the bar is staffed by - Oh, dear - Civil Servants!

Sunday, 5 July 2009

An Abbey filled day ....

It began with the 0800 Holy Communion for which I was both server and Deacon. Then it was tweak the Sound System during the 0915 and finally drive our Swedish guests to lunch in nearby Sedgeberrow. Twenty-odd teenagers and their escorts for lunch was the lot of one of our parishioners and they managed a magnificent spread - helps if you're a farmer and living on the edge of a village - which the teens demolished fairly easily.

This afternoon saw a visit to the Bell Tower and the Ringing Room where some were shown how the bells were rung and allowed to do some ringing under supervision. That made several of their days.

Then came Evensong, Solemn of course, for the Friend's Festival, with our Diocesan Bishop preaching. I was contemplating getting my cassock on when the Vicar arrived with the Bishop and calmly said, "You're the Bishop's Chaplain". Right. Actually, I enjoy Chaplaining our Bishop, he's very relaxed (though I wouldn't want to get it wrong around him!) and gently prompts if there is something out of place. It was a great service and a great sermon.

But now, with an early train to London tomorrow - I'm for bed!

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Independence Day

I hope that all my US friends reading this have a great Independence Day, preferably celebrated without mishap and with only friends and famliy to share it

Ironic, isn't it, that the Iranian Regime has chosen today to demonstrate their version of "independence" by arresting British Embassy staff and announcing that one of them is to be tried in a secret court for "inciting political unrest". Why choose the UK to villify over their internal troubles? Easy one, they know we aren't likely to drop a nuke, 100,000 troops and loads of Cruise missiles on them if they upset us - Mr Brown and the Labour Circus have made sure we can't afford to.

Happy Independence Day to the US, to my Iranian friends, your day will come when the Ayatollahs are thrown out - and to the English, the next election should see our Scottish and Welsh Overlord's ejected so maybe we can also celebrate in future.

Friday, 3 July 2009

Severn baptism


Our link Parish from the Swedish Lutheran Church is currently visiting with a thirty strong contingent preparinbg for confirmation. Two of their number today elected to be baptised in the "living water" of the River Severn. We gathered on the bank near the Ham Lock and Gunilla, their Priest, led us in an act of worship in preparation. The hymn and opening prayers were followed by the laying on of hands by the mentors and teachers. Everyone recited the Creed (Nicene version)and the candidates made their declaration of faith.

When both had been blessed and prayed for the trio waded out into the river - almost finding the deep water channel - and the two candidates were then baptised by total immersion. Gunilla almost found the deep channel again as she performed the ritual much to her and the candidates amusement. Wading ashore again they were all greeted with applause and fresh towels and then prayers were said, a blessing given and we were all invited to renew our own baptism vows in the water of the river.

The final hymn was Amazing Grace, sung in Swedish it sounds amazing, as does the Lord's Prayer. Amusingly, we had a family of swans investigate whether we were preparing to feed them and several dogs rushed into the water to join the fun as well. It is certainly an interesting reminder of how our forebears in the Christian Faith conducted both their worship and their services.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Anti-military - except when it suits them....

It hasn't taken Labour's closet "better Red than dead" squad to start the campaign to disarm us. Their immediate target to "save" money - by which they mean waste it somewhere more vote catching - is the Trident replacement. Fine Trident is a weapon that is designed for the Cold War situation and it probably does need rethinking, but to simply scrap our entire nuclear deterent in a world on the brink of a major upheaval in political, ideological and resources terms is the stuff only a Labour Loony could fall for. Of course it will cost the earth, but it could, in fact be done at less than half the cost - if they simply had the courage to kick the Civil Service morons who ratchet up the costs with their pettifogging and paper shuffling and indecision with a small group who actually know what they are talking about.

Example, the replacement for our current ASW frigates is the subject of a major row. The Civil Serrvice wants to design and build something their "favoured bidder" has designed - the "Slim" frigate. There is an alternative - the socalled "fat" design. There is a marginal difference in speed between the two and a huge difference in price. The "fat" design is a fifth of the price! Guess which one the Civil Servants are insisting on. No prizes for guessing why VT Ships is planning to close down two of our last remaining three shipyards. Equally, no prizes for guessing why the latest Type 45 is still not in commission.... or for that matter why the Aircraft Carriers are now threatened with complete cancellation because they are a billion over budget. Yup, got that one right - it's the Civil Servants again, ably aided and abetted by the morons Labour has put in charge of the military, who have never been in uniform and are ex-Trade Union Activists....

Today two more of our soldiers died in Helmand province fighting a war Labour set up, against terrorists and fundamentalists they promoted and supported and still allow to operate with impunity under their "fairness and equality" secularist policy aimed at destroying Englishness, England and the United Kingdom.

And they wonder why thier natural supporters among the working classes are turning to the BNP.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Another Civil Service Own Goal

The news this morning that two shipyards are under threat of closure is a devastating one. The choices are Govan in Glasgow and Vospers in Portsmouth. No prizes for guessing which one this shower of corrupt Labour aparatchiks will save if they can - and it won't be Portsmouth. Worse is the constant announcement that the two new aircraft carriers are now £1 Billion over budget. What they are not saying is why.

The reason is simple. This government is so out of touch with reality that they cannot connect the dots - if you start a major project and then keep delaying its completion the costs rise dramatically because now you are paying to rent the space the project is occupying. And guess who thought it the cheapest option - probably in the hope of getting it cancelled so they could spend the money on their perks? The Civil Service of course, that MBA rich body of Filing Clerks who now run the country from behind the scenes.

They are trying to blame the navy, the builders and the armed forces in general. The truth is that Prince 2, Civil Service incompetence and lack of contact with reality in the government is the root of the problem. Time to clear out Parliament and the Civil Service and put people in charge who do know what the real world is all about!