Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Women Bishops

Apparently no, we're not.

The Rev Rachel Weir, chairwoman of Watch, said tonight: 
"This is a tragic day for the Church of England after so many years of debate and after all our attempts at compromise."

That's as maybe, but it is because of the years of compromise that we still insist on penis episcopii.

If the 1992 measure which embodied discrimination against women  ( "allowing" them to be priests but not bishops) had been defeated, a new measure, that did not discriminate, would have been passed within a decade and Rowan's successor might well have been a woman.

Jesus didn't compromise and it's about bloody time the Church of England stopped doing so. The victorious opponents of today's measure learnt that lesson a long time ago.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

What do we search for?

Over the last year the top ten search terms that have driven traffic to this blog are, in order :

1. "Shit happens"
2. "Cows"
3. "Adrella"
4. "Freddie Mills boxer"
5. "Pictures of cows"
6. "Waste of time"
7. "Jessica Ennis parents"
8. "Soundscape"
9. "Anglesey Abbey"
10. "Herbaceous border"

I'm not unhappy with that list.

Friday, 16 November 2012


I had a difficult meeting with my poorly friend's Consultant today.

I like her a lot, but disagree with her.

My poorly friend will die soon. On that we are agreed. How, and when, is of course up to him.

In the meantime, there is a bit of a battle going on.

I wish he had more power.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Right words. Wrong Order.

Far be it from me to rearrange Oscar Wilde but ...

Might some of the reporting of the current furore surrounding "child sex abuse" be described as  "A Serious Comedy for Trivial People"?


Church or Chapel?

In times of trouble, I have, for better or for worse, often found that Church has helped.

It is very rare for me to deviate and go to chapel instead.

It often surprises me that, as a non-conformist, how little not conforming in matters of faith appeals to me.

Tonight, though, some very dear friends took me to chapel.

It helped enormously that the chapel in question is now a restaurant called Le Chapelle, is within walking distance of home and serves lamb that is softer than butter.

As for the wine, I quote Ralph Waldo Emerson :

"Give me wine to wash me clean of the weather-stains of care."

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Being with the dying

Last night I was called to the hospital because my poorly friend had been asking for, and was being given, a lot of morphine and the consensus was that he might lose consciousness in the next few hours.

I took the call during the interval of  Vaughan Williams' Pilgrim's Progress. Reassured by medical staff that I could stay for the second half and watch the hero die, I did so, before heading off to be with my friend whilst he did the same.

When I got to the hospital the opiates were indeed doing their job. He was very sleepy. We dimmed the lights, I held his hand and, stuck for other conversation, treated him to a rather poor critique of a very poor production as he drifted off to sleep.

Once I was assured that he was both asleep and would "live 'til morning", I came home. I slept, showered and cleared my diary.
I returned to the hospital today prepared for the last 'vigil', however long that might take.

I found him, sitting up in bed, asking not for morphine, but a Macdonalds chocolate milk shake, and wanting to know why he hadn't had any visitors all day.

Now I have a clear diary for the week. Result.
To be with the dying is a roller coaster. It has its highs and lows. It is a privilege like no other, and makes me feel very alive.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

An anti-gay Archbishop?

For pity's sake.

He's not anti-gay anymore than I am.

He apparently shares my reservations about the secular world claiming the sacraments of the church as its own, but that's not "anti-gay". Any more than difficulty with divorce is "anti-straight".

Unlike the previous three Archbishops of Canterbury, this one hasn't had the privilege of meeting me and until he does, I shall hold my fire.

Until then....

I know nothing about him other than what I'm told by Giles Fraser and Ruth Gledhill (and I trust both of them as much as I trust an untrustworthy thing). Not much to go on.

There's no reason on earth that the rational and secular amongst you should share this feeling, but :

I am pleased that the Anglican Communion, of which I am a part, has alighted upon a new head.

I will shout at him louder than most of you when he gets it wrong.

But for now, I feel great affection and gratitude towards a man I've never met, who has apparently agreed to take on a role I wouldn't wish on my own worst enemy.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Shameless Plagiarism

I don't normally indulge in plagiarism because it's naughty. I prefer to call it quoting.

And so I quote from a Facebook status :
"A note to the film crew who are still swarming all over my locale. In case you hadn't noticed, you are location filming on a council estate in the East End of London. Consequently, you're gonna have to accept that 24-7 hollering is par for the course, so can you please desist from telling residents to shush the fuck up. Not only is it futile, but it's demeaning to how we choose to live around here."
The woman who wrote this is wonderful - and that's just one reason I am proud and delighted she volunteers in an East End bookshop I know and love.

Monday, 5 November 2012

How to pick a leader

Tomorrow, after a campaign costing $6bn, about half the population of the United States will bother to express a preference for President.

On Thursday, the Politburo in Bejing will inform us who they have decided should govern China for the next decade.

Yesterday the Coptic church chose their new Pope who will lead their 18 million members. A child, himself picked by ballot, was blindfolded and drew the name of the new Pope from a glass bowl containing three names.

As a way of choosing a leader, I'm with the Coptics.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

How to screw EDF

The first fire of the season. My house is warm again.

The wood you see burning has a tale to tell.

Eighteen months ago, it was tree, growing in the playground of our local parish primary school.

The Headteacher, believing correctly it to be a hazard, caused it to be cut down. The local authority, which employs her, disagreed, and fined her for tree abuse.

Her school duly paid the fine into the coffers from which her budget comes.

Walking past I spotted the, by now horizontal tree, and at the suggestion of the Churchwarden, agreed with said Headteacher that I should pay a sum that matched the fine, to a parent at the school  to chop it up and bring it to my house.

My house is now warm. I am warm. The tree has fulfilled its destiny. And not having used the central heating, EDF have gained nothing.


Friday, 2 November 2012

Day of the Dead

I had a notion earlier that I should name online all those I have loved but are now dead.

Stephen was one, Jack was another, and David was a third.

After that I gave up. Several hundred names would bore you.

As a gay man who has lived for thirty years  through an epidemic that was both avoidable and preventable, the names of those who died are less important than the determination of all of us, that future deaths should be avoided.

Here's a hint.

An interesting day

Yesterday was many things. And on the whole I'm glad it's drawn to a close.

One friend died. Another texted from his hospital bed to tell me he was "in agony".

The builder tells me that the leak in the roof is "nothing trivial" and that it involves a 'coping stone'. Oh dear.

I spoke with a silly man with whom I have conducted a twenty year feud and found myself to be generous in a way I now regret. I should have told him he was a twat. (He is.)

And to make matters worse... It's World Vegan Day.

 On the other hand, it was All Saint's Day.

I heard Mass, sung to a glorious Mozart setting.

Alone, and with others, I rejoiced in the lives of the saintly who "have gone before us".

Tomorrow (today?) is All Soul's Day when we remember the naughty,  misbehaved and just like us.

I fully expect it to be a better day.