Saturday 13 September 2014

Home Rule for Cornwall?

The view from Trelissick
We had four nights in Cornwall this week - my summer holiday. The weather was wonderful, and Falmouth, where we stayed, was great. But so much art around the place! We went to the town's art gallery, but it was hosting a party for hundreds of infants and their carers, so you could not get near the exhibits for nappies and (fairly) yummy mummies. They had on the walls of the staircase, though, childrens' pictures inspired by the Tall Ships (they' d been in Falmouth the previous week). My, some of those kids' paintings were terrific.

Silent Witness
Equally awesome was the show at a favourite gallery, Lemon Street in Truro. The potter displaying his work there is Jason Wason. Here is one of his pieces - but you will find other pictures on the Lemon Street website. His studio is in that mysterious far west bit of Cornwall towards Land's End and clearly he is inspired by ancient cultures. The colour on some of his pieces is very subtle, reds and blacks and gold. They are mostly monumental, large and with look of great age and permanence to them.

Trelissick House
We also visited Trelissick. It is in the care of the National Trust. When we last visited the gardens some years ago there was talk of restoring the kitchen garden - apparently they are still talking. But at least the House (a small part of it) is open. It had been built by the Copeland family, and when the contents were sold last year the Trust was able to buy back a few pieces- including some of the important Copeland porcelain. So there is a large dessert service made by Spode and given as a wedding present to one of the Copelands in the early 19th Century.

The best part of going to Cornwall, though, is seeing old friends. We had lunch with Robin Thomas and his sister in Truro. Robin is a former student of mine at S Stephen's House, now retired but still assisting at St George's. On the way home we stopped  off for Coffee at Alverton Manor - strange name for a hotel formed from the one-time Convent of Anglican Sisters (of the Epiphany). The buildings must be listed, so the Chapel had been converted into a 'great hall' and very dismal it looks. The window on the left is one of three which survives at the entrance to the Wedding Hall. We'd arranged to meet Robbie and Sara Low, who had been in to Truro for dental appointments.

Shrouded Chapel and shrouded chairs posing as a Wedding Venue: O Tempora, O Mores.

Appearances can deceive
They became Catholics some while before the Ordinariate was born, with the result that Robbie was Ordained much later than most of us in the Ordinariate.... he went the long way round and is now a priest of the Diocese of Plymouth. Many will remember when Robbie and Sarah - with others such as Geoffrey Kirk - produced a memorable monthly magazine for Anglo-Catholics called New Directions. There is still a publication which goes by the same name, but it bears little relation to the witty and lively magazine of those far-off days. Just as the Hotel is not the same thing as a Convent, despite outward appearances.

Though buildings may disappoint, old friends do not: and we chatted away merrily over coffee for an hour or so with the Lows, putting the world (and especially the Church - in all its manifestations) to rights.

Robbie and Sara in full flood.
Now it is time to prepare for tomorrow, Sunday - when I discovered on our return that Fr Darryl has a Baptism (with about fifty relations) fixed for the Ordinariate Mass.... so that will be fun.

As for the Title of this piece - many years ago, on one of those dire days for Junior Clergy which Archdeacons used to arrange, we were asked what we thought would be in the news forty years on. I ventured "Home Rule for Cornwall", Alas, it looks as though I might have been prophetic. As a Devonian I have to deplore the new habit of putting street signs in what must be an attempt at Cornish. The last Cornish speaker, Dolly Pentreath, was laid to rest two hundred and thirty seven years ago. She must be rotating gently in her tomb at these attempts at resuscitating an utterly dead tongue - it's quite bad enough than our grandson has to waste his time at school wrestling with Welsh.

Sunday 13 October 2013

Ancient no longer

I am revising my blog and you will find it if you want to as Antique Richborough. I also have a dying computer and a new email address. This is to be  mgredwinb@googlemail. Thanks for following this blog, if you have been.

Saturday 5 October 2013

First Profession

Returned a couple of days ago from a marvellous break, first in York (the picture is from the gardens at Beningbrough, a favourite haunt of ours when we were in Hull.)

The gardens are terrific, full of autumn colour

We went to Mass on Saturday evening where the Parish Priest is about to leave after many years of ministry in that amazing church almost on the doorstep of the Minster. There work continues - the East Window is being very thoroughly restored, and one of the western towers has scaffolding at the top. I wish they'd finish it - the saying is that when there is no work going on at the Minster it reverts to the Catholic Church.

In Edinburgh the weather continued fine, and you might like to see what they have done to the Princes Street facade of the Academy - it is all to do with an exhibition of paintings by Peter Doig. They claim him as a Scot, though most of  his life was spent in Canada and the West Indies. His work is fascinating, and the small studies alongside the very large paintings gave some notion of how he works.

Was it just a coincidence that TV had a programme on last evening debunking Wallace, particularly  the Hollywood film 'Braveheart'? Or were they just trying to stir up the Scot Nats before the great Vote next year? It is  to be held on the feast of Bannockburn. As a small child in Greenock  I remember having bricks thrown at me, along with the cry of 'Bannockburn' - on account of my English accent. Great, these sons of the 'enlightenment'!

Today was a very different day - and a wonderful one. Sister Mary Catherine made her First Profession  - so she is now a Dominican Sister of St Joseph, at St Dominic's Priory in Sway, just down the road from us in Lymington. Friends came, some from great distances. The homilist was Fr Marcin Brabcik,  a Polish priest who cares for the parish of New Milton. He had brought with him from Poland a relic of St Faustina, 
Fr Marcin  Preaching

Sister Mary Catherine received the black veil, and Fr Richard Saksons (a Praemonstratensian) blessed the Scapular.

Here Sister kneels before the Prioress, making her Profession.

It was all a very joyful occasion, as Sister's face shows - here she was greeting friends as we left Church after Mass - and before a very substantial buffet lunch. They had invited us to 'light refreshments' - if those were light I can't imagine what serious refreshments might be!

Tomorrow it is back to the Ordinariate Group in Southbourne - where we will consider whether we are to use 'Serving the King' as our study book for the coming year. It is by an Ordinariate Priest, Fr David Mawson, and consists of Thought and Meditations for each Sunday - the new book for Year A which begins in Advent. You can Order a copy from .There is a marathon being run in Bournemouth tomorrow, so we will need to be early to avoid the rush!

Wednesday 25 September 2013

Celebrating Walsingham

This weekend the Bournemouth Ordinariate Mission once again celebrated Evensong and Benediction. On previous occasions we have had maybe forty of us in church; this time we were more than double that number, thanks to a good deal of local publicity in both Catholic and Anglican churches. It was especially good to have the Priest in Charge of  Holy Trinity Winchester with us - he robed, and read a lesson. Peter Cook, our Organist, had rounded up a number of volunteers to augment our choir, and the music was exceptionally good.

The weather stayed dry, so we were able to process outside church, with the Image of  Our Lady of Walsingham on a newly-constructed bier beautifully decorated with flowers.

Then, a final piece of  the Patrimony, we enjoyed a very good  tea together - with a cake decorated with the arms of the Ordinariate. Now we are planning a spectacular for Advent.

Saturday 7 September 2013

Across Iberia

What a holiday! It contained the sublime and the ridiculous, the amusing and the overwhelming.Here are a few pictures to prove the point. We went on Brittany Ferries (above) from Portsmouth to Santander, drove (over four days)  to Portugal, had a week with family there, then drove back to Bilbao for the return ferry. En route we met Bruno who had driven out from Madrid to see us.

The Plaza Maior in Salamanca where somehow Bruno found us

Bruno Ramos edits a Spanish Catholic Magazine, and I  have written one or two pieces for him about the Ordinariate, and about Anglican Spirituality.

Reredos in Coimbra Cathedral (former Jesuit Church)
Some of the best churches in both Spain and Portugal were originally creations of the Jesuits

From the sublime... who would expect to encounter Morris Dancing in Bilbao, next to the Guggenheim Museum? But then, when I visited Australia I came on a hunt (Yoiks, Tally-Ho! and all in hunting pink) just outside Adelaide. This Morris Side came, they told me, from Royal Deeside -  which is a bit unlikely too.

There was also an immense floral cat, created by Jeff Koons, sitting outside the Guggenheim -  Jane is there to give an idea of the scale of the creature.  The flowers are all  alive, so it must be a mammoth task renewing the display. We enjoyed the Guggenheim as a building (Gehry's major opus) but the exhibits were a disappointment. We much preferred the wonderful early mediaeval sculptures and paintings in the City museum.
This was a street poster about ceramics in another local  museum; how long would this remain in England before some graffito artist defaced it?   One of the best things about our trip was the friendliness of so many. We were poring over a map in Caldas de Rainha (where we managed to be lost several times) when a lady coming out of evening Mass took the trouble to speak to us (in very good English) and point us on the right road. From a badge on her coat Jane realised she was a Guider - she certainly was for us. This was only one of many such kindnesses.

We went to Sunday Mass twice in that church (Our Lady Immaculate) in Caldas - both an 8.30am and a Vigil Mass the following week were very fully atended. That is in Portugal. Then in Bilbao we went into the parish church near our hotel where therfe were fifty or so at a mid-week Mass.. At the end everyone (except us) sang a hymn to Our Lady in. I think, Basque. We had come across protestors with banners earlier in the day wanting more rights for the Basque people. 

Just a simple parish church, not unlike Our Lady Queen of Peace in Southbourne, really - except maybe for its scale, the Reredos, the Dome ... oh, and pretty well everything else.

The view from out hotel at the end of our stay included the Railway Station on the other side of the river. They said of Balliol College after its Victorian rebuild, "C'est magnifique, mais ce ne'est pas la Gare" - well, this really IS the Station, and very beautiful it is too. Now I realise I've not given you many exterior shots: so birdwatchers might like these storks on a church in Zamora.

While the architecturally inclined might care to see something which at first sight calls Canterbury Cathedral to mind:
But this is Salamanca.

And not to let Portugal feel outdone, here is the exterior of the former Jesuit Church, now the Cathedral of Coimbra  

I did say from the sublime to  the ridiculous so whoever thought this cliffside was a good place for a bus stop?

Just a few feet away is a drop down to the Atlantic.

Which brought us home again (the Atlantic, not the bus) - or rather the Ferry 'Cap Finisterre' did, across a rather turbulent Bay of Biscay, and so  to Portsmouth.


Sunday 18 August 2013


Just a brief unillustrated blog today to announce the Reception & Confirmation of two more members of our Ordinariate Mission. Andrew Hawthorne was an Anglican clergyman - most recently serving as an assistant priest in charge of St George's, Christchurch. Very good that three of his former congregation joined us to welcome him into the Ordinariate. With him was his fourteen year old daughter Emilia - who has taken the confirmation name Jane, remembering St Jane Frances de Chantal.

We had a jolly little party after Mass - somehow most of the forty-five at Church today squeezed into the small Hall at Our Lady Queen of Peace where we drank a toast to Andrew and Emilia Jane - then my Jane and I said farewell for a while. We are off to Iberia on Tuesday, going on the overnight boat from Portsmouth to Santander then driving down into Portugal where we hope to meet up with our daughter and family for a week of their holiday. So, despite having a new Tablet - no, not that dire publication, but an electronic wizard which combines phone and pad - called, imaginatively, an Asus Fonepad - I shall hope to maintain blog silence until our return. Your prayers would be welcome; we read of wild fires in Spain and Portugal, and temperatures currently around 37C (and reckoned to get hotter).

When we return plans will be well underway for Evensong, Procession, Benediction and a bunfight [ 3pm on Saturday 21st September]. This was the nearest available date we could get to the Feast of  Our Lady of Walsingham. We are inviting friends from local churches, Anglican as well as Catholic. If you are in the vicinity of Southbourne (BH6 3ER) come and join us - you will be very welcome.