Thursday, 13 November 2008


One of the things we didn't enjoy about our trip to Jersey was the Mass we went to. When we walked into the church, I almost walked straight out again - I wasn't sure if it was actually a Catholic church.

There were huge projector screens each side of the altar, onto which the words of the hymns (with several misspellings - another of my pet peeves) were projected during the Mass. I've only ever seen this in Baptist and Pentecostal churches before, and I've always thought it was because the stuff they were singing was too new and radical to be in the hymn book.

The room was half-full, but from the noise level as we went in you would have thought it was packed to the rafters - I've never heard such a racket before Mass. The seating was on ordinary chairs, and we eventually discovered that if you wanted to kneel down, you were expected to collect a cushion from the back on your way in.

For all their friendliness with each other, I couldn't say the congregation were particularly welcoming to strangers - given that the people on every side of us turned their backs on us and ignored us during the (extremely long, due to the deacon's desire to shake hands with half the congregation) sign of peace.

There was an 'animator' who led the singing, and he leapt up to the microphone before Mass began to introduce his little sideshow. He began by saying that he had received positive feedback on the "more powerful" music that had been sung the previous week and had been asked for more of the same, so was going to make a start... and then he got some sort of silly wig out of his 'prop bag' and put it on, to gales of laughter from the 'audience'. I have seldom seen anything so inappropriate.

The priest wasn't actually allowed much involvement in the Mass - it was mostly taken over by the deacon. The deacon himself seemed mostly preoccupied throughout the Mass with checking that his microphone was on - and after each check, he usually cracked some sort of joke. He gave the homily, and although I tried very hard to concentrate, my mind started to wander once I realised how much of it was about himself.

I did eventually spot the tabernacle, tucked away to the side of the church. It couldn't have been more central, because the central 'stage' was taken up with the two huge projector screens.

I came away with two overriding thoughts.

First, that this was some sort of penance visited on New Man and me because we had looked at the Mass times for the island and chosen to go to the one which gave us the longest lie-in (although to be fair to us, it was also at the Catholic church which was closest to our hotel).

And secondly, I pondered that the problem with the Novus Ordo Mass is that when you're in a parish that's not your own, you have no idea what you're going to get. You could attend a beautiful, reverently celebrated Mass which fills you with peace. You could attend a Mass celebrated by a wise and prayerful priest who speaks to your soul in his sermon and leaves an indelible impression on you.

Or you could go to a Mass like this. And until you get there, you have no idea what you're letting yourself in for.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Weekend away

We spent last weekend in Jersey. Look what fabulous weather we had...

It was a bit breezy by the sea, and the tide was in so that we couldn't walk out to the Corbiere Lighthouse (there's a causeway somewhere under those rolling waves that gets uncovered at low tide).

But the weather was ridiculously warm on Sunday, and we had some lovely walks along the beach - I even took my shoes and socks off and went for a little paddle in the sea.

Life has been very hectic lately - work has been very busy and very stressful, New Man had Man Flu a couple of weeks ago, I had a severe recurrence of back pain from a slipped disc, we've had a lot of social engagements that we couldn't get out of, we're trying to sell New Man's house without much success, and we were both feeling really run down.

Getting away from it all and just taking the chance to be together and talk with no interruptions and no distractions was just bliss. We talked about some big important things and some little trivial things, and just enjoyed each other's company.

In all the rush and hassle of everyday life, it's easy for us to put each other low down on the priority list and not to make time for each other. I think this weekend has been really good for our relationship, and I feel closer to New Man than I have done for a while.

Divorce lawyers often have a bumper crop of new clients after Christmas and other holiday seasons, because couples who don't usually spend much time together see more of each other and don't enjoy what they see. I feel very blessed that the more time I spend with New Man, the more we enjoy each other's company. I hope I never forget that, and remember in future to make more time to be with him when things get tough, and not less.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Remembrance Day


The soldier stood and faced God,
Which must always come to pass.
He hoped his shoes were shining,
Just as brightly as his brass.

'Step forward now, you soldier,
How shall I deal with you?
Have you always turned the other cheek?
To My Church have you been true?

'The soldier squared his shoulders and said,
'No, Lord, I guess I ain't.
Because those of us who carry guns,
Can't always be a saint.

I've had to work most Sundays,
And at times my talk was tough.
And sometimes I've been violent,
Because the world is awfully rough.

But, I never took a penny,
That wasn't mine to keep...
Though I worked a lot of overtime,
When the bills got just too steep.

And I never passed a cry for help,
Though at times I shook with fear..
And sometimes, God, forgive me,
I've wept unmanly tears.

I know I don't deserve a place,
Among the people here.
They never wanted me around,
Except to calm their fears.

If you've a place for me here, Lord,
It needn't be so grand.
I never expected or had too much,
But if you don't, I'll understand.

There was a silence all around the throne,
Where the saints had often trod.
As the soldier waited quietly,
For the judgment of his God.'

Step forward now, you soldier,
You've borne your burdens well.
Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,
You've done your time in Hell.'

Author Unknown

Monday, 10 November 2008

UN petition

I may be a bit behind the game, but I received the following by e-mail today. I have signed the petition, and think this needs to be publicised as widely as possible.

On December 10th, radical pro-abortion groups will present petitions asking the UN General Assembly to make abortion a universally recognized human right.

We have met the challenge and you can help.

We have initiated a petition drive that calls for governments to interpret the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as protecting the unborn child from abortion. Along with a coalition of pro-life groups from around the world, we will present our petitions at a press conference at UN headquarters.

So far, in only three weeks we have generated 46,417 names endorsing our petition; that is 15,000 a week! I now fully expect that we will present 100,000 names on December 10th, the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

In order for this to happen, though, I need your help and I need it now.

If you have not signed the petition, do so now HERE or by going directly to and clicking on the icon "UN Petition for the Unborn Child." Then, after you have signed the petition, send this email or one of your own to ALL OF YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS!

If you have already signed the petition, send this email or one of your own to ALL OF YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS and urge them to sign it.

What we are trying to do is create a real global internet campaign that will shock the pro-abortion radicals at the UN on December 10th! To help you, the petition has been translated into 11 different languages and each can be found HERE or by going to

So, please act now. Go HERE or here and sign the petition. Then send this message or one of your own to ALL OF YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS.

Yours sincerely,
Austin Ruse

PS We absolutely must submit more names to the UN than the pro-abortion radicals. They are bigger, richer and stronger than we are. So, act now; sign the petition HERE or go here And send this message to everyone you know!

I've looked into this a little bit. The pro-abortion petition is being presented to the UN on 10 December by Marie Stopes International. As far as I can make out, it currently has 632 signatures, compared to over 67,000 on the C-FAM petition. I don't know whether this figure is accurate, though - there is an indication on the C-FAM site that the counter on the Marie Stopes site has been disabled, so we can't necessarily trust that number. Clearly, the more signatures there are on the C-FAM petition, the better the chance of defeating the pro-abortion radicals on 10 December.

Friday, 7 November 2008

What credit crunch?

You know Frasier Crane's father's recliner? Well, New Man had a scruffy old recliner that made that thing look classy. And you know we had that reading from the Book of Ruth at our wedding: "Wherever you go, I will go..."? Well, it turns out that it wasn't about New Man and me. It was about New Man and his recliner. He was not going to be parted from that thing.

Sadly for New Man and his comfy old piece of landfill, a woman has ways of making things happen. I finally managed to convince him that his recliner was too big for the place he wanted to put it. The deal was that I would get him a nice new one of his choice for his birthday, if he would get rid of the old one.

His birthday is now fast approaching. I suggested that we might have to cancel it because of the credit crunch, but I couldn't bear the mournful look on his face. I then suggested that having already had seven more birthdays than I have had, perhaps he should stop being so fanatical about it and let me catch up a bit, but that didn't wash either. So on Saturday we struggled out to Watford to look at recliners.

After much sitting and contentedly sighing in various chairs around the store (and sampling the free freshly-baked cookies a few times - nice touch, Furniture Village!), we finally ended up with this (though not in this colour):

And it's so comfortable that New Man ended up buying me one for Christmas as well, so we'll be reclining in tandem. And I feel we can sit back with a clear conscience, knowing we've done our bit for the local economy in these difficult times...