Saturday, 19 June 2010

More Glastonbury

I have put some pictures from today on 'The Anglo-Catholic' blog, and tried to tell those who follow that publication a little about Glastonbury. I first knew it as an ordinand of the dicoese of Bath and Wells, and from parishes in Portsmouth and Guildford used to go regularly on Pilgrimage. In those glory days the crowds were numbered in thousands rather than hundreds; but then, too, many from middle of the road Westcountry parishes would join us, and the parish church of St John the Baptist made us all very welcome. Not so now. Indeed on one fairly recent occasion the parish 'priest' (ess) decided the time of the Mass in the Abbey ruins would be the ideal time for bell-ringing practice. Now the little town, whose streets used to be lined with enthusiastic locals and holiday-makers is filled with shops selling magic crystals and books proving that the Tor where Abbot Whiting was martyred is on an important ley-line and all to do with the age of Aquarius. It even seems that the cultism of the place can be dated to the arrival of women in the priesthood; that probably that is just a canard

At all events, there are a few more pictures so you might like to spare yourself the trouble of going to 'The Anglo-Catholic' and looking at them here. The Bishop of Plymouth was chief celebrant, Fr Darren Smith of ACS - here chatting with Fr Jeremy Winston of Abergavenny - made a plea for more vocations (without saying where those vocations might lead) and the Bishop of Bath and Wells sat throughout the proceedings and graciously blessed us after Mass. He also welcomed the Mayor and Corporation of Glastonbury.

Unaccountably, the Bishop did not make it into the Civic photograph.

The sun shone - but not too hotly, which was a relief - and Somerset was at its glorious best. If it can keep dry for the Festival, they will have a marvellous time. Already the notices of traffic delays are posted and diverse young stewards are taking up residence to direct the hordes. Good if we could have just a few of their number at the Pilgrimage.

Friday, 18 June 2010

More Inalienable Property

Mottisfont Abbey

Mottisfont in June is one of the National Trust's loveliest properties. Not the house, but the garden. Within the walls of the former kitchen gardens of the house, Graham Thomas, the great rosegrower, created a magical garden. We try to visit several times during June, when the roses are at their best.

Jane's favourite is the climber,
Crepuscule, with a wonderful scent

Within the grounds is a spring; not just some tiny trickle of water, but a great and constant font; hence the name of the place. And it was the home of a monastic community until Henry VIII of unhappy memory laicised it. Our present C of E Bishops need constantly reminding that what the State has given, the State can take away. As the official English church drifts ever further from its roots, so it has less and less claim to be called The Church of England. Indeed it can already be argued that the Catholic church has overtaken it in numbers of worshippers, and will certainly do so once the Ordinariate is up and running.

But let's not be polemical in this lovely season; just sit back and enjoy a few pictures, of the spring of water, the house (fragments of the monastic buildings survive especially in the basement), and particularly the gardens. Worth the detour, indeed worth a special trip if you can get down to Romsey in the next week or two. The N.T. is keeping them open late, so that you can enjoy not just the sights but the heady scents of summer.
A corner of the walled garden, tall Eremurus in the midst, roses in beds and on the walls

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Belatedly Barnabas

Last Thursday I concelebrated S Barnabas' Day with priests from Beckenham and environs. I returned home to find my computer server not functioning. After an interesting Saturday morning in conversation with a number of charming people in Bombay (aka Mumbai) the confounded router still would not work. Eventually, after threatening to take my custom elsewhere, I was phoned by someone from the company's technical support who not only spoke English, but spoke a version of it which even someone as techophobic as me could understand. So I am back.

It is a bit late to recite the joys of St Barnabas' day, but it was very good catching up with Fr Simon Heans (I preached at his Ordination in Lancing Chapel , with Bishop Eric Kemp doing the bsuiness) and his wife and one of their daughters. Alice is not only beautiful, she sings like an angel. South London should flock to St Barnabas' to hear her.

Just a few photographs to give you an idea of the occasion.
Our Lady's bunfight
Chancel Window