Comic moments in Christian Martyrdom
This is my namesake St Lawrence, pictured here on the side of a large Reredos / panel in our warehouse. He was the Saint who, whilst being grilled to death over hot coals, called out: ‘Turn me over, this side’s done!’
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Churches of Porto, Portugal
Spectacular Death, Golden Temples and the glamour of Faith.
Only a few children braved the Easter Egg hunt at our church - all the more for the ones who were there, including my grand daughter Sofia (the Duffel). For the grown ups inside the church, lots of really bad wine and cake. We all celebrate resurrection in our own way. May your stone be rolled away also. This has been the most Christmassy of any Easter I have ever known - and I don’t mean that in a good way either.
Before and After
We’re having some building work done at the warehouse at the moment which means things are even more chaotic than usual. Which is saying something. I got our people to move the big Nativity set and for a couple of days I just had a feeling that something was missing… See if you can spot the difference before and after I worked it out. Ten Hail Marys if you fail.
Morality Tale Part 3
A funny thing happened to me on the way to work. I was pulling onto the M25 from Junction 8 when I noticed a chap in a Bulgarian registered car desperately trying to flag me down. As we are going to Bulgaria in the Summer I thought I should stop; and besides I hadn’t done anything remotely charitable for months. In broken German (he didn’t know English) he told me that he had run out of fuel and that the nearest garage had refused his credit card as the plastic was split around the chip. He said that he was desperate to get to his sisters house because of… something… and he would give me his gold ring in return for some petrol money. It was a chunky, genuine gold ring and he pressed it into my hand. Feeling sorry for him I handed it back and gave him £15 whereupon he started crying and kept trying to give me the ring back. I kept saying no, more or less chucking the ring at him. In the end he kissed my hand all over - another first for me - and then I drove off.
And no, I wasn’t pick-pocketed. However, ultimately I was pretty sure I’d been scammed. I suppose the real test would have been if I’d kept the ring after handing over a few notes: Whether there would have been a bit of a fuss. If it was a shakedown it was a good one. Real tears, drama and that whole trust thing with personal jewellery. Would the sort of person who would stop to help a person actually strip them of their valuables? That’s the genius bit, if it was a scam. Hell of a way to make a living if it is and I guess you must really want/need the money to put yourself through that on a regular basis. If it was scam. I won’t be completely sure until I see another East European apparently broken down on a slip road waving jewellery.
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St Margaret the Queen
Quirky name for an old church in Buxted near Uckfield. Cared for with a congregation who aren’t short of a Range Rover or two, this is as English as it gets. From the Yew Tree certificates to the 700 year old coffer surrounded by junk, Mr Bean in a Bowler hat listening to Winston Churchill speeches, whilst turning up the volume with a cricket bat could not be more English than this. Comforting to know that it still exists.
Don’t forget the Robin
A sign that spring is coming or that winter is about to really whack us one more time? More and more wildlife is coming into the warehouse. One of our ladies had to chase a Fox away that was skulking around the religious statues, there’s the Rats and more acceptably here is the Robin. They’re supposed to live for 12 years or more so this Robin and us might go back a long way. They are sweet to look at but are famous for being killers on their own turf and their droppings rot away our carefully applied waxes and polishes…
De-Fusting Church Textiles in California
Our dear California customer likes our Altar Frontals but has always typically found them a bit ‘Fusty’. What better way to remove those Olde English Mildew and Mould hints by drying them out on a well positioned Lexus? The number plate is to die for as is that sunshine and blue sky which, to us Land of Eternal Mist punters looks so good as to be photoshopped.
Bank of Heaven
Found this on our doorstep. Is it a sign? What is the exchange rate? I think they might have chosen a better picture; less of the downcast stuff and more of a noble profile. Or straight at the camera a la Christ Looked at John and John Remembered.
Gaze at Diss Auctions
Bought some wood at the famous Gaze Auctions in Diss, Norfolk. The whole time we were there this girl was canoodling this stone greyhound. Parents of this child - buy her a real dog!
Lead Toy Figure Race Horror
Found this tiny figure at the back of an 18th Century Mule Chest. At first I thought the little Minstrel person was beating a log or a dog. But turned over it becomes clear that the punishee is actually a little white girl. What strange non-PC antique nightmare scenario is being played out here? It also has the feeling of being part of a set - maybe there were originally a whole bunch of minstrels beating white girls. As someone famous once said, ‘The past is a another country. They do things differently there.’
If anyone knows what this thing is, I would love to hear from you.
Green Shoots of Recovery
This is St Margaret of Antioch in Isfield, East Sussex. A bit killed by the flooding, but looking closer there’s the snowdrops, the masochists of the flower world. Hope for the future and Spring is only a few months of darkness and misery away. Sadly it’s another permanently locked church but then in the week when candlesticks and a funeral helmet were ripped off from our own St Michael’s it is understandable… You have to go to hell for doing that stuff unless you really are desperate.
Not just your average Benedictine Monastery. Always a privilege to visit here and marvel at the opulence, the Victorian High Gothic style and to consider the money that was and is available to maintain this fantastic edifice. Having said that, the big domed roof leaks badly and the marble floor was like a skating rink when I was there.
Catholic Priest Pin Up shock
The Roman Catholic Church has been beset with problems. Child abuse on an industrial scale, ignored for decades in a way that makes the BBC look… proactive. Sued for millions around the world, how does the Vatican respond? With the Calendario Romano, a cheesecake, moneyspinning Priest calendar of course! Never mind the sexualisation of minors, here’s the sexualisation of celibate clergy. Is it wrong? Well, it’s funny, our polishing ladies like it but I’m not sure it’s right. Guess I’m sticking to our own fuddy-duddy Anglo-Catholic, C of E, St Michael’s, where they could make money by promising not to produce any calendars/diaries/wall planners featuring their own Bishops, Vicars, Deacons etc.
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