Wednesday, 24 May 2017

A Vignette on a Walk back from Town on a Warm Day

The streets were awash with people. I'd had a bad couple of days, and not been able to get into work until late, so I was leaving at after 6, but even so, there were people everywhere. Many were in "sub-fusc" which is the official kit of the university. Many others were wearing shorts. In quite a few cases, this was pleasing.

On Mesopotamia Walk I overheard a scrawny young man say to what I imagined was his girlfriend "So, the other six gave me a breast exam ..." And I thought, well, that's a rum thing.

And then I passed a handsome young fellow, much sturdier in the thigh than Mr Breast Exam, and obviously my eye had roved too visibly, and his hand moved as if to protect his crown jewels from burglary. Time was, I'd have been affronted. Today, I was a little flattered that he might have thought me capable of breaking in.

Mount Tabor & the Transfiguration

My friend Ann has been entertaining us with a travelogue on FaceBook about her journey to the Holy Land, and she's just reminded me of my one and only trip there, in 1996, the year I was ordained priest.

The scheme with Mount Tabor (which may or may not have been where the Transfiguration may or may not have actually happened) was that we went up the hill in cabs. Ours was a school party - I went along as a spare adult when a teacher had dropped out - so I was squeezed into the back of a cab with four or five strapping Kentish lads. With Mount Tabor, you go round and round, until you get to the top, and they drive fast, and near the edge of what looks like a sheer drop, from the inside of the cab.

Sandwiched between teenage boys, I had nothing to cling onto - on my part for health and safety reasons, and on theirs, for safeguarding - so we swung to and fro until I couldn't help muttering "if this keeps up, we're going to get a transfiguration of our own a lot sooner than we thought".

Then one of the boys said "don't look now Sir, but have you noticed the driver's only got one arm?"

"O Jesus!" I said, and it really was a prayer for deliverance, not a blasphemous expletive.

But he got us safely to the top, we enjoyed the views (the church sites themselves mostly lack a certain something in the Holy Land), and amazingly got us down safely too.


Tuesday, 16 May 2017


VOTING ~ FOR THE CHANCELLOR OF OXFORD UNIVERSITY: "Are you interested in the election?" said the bishop. "Oh yes". "And who do you plan to vote for?" "Well now, that's interesting, because Lord Bingham's wife is godmother to my godson's mother, and I reckon that makes Lord Bingham my great-aunt, so I'm voting for him, for family reasons." ""Hmmm" said the bishop.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

the legalities

Permission to Officiate: this is the thing that bishops withhold from people like me: Nasty people. Who get married. They can do so without giving cause, without allowing protest, or defence, without appeal. They think this is just.
The C of E is just a heap of crap.

Sunday, 30 April 2017

On this day

On this day in 1999 I was in the Three Greyhounds in Old Compton Street, in Soho. It was a Friday, and I was down from Cambridge, having a drink with the husband of my friend Yvette, whose birthday it was, and waiting for her, and my boyfriend Daniel. We were going out to dinner.

The bomber, David Copeland, had already set off nail bombs in Brixton (Afro-Carribeans) and Brick Lane (Asians), and we knew that the next would be either Golders Green or Soho.

Old Compton Street has a lot of cellars (some of them full of the most outrageously naughty stuff) and when a bomb goes off, the cellars transmit it. We felt the explosion first in our feet. Then we heard it. Then there was the smell.

And we knew exactly what it was - hate.

Three people died. Seventy were injured.

We carried on, and went out to dinner.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Childhood memory ...

... and back then I didn't know to associate it with Alfred Thomas Haggis, my trigamist great-great-uncle.

There was an old party of Lyme
Who married three wives at one time
When asked "why the third?"
He said "one's absurd
and bigamy, Sir, is a crime"
Things the next little palace, our own one, must have:

Cleo and Ruby

A dishwasher

A cooker with gas hob and two electric ovens, one fan-assisted

A blue-and-gold macaw

A pond with koi carp and water lilies

All our pictures and prints framed and on the walls

A proper dinner table and chairs

A book case for my Everyman P G Wodehouse Library collection

A book case for my Anchor Bible Commentaries

A library step-ladder

A study with space for my roll-top desk, an armchair, and the above

Surface space in the kitchen for all gadgets and a kitchen step-ladder

Lights in the fitted cupboards and wardrobes

Orchids on every window sill

A DVD player that reads films from all over the world

Proper curtains

A window in the bathroom - and every room

Persian (and possibly more modern) rugs

A poly-greenhouse

Off-street parking

A Manchester terrier


A radio, dictionary, and clock, a notebook and a pen, in every room

Caller display

Key hooks by the front door

A notebook by the telephones



A cellar


More than our own tomatoes


Trees and shrubs planted in the garden

A visitors' bedroom

Wooden lavatory seats