Friday, 9 June 2017

Worst political judgement ever?

The stupid, stupid woman. Have just woken up to find the result of a hung parliament. In 9 days time negotiations with the EU start on Brexit - will we have a government by then? Who knows, she should resign. Far from strong and stable it will be weak and wobbly.
Why on earth did she call the election? Was it because she feared the results of the enquiry into election irregularities?
We may as well give up on the Brexit negotiations, Angela Merkel must be roaring with laughter.
The worst possible result for the country all to satisfy May's ego. At least she will go down in history as the worst PM ever, or the one with worst judgement.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Retreat at Buckfast

It was one of the best retreats that I have been on - it was very spiritual in tone and it was excellent to have two sets of adoration finishing with Benediction -  we ended the retreat this way having prayed the Divine Mercy Chaplet during the Adoration. 
Praying the Rosary in the Abbey as a group was also great - it also made a statement to the visitors to the Abbey - some joined in with us others stood and looked somewhat bemused.
Father Guy is a very good  priest - reminds me somewhat of Fr Peter Edwards. His two talks on the spirituality of the diaconate taught me an awful lot and gave me a great deal to reflect on. Dr Olivers talks where different in style but equally as reflective.
Thank you to all my fellow retreatents. I hope and pray that you got as much out of it as I did.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

The Catholic Church and Freemasons

There has been a programme on Sky TV "Inside the Freemasons". This has prompted some to ask 'Can a Catholic be a Freemason?' The lastest official document that I can find states as follows;
"It has been asked whether there has been any change in the Church’s decision in regard to Masonic associations since the new Code of Canon Law does not mention them expressly, unlike the previous Code.
This Sacred Congregation is in a position to reply that this circumstance in due to an editorial criterion which was followed also in the case of other associations likewise unmentioned inasmuch as they are contained in wider categories.
Therefore the Church’s negative judgment in regard to Masonic association remains unchanged since their principles have always been considered irreconcilable with the doctrine of the Church and therefore membership in them remains forbidden. The faithful who enrol in Masonic associations are in a state of grave sin and may not receive Holy Communion.
It is not within the competence of local ecclesiastical authorities to give a judgment on the nature of Masonic associations which would imply a derogation from what has been decided above, and this in line with the Declaration of this Sacred Congregation issued on 17 February 1981 (cf. AAS 73 1981 pp. 240-241; English language edition of L’Osservatore Romano, 9 March 1981).
In an audience granted to the undersigned Cardinal Prefect, the Supreme Pontiff John Paul II approved and ordered the publication of this Declaration which had been decided in an ordinary meeting of this Sacred Congregation.
Rome, from the Office of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 26 November 1983.
Joseph Card. RATZINGER
+ Fr. Jerome Hamer, O.P.
Titular Archbishop of Lorium

Monday, 13 March 2017

Dermot Poston RIP

I have heard the sad news that Dermot died last week. I will post the funeral arrangements when they are known. This is a newspaper article on him:

Dermot was my English Teacher at school, he was a great influence on me and many others. In addition he helped run the Explorers' Club at school and introduced me to the delights of caving. He was a great man, one of the best.

Dermot taken many years ago
Dermot Talking to Julia at an Old Askean Lunch

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

The NHS is stil working

Despite all the negative comments recent personal experience shows to my wife and I that the NHS is still working. Last Tuesday evening, 31 January, Julia, who had been unwell, noticed that her hands and arms were starting to swell and a rash was spreading on her body at an alarming rate. She dialed 111 and they said that a doctor would call back within the hour. Fifteen minutes later he called back, listened to her and asked some questions. He then said to go to the PRU (our local hospital) and hat he would send her notes over. We went to the PRU, the notes were there. We saw the triage people very quickly and some blood samples were taken for testing. Then came the one frustrating part, a five hour wait to see the doctor.
Once we saw the doctor things moved at a great rate, more tests, ECG, X-rays etc.A move from Accident & Emergency to a bed in the Emergency Assessment Unit and visits from two consultants. Late on Wednesday she was moved to a bed in the Chartwell Unit. Over the next few days she had more tests, CT scan, Ultra sound tests and regular blood tests. The diagnosis was vasculitis and she was out on a course of steroids.
Yesterday evening, Tuesday 7 February, Julia was discharged with a course of steroids to complete and a series of follow-up consultations to attend.
The treatment could not have been better, everybody; cleaners, porters, nurses, doctors, consultants etc were friendly and approachable. I suspect that if we were really try we could somethings that were not quite perfect. But overall the NHS delivered on its promise.
So do not believe all that you read. No doubt budgets are stretched and some people do not receive high quality treatment. But for us it was brilliant so a big thank you to the NHS, to the PRU and to all the staff who work there.

Friday, 16 December 2016

Where did 2016 go?

A week before Christmas and to the great joy of many and the disappointment of a few I suddenly realised that have not yet written the "Family Newspaper" to be sent out with our cards. Most of the cards are posted and so this year you will have to make do with an electronic copy which will save a few trees if nothing else.
As the title implies this year seems to have shot by at an ever increasing rate of knots. (As the year has flown by one should use an aeronautical term to describe its passing).

The family at Christmas

Christmas 2015 was spent at home. Hélèna and Sam were not with us but joined us on the 27 December. We had a good time marred by an accident to Emma. One evening whilst sat round the dining table she slipped and fell breaking her collar bone! As Lawrie is a policeman on shift work Emma could not easily look after a two year old with only one arm - so Emma and Henry stayed with us for January, this meant lots of days out for his grandparents. Lawrie joined us on his rest days.
With Auntie Hélèna and Uncle Sam at Greenwich

By the Thames

The Prime Meridian
At the end of January Emma had recovered enough to be able look after Henry. We then started on our bedroom project and redecorating the hall stairs and landings. This involved Julia and I decamping to the loft bedroom and many weeks of chaos. It is now all finished and it "will see us out" as they say - he said hopefully!

In the woods near our lodge
North Devon Coast
A rather rotund Barry
2016 marked the fiftieth anniversary of starting at Rugby College of engineering Technology. A few of us met up at Martin's house for a celebratory BBQ - it was great fun

Some of the ladies

Some of the men

We had several trips to the lodge in Devon and for us the high spot in the year was in July when we celebrated our sapphire wedding anniversary (45 years).
Reaffirming our wedding vows at Mass

Anniversary lunch

In the evening at home with Veronica

Our anniversary present form the children was afternoon tea at the Shard and a visit to the viewing gallery - it was great fun and something that we will always remember,

A nice touch

Recovering afetr the meal and trip to the top!

One of the other major celebrations of the year was son-in-law Sam's thirtieth birthday. this was celebrated in North Wales with his family. Andrew, Gaew, Lawrie, Emma and Henry, Julia and myself plus assorted Dugdale's were there. Some camped - we stayed in a B&B!!!

The birthday cake

Hélèlna andGaew


In the water

Monster from the deep

Two very dear American friends, Tim and Pat came over and stayed with us for a couple of weeks in September. They had been so kind to us when we lived there and when we went over in 2014 that it was good to be able to reciprocate. Apart form London, we took them to Stonehenge, Salisbury (Magna Carta) and Devon and Cornwall. We had a great time and we think that they did.

Chapel at the Royal Naval College

By the Cutty Sark

Lunching at Brighton

Lunching at Brighton


At Slapton Sands

Leaving the Lodge

In October Julia and I went on a pilgrimage to Medjugorje. It was a wonderful experience and a very special time for both of us

Julia on the way to site of the first apparaition

Barry proclaiming the Gospel

Pilgrimage Party

The final happy event of the year was a four day trip to Donegal in Ireland for the wedding of Emma's brother Thomas. We had a great time and managed to visit the Giants Causeway on the way back to Belfast Airport.

Lawrie and Henry - Henry was the ring bearer.

The wedding party
By the water in Donegal with Lawrie, Henry and Emma

At Giant's Causeway
A cold looking sea!

Inevitably there were some sad moments during the year, two very good friends Tony Bargery and Malcolm Tomlinson died. Tony had a stroke a couple of years ago and never ully recovered. We had known Tony for over 45 years and I spent six months living with him and his wife Christine when we first went to Canterbury.
Malcolm was a friend of 35 years or so. We met when David started at St Joseph's Primary School and remained friends ever since. I conducted his funeral service which was an honour and a privilege. I just pray that I did him justice.

I turn 70 next year as do two old college friends John and Martin. We have booked a couple of nights away in Dorset along with our wives.  It should be great fun assuming that we all make it to next October!

Wishing you and yours all the very best for 2017 - HAPPY CHRISTMAS

Barry and Julia