Sunday, 23 November 2008

A Busy Weekend

Lots going on this weekend, but still managed to fit in a few good walks - very cold, very windy but all wrapped up well, so enjoying the freshness. Also sang a Requiem Mass this morning (November being the traditional month to pray for the dead) - the kids are getting to know the Requiem chants very well now, and really enjoyed it.

Ant's 18th birthday coming up, so lots of things to do for that - but as she sometimes looks at this blog, I'd better not say too much about that...

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

The Wrong Answer...

Elizabeth Buggins got it wrong. Despite the fact that her committee had examined 400 pages of evidence and considered experience from across the world, thair recommendation - that consent for organ donation should be explicit, not presumed - was not the answer that the Prime Minister wanted.

Ms Buggins said: "We found from recipient families and donor families that the concept of gift was very important to them and presumed consent would undermine that concept.
"We also found that it has the potential to erode trust in doctors, and we know that is very important to the levels of donation."

Instead, Ms Buggins said a rise in organ donations was more likely to be achieved by increasing in the number of donor coordinators who work with bereaved families, and the number of specialists who retrieve organs, and by launching public information campaigns.

However the Prime Minister is already preparing to ignore this advice and press on with what he has clearly decided is the right answer, despite the committee’s thorough investigation. He said: “"I'm not ruling out a further change in the law.”

Ms Buggins further added: "There is lots of fear out there that organs are taken from patients before they are dead - that is absolutely not true."

Here she is both right and wrong: there is such fear - and it is well-merited. The fact that a new definition of death has been created to allow the removal of organs from living people does not disguise (or excuse) that reality.

To their shame, Patient Concern on their campaign site, say “We also believe that giving general anaesthetic should be mandatory before organs are removed from donors who are still breathing.” I would prefer for them to campaign for no removal of vital organs prior to death - but that would bring large parts of the transplant industry to a complete standstill, as only organs from living donors are any good to them in many cases (see my previous posts on this).


Saturday, 15 November 2008

Those kids...

This afternoon Ant took the other kids down to the local river, and set up an abseil off the bridge for them. She went first, then realised getting back up was a problem: dangling over the river too far from the shore. I think Bernie lowered a second rope and helped heave her up. After that they sorted a system that worked and all four of them took turns descending as quickly as they dared to just above the water and then being hoiked up by their siblings. And to think, they could have been safely at home watching TV...

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Parents' Evening

Yesterday was Bernie’s parents’ evening at school. She was interested in what grades her teachers are predicting for her forthcoming GCSEs (not least because Ant got 10 A*s and 1 A - a good result, but one which, in theory at least, Bernie could beat).

What I found interesting was the different way Bernie, Anna and I interpreted what we heard. Bernie thought that they were all predicting her A*s except French (And I’ll get an A* in that too!) I thought we could reasonably expect a mix of As and A*s. Anna thought they were predicting mainly Bs.

How do we account for this? It seems to me, on reflection, that nearly every teacher said that if she carries on at the current level, she should get an A. If she lets things slide a bit, it will be a B; and if she works really hard, she could manage an A*.

And yet how differently we all heard it.

Anna and I talked about this, and are keen to support Bernie in her attempt to beat Ant - as long as she’s not too down-hearted if she doesn’t.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Death Sentence on top Liverpool Footballer!

See Fr Finigan's blog The Hermeneutic of Continuity for details:

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

The Original Jeeves...

I learned from yesterday's Times that P G Wodehouse named the immortal Jeeves after Private Percy Jeeves, who died in the Somme on July 22, 1916. Before the war, he played cricket for Warwickshire as a fast-medium bowler, and was much admired by Wodehouse.

It astonishes me that this is only the second mention of Wodehouse on this blog - must do better!

Monday, 10 November 2008

A rainy bonfire

We'd decided to have a bonfire last night - I'd been away for Guy Fawkes, and some of the kids had been out on Saturday night. But by Sunday, the rain was teeming down.

However, nothing daunted, we got a fire going (I had some dry kindling) and after some time (the kids standing round it, their hats and coats dripping, singing songs from the shows to keep their spirits up) we got a real blaze going - and the rain gave up.

It was a memorable and fun evening. Everyone else round here thinks we're mad...

Chant Workshops

I have learned of two chant workshops next weekend, one at Farnborough Abbey, 10.00 - 16.30 (£15) Music: Mass iv and propers for the feast of St Nicholas. Includes hearing Monks chanting Sext, None and Vespers liturgically. Contact:

The other at Lancaster Cathedral, 14.00 - 17.00 (free - tactical error if you ask me!) Music: Requiem Mass (to be sung at the Cathedral on Sunday 23rd @ 12.15) Contact:

The resurgence of chant, in its proper liturgical context, is one of the unsung (ha ha) triumphs of the counter culture really taking hold.

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Bullying is OK now....

The BBC reports that the brains of bullies are hard-wired to enjoy the infliction of pain on others.

As this is a trait they may be born with, presumably bullying is OK now (or at least, that's the argument used by the homosexual lobby).

Another way to account for this is the Catholic doctrine of Original Sin: we are inherently damaged due to a primeval catastrophe involving our first parents turning their backs, willfully, on God's grace. Makes more sense to me,

Monday, 3 November 2008

All Saints' Day

For All Saints, the kids made cup cakes, each decorated in icing with the symbol of a different saint: crossed keys for St Peter, a boat radiant with fire for St Elmo, and so on. In the evening we sang the Litany of the Saints from the Liber Usualis, adding in our own patrons (where these weren't already included in the Litany. This was by candlelight, with every candlestick in the house in use, and images or statues of all our patron saints on display.

We always try to make something of All Saints Day, not least to counter-balance the secular idiocy of Halloween.