Saturday 30 December 2017

The Emasculate Conception

Yesterday, as I returned from a pleasant walk, I passed a church. No doubt it was a strait--forward church much like the one I go to; but I started musing about their name on their banner: "The Immaculate conception of Mary". This means (according to Wikipedia) that she was free from "Original Sin", an attribute set up by God, that that would enter Adam and Eve if the ate a certain nice-looking Fruit. (We know what happened). We have a long way from the Adam story to Jesus. Now an even greater step: understanding how to maintain and fructify our plaint, for us and for all creatures.

(-- written earlier --)
The festival of Yule (some times confused with the celebration of the birth of Jesus, which we also cherish) is upon us! By and large I enjoy it, and I'm looking forward to visiting our sons with their wives and offspring, one batch in London and the other in the Czech Republic.
 Fortunately most of life continues.

Thursday 28 December 2017

Post-Christmas is here, and the house is swarming with screaming kids (well ... 2 of them, but it feels like 100). We'll be getting  outside soon, with sighs of relief. I am an old curmudgeon at these times.

Back home: I had a beautiful walk, meeting up with all the rest at the play area of the common, where everyone was happy. 

Thursday 21 December 2017

On the 3rd December Isabel and I set out by buss and train from Southampton to the Czech Republic, to meet one of our sons and his wife, and to salute their second child: a girl called Milly. Hence the gap in my blogging. She's doing fine - very rigorous - and mum is in good shape. The travel required a hefty book to fill in the time: it was "The Coming of the Cosmic Christ" by Matthew Fox - 278 pages!  (See
There are many gems in this from past writers:, such as Mechtild of Magdeburg (1210-1280). She writes: "I saw ... a stone ... like a great mountain ... It replied: "I am Jesus". This, and many others, open a mysterious fusion between cosmos and Christ. But as the righter moved steadily to today it starts to seem thin. The best that I can get is the idea that Jesus is in some incomprehensible communion with God: the god of all the universe (or universes). 

Sunday 10 December 2017

The Cosmic Christ

While glancing over my book-shelf yesterday morning, I saw a thick book "The Coming of the Cosmic Christ" by Matthew Fox. Flicking through it, I was wondering "what does all this mean for me, now?"
I think of Fox's, "Cosmic Christ" as the giving to us of the universe, in all its dynamism, in so far as we humans can grasp it. Jesus, being in intimate contact with God, would presumably be in that category - but his aim was to teach those around him, not to do physics. That's for us!
From a practical point of view, we are offered the ability to understand the richness of this gift: and to treat it accordingly.

Christmas cake

Christmas in sight, so I'm making the cake. Hearse what mine has developed to:

Christmas cake 2017
500g butter    500g dark brown sugar   6 eggs     3 tbs black treacle    560g self-raising flour
1 tsp cinnamon   2/3 tsp nutmeg powder   1 tsp allspice   1/2 tsp salt  
 1kg of miscellaneous fruit (might include: 250g raisins, 90g glace cherries, 120g ground almonds)
100 ml brandy  A lemon
At an appropriate time: Coat a 23cm x 9cm round tin with butter, line the inside with grease proof paper and (depending on heating)  cartridge paper and / or newspaper outside.
Beat butter and sugar until light in colour, then beat in treacle. Beat in each egg, one at a time.
Mix and into another bowl:  self-raising flour, cinnamon, nutmeg powder, allspice, allspice & salt,        mix , sieve into the main bowl and mix.
Mix in the fruit.  If using glace cherries, cut them up (e.g. each one three time) and role them in flour to stop them sticking together. If also using ground almonds as well as Cherie, these are nice mixed with the almonds.
Add lemon juice with its zest and juice, plus brandy ad lib. Put in prepared tray.
Cook for about 4hrs (could have poke earlier Add lemon juice and zest.!)

Saturday 9 December 2017

The other day, on my usual walk in Southampton Common, I stopped to look at the rather splendid slab on the earth, celebrating the making of "an artisan well to provide water to the expanding town [of Southampton]"  Unfortunately no water ever came out, however deeply they went: the geology was quite unsuitable to it!
Study before you dig.

Monday 4 December 2017


When I was young I was terrified at the idea of death, I think learned from my mother's fear. It took a long time to shake it off. Now that I am starting to hear of death among people that I know, the topic is more relevant and, surprisingly, no longer fearful. What matters is the now, and this is so far joyful. In some ways, my Alzheimer's disease helps me to be "in the now" because I loose items from the past (but it's sometimes irritating for other people, such as me wife, who have to keep telling me what they said yesterday!)
On a more serious line: what about the Christian "everlasting life"? Treated literately, the idea seems terrible; but I see it as "being beyond time".   

Saturday 2 December 2017

Once I wrote a blog that described how I was so impressed by a particular tree that I bent down on my knees before it (or "genuflected", in religious terminology). I knew about this practice through a tour that used to be held in Southampton, when we respectfully visiting all the sacred buildings there.  Anyway, it was then, in the Sikh temple where, I learned this very powerful movement.
I was reflecting on this today, and decided that these physical practices, while fully valid for those who are members of Sikhism, are a bit phony for me now: I am claiming a sacred commitment that I do not actually process.
I feel truly expanded as I reflect on this: now I am walking my path, not that of another, and I enjoy this tree for its own sake, not for my use.  

Friday 1 December 2017

I make the brown bread in our house: here's the recipe
50 gm yeast,  250gm strong white bread flour,  1kg strong whole-meal  flour,  sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, linseed, sugar, salt, vegetable oil, warm water, butter.
Usual measuring thing things and large bowl. Bread pans.
Cream yeast with some sugar and warm water. Add 150ml of the water, sprinkle over with strong white flour and set in a warm place to rise. Meanwhile put the remaining white flour in a pile in the bowl and the whole meal flour in two piles (for convenience).  Sprinkle in 1.3 tsp salt overall, and mix some oil (about 1 serving spoon) into one of the piles (or can be done later).  Roast the sunflower seeds and mix them in, and the same with the sesame seeds (put a cover over it if they start shooting out!). Put the linseed into a cup of water to soak.
Mix everything except the linseed together and mix, adding warm water as required: it needs to be wet enough too handle for kneading, but not sticky. This first kneading is mainly just to get it well mixed and in into a shape convent for handing (e.g. a sphere). 
While it’s rising, this is a good time to grease the pans with butter (not oil, because the high temperature of roasting makes it nasty!) This rising is not too critical – not larger than doubling the volume. Then divide it into the pans and let it rise until it fit the pans as required. Drain the liquid from the linseed and spread the seeds over the breads. Roast until done.

No need to copy this: be inspired to invent your own!