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Library News – March

From the Library

One of our oldest friends died in the New Year. At his funeral we were a rich mixture of friends and colleagues he’d gathered throughout his life, from university, work, the sports he played; friends from all the communities he had belonged to.

We remembered him, and celebrated him, and talked of a life not so much ended as completed. And then we drank the wine, ate the sandwiches, looked at the photographs, got into our cars and went away. Leaving his widow and his son and the grandchildren alone together in their pain and sorrow and loss. read more

Library News – February

From the Library

I sat across the table and watched the young man lie to me. It was a disciplinary hearing. He was charming, and believable, but I knew more than he thought I did, and I could see where he was lying. And with every lie that he told, he shattered further any trust I had in him. We sacked him almost more for the lies he told than for what he had done. You can’t work with people you don’t trust.

I wonder what we would have done if he hadn’t lied. If he’d said “I’ve been a stupid fool. Please forgive me. Can we start again?” He couldn’t undo the wrong thing, but we might have trusted him to learn, and to get it right next time. He didn’t, sadly, have the guts to do that. read more

From the Rectory – March

Despite the obvious issues, like a complete absence of talent, I have sometimes fancied the life of a professional sportsman. The big house, the fast cars, the expensive restaurants, the adoring fans, and for that you only have to been seen working in public for a couple of hours or so each week. It’s so close to the life of a vicar as to be uncanny.

The salary that the biggest stars of sport receive have their attractions too. From Premiership footballers, to tennis wonderkids, to the star quarterbacks in the NFL, millions of pounds are the going rate. read more

From the Rectory – February

The cultural differences of countries across the world that are exposed by studies and polling makes for fascinating reading. They also tell us a great deal about the national psyche of the country in question.

A survey on alcohol consumption sees the UK preferring beer, France opting for wine, and Russia choosing spirits. The image of British lager louts, wine quaffing French and Vodka addled Kremlin super-spies may seem clichéd, but don’t seem too far from the mark.

The variety of highly favoured US exports of TV shows paint another picture. read more

From the Rectory – January

While hunting for the deadly great white shark in Steven Spielberg’s Oscar winning masterpiece Jaws, the hero of the film, Police Chief Brody, gets his first look at exactly how massive the killer shark truly is. Standing on the deck of the small fishing vessel that has taken him out to sea, Brody turns to the ship’s captain, and completely off-script utters the now famous line ‘ You’re going to need a bigger boat’.

I read an article recently about how this, and a good number of the great lines in cinema history, was ad-libbed rather than following the original script. read more

From the Rectory – December

Christmas trees, presents, wrapping paper, candles, tinsel, carols, bells, snowmen, reindeer, stockings, turkey, mistletoe, mince pies & wise men. This season is jam packed full of tradition and history.

But no Christmas can ever be called complete without a novelty song.

If Aled Jones singing ‘Walking in the air’ is not your thing, then maybe Slade’s ‘Merry Christmas Everybody’ is more to your taste. Or if you’re wedded to the sounds of the 1970’s, then Boney M’s ‘Mary’s Boy Child’ could be the one that gets you in the Christmas mood. read more

From the Rectory – November

The British politician William Ewart is a man who the vast majority of the public have never heard of. Born in 1798, Ewart entered parliament in 1828. His wide ranging political career saw him serve as MP for Bletchingley in Surrey, Liverpool, Wigan and then finally for Dumfries Burghs in Scotland.

Ewart was instrumental in establishing free public libraries, for legalising the metric system of weights and measures, and he fought unsuccessfully for the abolition of capital punishment. Of all his achievements, the one he will be remembered for, was that he conceived the idea of a Blue plaque installed in a public place to commemorate a link between a famous person or event. read more

From the Rectory – October

Banksy is an anonymous English based graffiti artist based in Bristol. His work consists mostly of a distinctive stencil based technique, and can be found on streets, bridges and walls of cities round the world. Many of his painted pieces are of a ‘social commentary’ nature, although in 2015 he organised a temporary art project in Weston-super-Mare at a disused Lido. Titled ‘Dismaland’, it was an ironic twist on Disneyland.   

rage-flower-thrower-by-banksyArt is one of those things that can be incredibly subjective. One man’s graffiti art and installation is another man’s vandalism and waste of space. read more

From the Rectory – September

I wonder what wakes you up in the morning?

It might be the rising sun leaking round the edge of your curtains. It could be the bird song outside the windows. If you’re fortunate perhaps it’s someone bringing you a cup of coffee. Or maybe it’s the sound of some relentlessly joyful DJ extolling the virtues of the latest single from a band you’ve never heard of when your clock radio reaches the appointed time.

Time can seem to be the thing that rules our lives.

railI read recently how the rail companies in the UK were instrumental in introducing nationwide standardised time. As you move from East to West the sun sets later. If your clock is a sundial, you would have the middle of the day before someone living in a town further west from you. This wan’t much good for running trains. So in 1840, the Great Western Railway Company synchronised local times and applied a single standard. read more

From the Rectory – August

A Tale Of Three Proverbs

I wonder if you’ve ever heard the phrase ‘it takes a whole village to raise a child’?

This proverb has it’s origin in the Igbo and Yoruba peoples in Nigeria, although it exists in different forms in many African languages. The basic meaning is that the upbringing of children is a communal effort, where the extended family, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and even other non-relatives – neighbours and friends, participate.

The saying also sums up the African worldview that underlines the value of family. In these cultures, children are seen as a blessing from God to the whole community. read more