Wednesday, 4 October 2006

The simple way

The Feast of St. Francis, and I find myself in a reflective mood, pondering the multitude of possessions I have and the simplicity of lifestyle espoused by the blessed son of Assisi. Where has it all come from? Every room in this four-bedroomed house is filled with furniture, oddments, pictures and the like. The cupboards are full with items I have held on to from years past, and every time I go out I come back with something else.

This last Monday I actually managed to throw away a piece of artwork I did back in 1972. I had never displayed the canvas, and the oil paint was beginning to chip, so I decided it was time for it to go. The picture showed a large cross with what was described at the time as "the white tornado" (from a TV advert for a cleaning product) spiralling up from the top. It was meant to signify the release of the Spirit at the moment of the physical death of Jesus, but it never really worked. I did display it at the Greenbelt Festival in the mid-1970's when they had an Art Tent, but since then it has languished in one cupboard after another. Now it has gone to the tip, and I'm not too bothered.

In the parish of Ilketshall St Lawrence another old painting has received a new lease of life, for we have had the old Coat of Arms restored. It arrived back today and I have yet to see it, but judging by the photographs of the work done to it, I shall not be disappointed. It was in a parlous state, with badly flaking paint and much of the design indecipherable. It shows the Royal Arms of George II, and carries a re-painting date of 1840. Presumeably the original fell apart and a replacement was commissioned. Now it enters its third incarnation, and will be proudly displayed for all to see for another hundred years or so.

Like my home, our churches amass belongings over the years. Bits of silver, holy pictures, huge leather-bound Prayer Books and Bibles .... I'm fairly good at culling the dross from our vestrys (vestries?) .... I really ought to do the same with my own hoard.

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