Thursday, 31 March 2011

Duck Soup

Not the Marx Bros variety .....

These were taking up valuable parking space in Halesworth this morning. I don't think they'd paid. Who do I call?

Wednesday, 30 March 2011


SCENE I. A cavern. In the middle, a boiling cauldron.

Thunder. Enter the three Witches

First Witch

Thrice the brinded cat hath mew'd.

Second Witch
Thrice and once the hedge-pig whined.

Third Witch
Harpier cries 'Tis time, 'tis time.

First Witch
Round about the cauldron go;
In the poison'd entrails throw.
Toad, that under cold stone
Days and nights has thirty-one
Swelter'd venom sleeping got,
Boil thou first i' the charmed pot.

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.

Second Witch
Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the cauldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt and toe of frog,
Wool of bat and tongue of dog,
Adder's fork and blind-worm's sting,
Lizard's leg and owlet's wing,
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

Third Witch
Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf,
Witches' mummy, maw and gulf
Of the ravin'd salt-sea shark,
Root of hemlock digg'd i' the dark,
Gall of goat, and slips of yew
Silver'd in the moon's eclipse,
Finger of birth-strangled babe
Ditch-deliver'd by a drab,
Make the gruel thick and slab:
Add thereto a tiger's chaudron,
For the ingredients of our cauldron.

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

Second Witch
Cool it with a baboon's blood,
Then the charm is firm and good.

Yes! It's Lent Lunch day again ... and the home-made soups are bubbling!
Carrot and coriander.
Roasted tomato and red pepper.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Anti-Cuts March, London

"This has been Middle Britain speaking," said the TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber. Well, maybe some of it, Mr. Barber, but not this bit of it over here in Suffolk. This part of "Middle Britain" and its families view the chaos that took place in London today with distaste. It's claimed that small groups hijacked the main march and broke away to carry out their illegal activities, but the march itself gave them the opportunity to do so, and also the cover into which they could disappear afterwards.

None of us want to see cuts in Public Services, but if you haven't got the money you can't spend it without running up massive debts and eventual bankruptcy. What holds true in an individual life holds true with the national life. It's the same cry that the churches are making to the Diocese as it continually presses our congregations to increase their giving so that mission may go ahead, completely forgetting that the existence of the ancient church building in the centre of its community is mission in itself.

I was in London this morning, but took the opportunity to make my way to Liverpool Street station well ahead of time so as to miss the expected mayhem. I walked across Hyde Park from Kensington to Marble Arch to catch the tube. The Hyde Park police station was a hive of activity with coach-loads of uniformed officers getting ready for the day. The tents and mobile toilets were set up on the lawns, and at Marble Arch itself there were several stands with red "Socialist Worker" flags fluttering and copies of their paper being touted to bemused tourists. I made it along the Central Line with no problems. At Liverpool Street a small group of "Socialist Worker" students (is not that self-contradictory?) were massing ready to march down to the centre, but I slipped away north-east on my train, the only occupant in a 1st Class carriage (this luxury just a couple of pounds more than 2nd class travel).

Brendan Barber said he "bitterly regretted" the violence, adding that he hoped it would not detract from the massive anti-cuts protest. He told the Press Association: "I don't think the activities of a few hundred people should take the focus away from the hundreds of thousands of people who have sent a powerful message to the Government today. Ministers should now seriously reconsider their whole strategy after today's demonstration."

The trouble is, Mr. Barber, despite the laudable rhetoric on your march posters (as above), I don't see any credible practical alternative plan being offered by your side in this debate.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Lent Lunch No.2

The second Lent Lunch is upon me, and so tonight has been spent setting out the tables, which will seat 16 people, place-mats, cutlery, napkins, the cheeseboards and condiments, and finding enough chairs.

Tomorrow's choices will be Sweet potato and vegetable with coriander, or Mushroom with tarragon. Served with a warm bread roll, and the followed by a small selection of cheeses, rounded off with coffee or tea, all for £3.50 per head.

I'm thankful I've got two soup kettles (large bains-maries) and a dishwasher!

Monday, 14 March 2011

In trembling and fear

Faced with the devastation we've been witnessing on our TV screens and in our newspapers these last few days, we can find ourselves at loss for words to describe our reactions. Here's someone who has managed to piece together their thoughts and faith in a comprehensive and compelling way.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Phew! It's a scorcher!

The vicarage ran out of heating oil at the start of February, and I've been hanging on before ordering because this village has a buying Consortium, and if I had ordered my fuel independently I would not only have missed out on their reduced price, but also lowered the total order for the rest of the group. So it's been electric heaters since then, and heating each room as required. The hallways have been so cold that your breath could be seen, and I've been sleeping under two duvets and another cover.

But yesterday the oil was delivered, and though it has cost me not far short of a grand to fill the tank, the house is now reasonably warm again. I've even left off my vest!

It was no real hardship, after all I grew up in a home with no central heating, scraping ice off the inside of the windows during winter, and my first flat had a small gas fire in the sitting room as its only source of heat, but so soon do we wallow in physical comfort when it's available.

I'm not sure if that's an entirely appropriate way to begin Lent!