Saturday, 31 December 2011

The old year now away is fled ....

.. the New Year it is enter-ed.
Then let us now our sins downtread,
and joyfully all appear.
Let's merry be this day,
and let us now both sport and play:
Hang grief, cast care away!
God send you a Happy New Year!

And now with New year's gifts each friend
unto the other they do send:
God grant we may all our lives amend,
And that the truth may appear.
Now, like the snake, your skin
cast off, of evil thoughts and sin,
And so - the year begin:
God send us a Happy New Year!

Friday, 23 December 2011

Christmas Past

This was taken at home in Brighton one Christmastime over 50 years ago - one of the rare winters when snow fell in the town. I could do with that balaclava now ....

Thursday, 22 December 2011

A good response

This article setting out an alternative path to unity to the proposed Anglican Covenant is well worth the reading and deserves consideration by all - maybe especially by those who so loudly call for the agreement to be signed and implemented.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

No room at the stable

One of the more crowded of the nativity scences I've come across, and the more you look, the more you see. Just what is that small child pointing at on the extreme left of the picture, curling round the legs of the buxom woman in blue? And then one of the sheep brought by the shepherds lies in the foreground, legs tied as a sacrifice, prefiguring the crucifixion. Joseph is being pushed into the background by the adoring crowd, off balance and almost falling over. Behind him are more men with packs on their backs and staffs in their hands. On the right the ox is held by its horns, but the bustle on earth is nothing compared with the riotous behaviour in heaven! Naked cherbus frolic, one holding on to the ankle of an angel, whilst another lifts up what looks like a bedsheet and peers blearily down. The angel dressed in rose-coloured fabric looks as if they are in the midst of a game of volleyball, whilst a more serene angel behind consults a book, more interested in words than The Word. Perhaps whjat is more disturbing is that on closer inspection the new-born baby looks, in its position and attitude, more like a still-birth - an interpretation accentuated by the way in which Mary is folding a cloth over his face, just as one covers a corpse.

I don't think that any Nativity Play or film version of the Christmas story has ever dared to follow the vibrancy and sheer chaos as painted here by Abraham Bloemaert in 1612. Maybe we should rise to the challenge and discard the sweet and serene Nativity cribs we erect in our churches and homes, and put up something more akin to this scene of holy disorder.

Monday, 12 December 2011

The days are swiftly flying

Ages since I posted anything, and in the intervening days I have had my pre-Christmas mid-week break, part of which was spent back on the south coast meeting up with friends for a meal and to exchange seasonal cards.

In reality it was a reunion of the owners of the long-closed independant Munnery's Wine Stores in Kemp Town, Brighton, where I worked on and off for about 11 years - them and other members of "staff". It's interesting that our friendship has continued beyond the closure of the shop, and we meet several times during the year, usually around a birthday or some such celebration. Our meal this time was taken at "The Badger's Watch" along the coast road at Peacehaven where there is a superb Carvery, and we dined well.

It's good to have these get-togethers, and there's lots of chat and memories shared. Driving down on the Sunday afternoon I get to stay over with two of the group until the Tuesday, so the journey, which is 166 each way, is not too strenuous. I know the route well by now, and once the Dartford Crossing is past (about 2 hours away from home) there's roughly another hour to go, and I often take a break at either "The Old Ship" or "The Cock Inn" just north of Lewes before the final sprint down into Newhaven.

On the return journey the break takes place at Ipswich and the Tesco store at Copdock. This gives me a chance to buy supplies for home, and the last hour's drive goes quickly.

Now the Christmas season has started in these parishes, and the first 3 Carol services took place yesterday. I was responsible for just one of those, which was the "Carols and Capers" service at Rumburgh that is organised by the local Morris team. I am simply the host giving the Welcome and Bidding Prayer, and then the Blessing at the close. It's the third year this has been running and it provides an unusual start to the Christmas sequence.

On the home front I've made some chocolate truffles, some stuffed dates, and the "pigs in blankets" are in the freezer. I'll start looking for a turkey crown tomorrow after my regular visit to the gym.

Christmas is a-coming in!

Thursday, 1 December 2011

A word from the sty

This reply arrived today:

Thank you for your email and apologies for not coming back to you sooner, I have been out of the office.

I hope the following explanation helps! The sausage is make with 80% pork in the raw recipe, but the ingredient declaration reflects the product once it has been cooked. The 1st cook which we do before we send into the Coop gives us 10% cook loss and the 2nd cook in store removes a further 15% of moisture, therefore the mathematical calculation is 104g of pork per 100g of finished product simply due to the moisture loss in the product through cooking which then concentrates the pork value.

This does comply with labelling guidelines however you are right its very confusing and we are investigating how we can declare this in a better way and make it more user friendly.



Jackie Nettleton
National Account Manager
Holmesterne Foods Limited

Nope ... I'm none the wiser ....