Monday, 21 January 2013

Training Papal Ninjas

An integral part of any Catholic Home Education programme is Papal Ninja training: today one of our senior ninja trainees was fitted for authentic 15th C armour, but but found that it was rather heavier than the crocheted cotton chain mail that we've used to date...

Sunday, 20 January 2013

In Blackfen...

... even the snow-women wear mantillas.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

‘If we are called before courts, that is our opportunity to give witness’

This thoughtful and thought-provoking interview with Bishop Mark Davies in the Catholic Herald serves to increase my feeling that there is more than a whiff of the saintly about the gentle and courageous Shepherd of Shrewsbury.

Deo gratias for this good and holy servant of God! Please keep him in your prayers. 

+Davies at the celebration to mark the opening of the ICKSP Apostolate and shrine Church in the Wirral, 2012

Monday, 7 January 2013

Out with the old...

...and in with the new:

Happy Feast of the Epiphany!

Sunday, 6 January 2013

What my car's contents say about me...

Having one's car (or, in my case, van) stolen is a strange thing psychologically: often when I'm out and about now I think I spot our stolen van. I've actually stalked a couple of vans after initially thinking that they could be ours. That way madness lies, and I've accepted that ours has probably either been [a] broken down and sold for parts, or [b] shipped off to Africa or Asia, or [c] living a new life with false plates as a taxi somewhere several hundred miles away. The police seem think that any of these is equally plausible. 

The admin after an event like this is a major hassle: particularly dealing with insurance companies. I've had to try to remember every item that was in our van in order for the insurance company to value the contents. Thanks burglars: it's not like I have anything better to do with my time. Given that I have four children, and very often have several other people's children along for the ride as well, our van is very fully of stuff. Add to that the fact that we home educate, so that some children are often waiting for others in the van outside music or gymnastics or tennis lessons, and you a recipe for a vehicle full of books and trinkets and toys. 

Happier days: before some misreant broke into our house, stole the keys and drove off in it. 

They say that the contents of a woman's handbag says a lot about who she is; there's even a pseudoscience called "bagology" (no joke) that claims to accurately analyse personality based on handbag contents. My handbag is usually pretty sparce, but reading through the list of our van's contents I reckon that you could get a reasonable picture of life chez Annie-Elizabeth and family. So for no other reason than that, I've cut and pasted this list (minus boring details) which is very possibly unique in the history of insurance claims.

What does it tell you about us?


Car contents: I have written these down according to the section of the car they were in.
Front of car:

On dashboard / in dashboard compartments:-Copy of "The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis"  vintage 1952 edition, intact slipcover
-Ladies' Sunglasses, tortoiseshell brown

-Silver Miraculous Medal: sterling silver on chain. 

In glovebox:

multi-phone charger - fits all phones with different ends
several CTS edition biographies of English Martyrs including:

  • Edmund Campion
  • John Fisher 
  • Thomas More
  • Margaret Clitheroe
  • John Southworth
On passenger seat:
Five Mantillas : Two white ones, three black ones. These look like lacy scarves.Copy of Magnificat (December 2012)Mason-Pearson large brown natural bristle hairbrush
Britax children's booster seat 
Under passenger seat (there's a "hidden compartment" inside the seat: Two sets of jump leads  1 x large format spiral map of  Greater ManchesterA-Z large format spiral Kent Street AtlasA-Z large format spiral London STreet Atlas
A-Z normal format London
A-Z normal format Liverpool and the Wirral
Large detailed map book of France - was either AA or Michelin European 2012 European map book - AA Fold out map of Northern Italy / AlpsAA  Great Britain Road Atlas  - 2012
Various miscellaneous items - pens, screen wipes, ice scrapers, etc.


2 x Children's Car seats of which:

    1 x Maxi Cosi Rodi in Black Reflection - exactly the same
    1 x Maxi cosi Priory XP in Leopard Skin print
2 x storage boxes under seats

Children's books:
  • DK "Touch and Feel Kitten" 
  • Saint Jean Vianney Book - hard cover 
  • A few other younger children's books but we can't remember the titles unfortunately

Mini Boden boy's winter coat - age 3/4 kakhi green thick army style twill

Ladies winter ski jacket 

On floor in front of second row of seats:

  • 20kg sack of chicken food
  • 15 kg Sack of Rabbit food 

Items in and around the THIRD ROW OF SEATS:

Two Maxi-Cosi Rodi car seats
2 x storage boxes

Books: on back seat and in storage boxes under side back seats:

  • Enid Blyton: Five get into a fix (Famous Five #17) 
  • Enid Blyton: Five go to Demon's rocks( Famous Five #19) 
  • The Hobbit 70th Anniversary Edition (hardcover edition in slipcover; was Christmas present)
  • The Three Musketeers early 20th C edition, red board covers. 
  • Jacinta of Fatima: Our Lady's Little Shepherdess  (by Fernando Leite) 
  • Jesus Make Me Worthy - Children's Missal (white cover: First Holy Communion gift)
  • Lord of the Rings - all three parts, paperback
  • Just William book - not sure which one
  • Saint Patrick's Summer: A Children's Adventure Catechism 
  • Mother Cabrini: Missionary to the World 
  • Mystery of the Vanished Prince (Five Finder Outers - Enid Blyton) 
  • "Fetch!" Magazine x 2 = Can't find a way to replace these much to my 8 year old's sorrow.
  • Saint Kateri Tekawitha colouring book 
  • Saint Pius X colouring book 
  • Saint Dominic Savio colouring book 

Millets "camping survival kit" in green cylinder with lid

In the boot:

Savic dog cage: "Savic Dog Residence" -  medium sized cage

2 striped picnic blankets

Two large plastic storage boxes:

Safety equipment - 2 x flourescent tabard / jackets, 1 x Triangle, etc.


Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Greeting the New Year in the presence of Our Lord

Just back from Benediction and the sung Te Deum at Our Lady of the Rosary in Blackfen: the perfect way to usher in a new year. There was something profoundly moving about the elevation of the Blessed Sacrament in Benediction occurring at the exact moment that the world outside erupted in cheers, whooping and firework blasts - whilst inside was stillness,  beauty, Truth.

As night be expected with four young children, we had our share of drama getting everyone woken up, dressed and out of the house so late at night. Having a puppy driven frantic by the sound of fireworks didn't help either, and for a fleeting mad moment I considered bringing her with us - but didn't (much to everyone's relief, l'm sure). We arrived two verses into the Te Deum: I wonder, do you get 3/4 of a Plenary Indulgence if you miss the first bit? Didn't think so, but at least we did our best.

After a cheery glass of Champagne we headed home with four exhausted children, but the night's drama was not yet over. Before we'd even left the church car park I noticed over twenty missed calls from our next door neighbour in the previous half hour, but my phone had been on silent in church. It rang again and I discovered that our burglar alarm was going off and that the police were at the house. We arrived to find neighbours, two police officers, lots of flashing lights, and a forensic specialist officer at the scene; my heart sank. Thank God it turned it time be a false alarm: an alarmed internal door had prevented from closing tightly by some tinsel the children had wound around the handle, and our cat had pushed it open, triggering the alarm. All's well that ends well and perhaps we will have a quiet year this year after all...

Happy New Year to you all - may God bless you and your loved ones throughout 2013