Sunday, 30 October 2011





Did you get caught out with the clocks going back an hour during the night? We took the precaution of changing all our clocks yesterday in the early evening but I do wish that we didn’t have the twice a year change i.e. first they go forward an hour and then, as last night, they go back an hour. This means that it gets dark much earlier.

There is a proposal to keep the winter time as the present summer time but to put that forward one hour. I can’t see the point of that change either. Why can’t we just keep the time as summer time all the year round. The excuse that it is bad for the famers and for Scotland doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. It is perfectly possible to operate with two time zones and as Scotland wants to be independent anyway here’s one way they can be.

Saturday, 29 October 2011


I went to the Saturday Shop at St. Augustine’s, Rush Green as usual this morning and was asked by one of those present my position with regard to all that has been happening at St. Paul’s Cathedral.

I have been pondering this ever since it all started but have refrained from making any comment on the blog until I have formulated some sensible conclusions. I must begin by saying I think it was regrettable that the Cathedral shut up shop with the somewhat lame excuse of “Health & Safety” which now seems to be trotted out ad infinitum by all and sundry. The amount of money that the Cathedral says it has lost because of the closure beggars belief. I refuse personally to pay to visit a Cathedral and totally disagree with the idea of charging admission but I’m probably in a minority of one!

The reason for the protest has been brought into sharp focus with the announcement yesterday of the pay rises awarded to Executives and Directors of some FTSE companies.

Should the Cathedral seek to obtain an injunction to remove the protestors? Or join itself with others who are seeking an injunction? I think it would be terrible if we saw the same scenes at St. Paul’s as we witnessed recently at Dale Farm and this could very well be the outcome should an injunction be granted and the police attempt to remove the protestors. It was for this reason that The Revd. Dr. Giles Fraser resigned.

I think that every means possible should be used to get the protestors to move away peacefully and without any sort of violence. If violence does occur as a result of police action the resultant publicity for St. Paul’s and for the church generally will be appalling.

Friday, 28 October 2011


The news that directors and chief executives of the top FTSE companies have had pay awards averaging between 40% and 49% is an utter disgrace. If these awards were the result of a fantastic recovery in the nations finances it might be all well and good. But they are not.

At a time when our politicians assure us we are “all in this together” it appears that there are some who are exempt. Not that I believed we ever were “all in this together”. The usual victims are those in the middle and pensioners who have been, and are, being squeezed some thing rotten. Despite nearly 6% inflation, our pensions have hardly increased nor are they likely to, in the present financial climate. Instead, we are told to “tighten our belts” so why don’t the fat cats tighten theirs?

Thursday, 27 October 2011


I was horrified today when I heard today on the local news at 1.20 p.m. on BBC1 that Emergency and Maternity services at King George Hospital, Ilford are to be transferred to Queen’s Hospital, Romford. For several years this has been a proposal that has been opposed by pretty well everyone living in either Ilford or Romford, by all the MP’s, local Councillors and by most of the local doctors Some years ago, I went as the Vicar of St. Francis, Barkingside to a Public Meeting which was supposed to be a “consultation” It was nothing of the sort; it was members of the PCT expounding the virtues of what they proposed and not giving any of the people present the chance to ask any questions. I was so disgusted that I walked out. Since then there have been many public meetings, protest marches etc.

To get all the local MP’s to agree to fight the proposals is something of a coup but that is what has happened in the Romford/Ilford areas. MP’s have worked together despite their different political loyalties in an attempt to defeat this crazy proposal.

Queens Hospital, Romford has come under severe criticism for the care, or lack of it, it has given patients in its Maternity Wards. The Quality Care Commission has today stated that, following an earlier inspection when various proposals were made to Queens they are still not up to standard and will be subject to a further examination early next year,


Despite some signs of improvement in recent months, patients still remain at risk of poor care, particularly those receiving maternity services.

Problems found in maternity services include:

  • poor clinical care.
  • abusive and unprofessional behaviour from staff.
  • a lack of learning from maternal deaths and incidents.
  • lack of leadership from senior management.

Other areas of concern can be found below.

  • A&E services at Queen’s Hospital struggled to meet the target for admissions.
  • Staff vacancies were filled by agency, locum or bank staff which had an impact on the quality of care.
  • Lines of communication within the new structure were unclear.
  • Trust governance systems and corporate governance were weak.
  • Response to complaints was poor.

We have now made 16 key recommendations to the trust, which we will monitor through unannounced inspections.

We will then review evidence in March 2012 to determine whether it is delivering improvements or not.

I wonder just what Andrew Lansley, the Minster concerned, thinks the advantages will be of putting Queen’s Hospital under even more pressure having to take patients from a greatly extended catchment area when it can’t cope with those it has already. Earlier this year, Queens was “blue lighting” Emergency patients to King George Hospital because it was under such great pressure. Heaven above knows what it will do when A&E at King George is closed. Travel into and out of Romford is never easy and is even more difficult during the rush hours a.m. and p.m. I suspect that the delays in transporting emergency patients from the Ilford area to Queens will have a pretty deleterious effect on them even resulting in unnecessary deaths

Tuesday, 25 October 2011


David Cameron might have won the vote in the House of Commons last night on the EU but, in doing so and by imposing a three-line whip, he lost a lot of sympathy in the country. As one of the comments in todays Telegraph Blog says: “The more than 80 Conservative MPs who bravely defied a three-line whip in calling for a referendum on British membership of the European Union represent the views of seven in ten British voters, including 71 per cent of Conservative voters according to a new Guardian/ICM poll.” I don’t believe most people want to abandon the EU completely but I think the majority are fed up to the back teeth with the stupid rules and regulations that keep emerging from Brussels and which we, i.e. the UK, impose straight away unlike our European neighbours who are not so diligent in their obedience.

Whilst I remain convinced that our future lies within Europe I would like to see a return to the UK of many powers which have been delegated to Brussels and I would particularly like to see a substantial reduction in the amount we pay for the privilege of being members.

Sunday, 23 October 2011


It was good to be back at St. Augustine’s this Sunday although I very much enjoyed being at St. Mary’s. I was very impressed by St. Mary’s new vestments which I understand they have imported from Poland. All the colours in both chasubles and copes and at very reasonable prices.

During the week I had the dubious pleasure of going to Queen’s Hospital for an audio test. I was impressed by the audiologist and the care and skill with which she dealt with me. I first encountered a hearing problem in my 30’s and had extensive tests at Southampton Hospital which resulted in me being prescribed a hearing aid. Sadly I could never get to grips with the thing and stopped using it within a very short space of time. If anything it made things very much worse! I’ve coped without it every since but just recently I’ve noticed my hearing deteriorating – sign of age! I sometimes find it difficult to discern speech although most of the time, fortunately, there’s been a minimal effect on hearing music. Well, after my visit to Queens I now possess a brand new digital hearing aid which I am trying hard to use, (from time to time.) I still dislike the thing but I must keep at it, I suppose.

Our new cat, Lenny, has settled very well. He was found wandering in Rush Green and despite extensive advertising including door-to-door leaflets nobody came forward to claim him after several weeks. He is a delightful tom cat and we told the cat rescue that we would adopt him if nobody claimed him. He has made himself very much at home and is anxious to be with either Ann or I all the time; he’s not too keen on being on his own although we’ve left him without any problems. After just about a year since our previous cat died it is great to have a cat in the house again.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Some interesting facts about The Episcopal Church USA

I found this interesting information from a website called Virtueonline: “No Presiding Bishop has wielded more power in the history of The Episcopal Church than Katharine Jefferts Schori. She has deposed more bishops than any other Presiding bishop in American ecclesiastical history. She has spent more money (upwards of $22 million) on lawyers to litigate for properties that she and her bishops will ultimately be forced to sell than any other Presiding Bishop in history.” (to view the site click here) Virtueonline

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Mary Macey 93–RIP

Today I went to St. Michael and All Angels at Abbey Wood for the Funeral Service of Mary Macey. I met Mary in 1955 when she started coming to the church where I was a Sunday School Teacher: St. Wilfrid’s, Cowplain. Mary looked after the Infant Sunday School. After having assisted at the Organ for a few years I became the Organist and her son Michael joined the choir and over the years he became Head Chorister. Today Michael is a well known Organist and Choirmaster and directs several choirs. Recently he has been awarded the MBE for his service to music in Welling.

In those days we put on either a pantomime or something similar at St. Wilfrid’s every year which always played to full houses on several nights and Mary was a leading light in these theatrical endeavours.

Mary was very well loved as evidenced by the full church for her Funeral Service and the four clergy who were present together with the local MP. As one would expect from a musician like Michael the music was wonderful with some 45 men, women and children making up the choir – quite remarkable on a Thursday morning.

Mary moved to Welling in the 1980’s and soon became a well loved and respected member of the church and community. She had particularly requested that no black be worn and that flowers be used to decorate the church and the church was full of the most wonderful flower arrangements.

May she Rest in Peace

A Beautiful Collection!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


of Women Bishops in the latest fashion parade?

Wednesday, 19 October 2011


Maybe I’m stupid but I am at a loss to see how Basildon Council can justify spending an amount purported to be £18 million on evicting travellers from the Dale Farm site. The site itself was a scrap metal yard prior to the travellers purchasing it and they have now been in occupation for 10 years without planning permission on a site which is part of the Green Belt.  The site where the evictions are taking place is right next to another site where the caravans/mobile h0mes etc. have planning permission and to complicate things even further there are legitimate mobile homes on the eviction site which do have planning permission.

Quoted in the Echo the Bishop of Chelmsford The Rt Rev Stephen Cottrell  is reported as saying:  “we should pray for a peaceful clearance of Dale Farm”, but warned the eviction solves no problems.The Rt Rev Stephen Cottrell said: "As we witness the sad and difficult eviction of the travelling community from Dale Farm, let us pray that it happens peacefully and that no one is hurt or injured. But let us also remember that this eviction does not solve the problem but moves it somewhere else. These families are going to have to sleep somewhere tonight.What is needed is a national solution to provide travelling communities with stable, permanent and, if they wish, settled sites so that their culture and community can be maintained and flourish within the law."

At one time it was the responsibility of local authorities to provide suitable sites for travellers but this was rescinded some years ago. I really think Basildon Council could find a better way of spending £18 million pounds just to move a problem out of their area into somebody else's.

Sunday, 16 October 2011


This morning I was celebrant and preacher at St. Mary’s Ilford. I was made very welcome, as always and today Ann was able to come with me. It is the Years Mind of Chris Stevenson who was the Director of Music at St. Francis when I was the Vicar and who sadly died last year. Some of the choir of St. Mary’s knew Chris well as he was a member of several choral societies in the Ilford area. and they also sang with the choir that Chris organised, which augmented the church choir from time to time. It was good that we remembered him in our prayers. Strangely, the final hymn was one of Chris’ favourites “ How can I tell that He, whom angels worship”.

The choir were in good form this morning and sang the Mass to Nicholson in C.

I based my sermon on the Gospel and the trick question the Pharisees put to Jesus “Is it right to pay tribute to Caesar”. and how he answered that we should render to Caesar what is his and give to God what is his.


Congratulations to the town of Wootton Bassett on being presented with Letters Patent which changed it’s name to Royal Wootton Bassett. The award has been presented to the town in honour of the 167 times it has turned out on the repatriation of British military personnel killed in war.

According to the Daily Telegraph: The decision to award the town with the royal prefix was the Queen's following a petition from David Cameron, the Prime Minister. The Queen said it was "an enduring symbol of the nation's admiration and gratitude". The town became famous as thousands of people began to turn out to pay their respects to the fallen service men and women who died in Iraq and Afghanistan who had been repatriated at nearby RAF Lyneham, starting in April 2007.


I wonder if someone can explain to me why buses in the Romford area think it is clever to dawdle at around 20 mph or slower on a fairly clear road with a 30 mph speed limit and travel in convoys of sometimes 3 or 4 at a time, makinbg it impossible to pass and holding up traffic and making many motorists come near to blowing fuses. Another wheeze they have is stopping at bus stops where it is difficult if not impossible to get by them and then wait for periods of time letting traffic accumulate, before sedately moving of. Today we followed two buses whose speed varied from 15 mph to 20 mph and accumulated a long queue behind them. WHY? There were many places they could have let motorists by but didn’t.

Thursday, 13 October 2011


One of the ways you can judge a society is by the way that it treats its elderly. The report by the Care Quality Commission that of 100 hospitals they inspected one fifth of them were breaking the law with the care offered to the elderly should give cause for the greatest concern. According to the report in the Daily Telegraph: “After carrying out spot checks at geriatric wards in 100 hospitals, the commission found that 35 needed to make improvements, 18 were failing to meet legal standards and there were “major concerns” at two trusts.”

“Elderly patients in half of NHS hospitals are not being properly fed or cared for because of a lack of “kindness and compassion”, the health watchdog warns today.” Daily Telegraph 13/10/11.

Dame Jo Williams, the chairman of the CQC, said: “The fact that over half of hospitals were falling short to some degree in the basic care they provided to elderly people is truly alarming, and deeply disappointing. Too often, our inspectors saw the delivery of care treated as a task that needed to be completed. Those responsible for the training and development of staff, particularly in nursing, need to look long and hard at why the focus has become the unit of work, rather than the person who needs to be looked after, and how this can be changed. Task-focused care is not person-centered care. Often, what is needed is kindness and compassion, which cost nothing.”

I’m afraid that, in my experience this lack of care is not limited to care of the elderly in hospital. Emphasis is put on people being able to stay in their own homes which are obviously a good thing but to do so they will often need the care and support of “Care” workers. These days these are provided by private organisations, paid for by the people who receive the care and which range from the good to the totally terrible.

For example, an elderly lady, who needed daily care and help with using the toilet, was placed on a commode, stark naked, in her sitting room in full view of all who passed. As her house was situated on a busy road leading to the local Tube Station I suspect she was seen by quite a number of people hurrying to work at 8.00 am. My wife saw this and complained to the providers. Often this lady was left for hours on end in soiled clothes. There are many other examples I could quote which would demonstrate that the care of the elderly in the community is often no better, and often far worse, than care in hospital.

We should be ashamed that our elderly are subjected to this humiliating state of affairs; urgent action is needed to correct it.

Sunday, 9 October 2011


This morning I was the celebrant and preacher at St. Mary’s Ilford for the Solemn Mass. It was good to see many friends that I made during the interregnum. This evening I will be at St. Augustine’s for Solemn Evensong and Benediction and for a meeting of the CBS. During the week I am at St. Mary’s on Monday and Thursday for the 10.00 a.m. Mass and will preside at the Solemn Mass next Sunday.

On Friday I will be assisting at a Requiem Mass for a member of St. Augustine’s congregation and then heading of to the Emmanuel Centre for the annual Assembly of Forward in Faith representing Chelmsford Diocese.

Friday, 7 October 2011


We left Orkney and travelled overnight to Shetland after a wonderful sampler meal in a local restaurant based on Orkney specialities including local beer and malt whiskey. We had a really comfortable cabin and arrived at Lerwick quite early. Before leaving the boat we enjoyed a really super breakfast. Some of the places we visited are pictured below. After the morning trip we returned to Lerwick for lunch and looked around the small town. we looked at a Fish and Chip shop but decided it wasn’t for us and continued to look for something else, but not finding any where for a snack rather than a full blown meal. The Fish and Chip shop was right on the quay and one the way back we spotted some of our fellow travellers who told us the fish etc. was superb. So we enjoyed Shetland Fish and Chips and very good it was too and very reasonable.

We continued our tour in the afternoon until it was time to return to the ship for dinner and the overnight crossing to Aberdeen. Once again the food was excellent but the sea was quite choppy and some folk were quite poorly especially around the Faroes. However Ann and I enjoyed dinner and then we both slept like logs until we arrived early in Aberdeen.After quiet a leisurely breakfast we left the boat and started on our journey back home.

Shetland is absolutely beautiful and I hope we can go again and spend more time there.



Thursday, 6 October 2011


huwelijk 021
In his speech to the Tory Party faithful David Cameron said : “We're consulting on legalising gay marriage. To anyone who has reservations, I say: Yes, it's about equality, but it's also about something else: commitment. Conservatives believe in the ties that bind us; that society is stronger when we make vows to each other and support each other. So I don't support gay marriage despite being a Conservative. I support gay marriage because I'm a Conservative.”
The legalisation of gay marriage which will be able to be performed in churches, synagogues and within other religious bodies places of worship has met with strong opposition from Roman Catholic sources and, it is thought, will be opposed by the Church of England.  As far as I can tell there has been no statement yet from the CofE but that’s no surprise.
I really think it is beyond the pall that a government, any government, should try to change the definition of marriage: one man and one woman for life. Anything else, no matter what you call it, is not a marriage.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011



Our visit to the Italian Chapel in Orkney was the highlight for me of our trip to Orkney. It was built during the Second World War by Italian Prisoners of War who were kept in Orkney. Built in nissan huts and  using scraps and anything the prisoners could find or scrounge, it is really beautiful and a wonderful witness to a faith which transcends war.






Click to enlarge any picture………………………………………………to be continued

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

St. Francis of Assisi, 4th October 2011


Today we celebrate St. Francis of Assisi, a saint who has a very special place in my heart as I was Vicar of the Church dedicated to him for 15 years. Tonight I will be celebrating Mass in his honour at St. Augustine’s Rush Green at 7.30 p.m.


Just a few photo’s of some of the wonderful historic sites in Orkney.


Tomorrow The Italian Chapel

Monday, 3 October 2011

Over to Orkney

We stayed at the Ramada Jarvis, Inverness. It had the advantaged of being right on the river and the view from our room was stunning. When we returned there after visiting Loch Ness and Urguhart Castle we found, at 5.00 p.m, it had not been made up. I complained to the Duty Manager who didn’t seem very concerned. She offered to arrange for it to be made up then but as Ann and I wanted a rest until dinner I declined. It was obvious that the girl who was doing the rooms in the morning had forgotten ours. The hotel despite it’s star rating was tired; in our room the carpet was stained; the food at breakfast on the first day was poor but on our second day it was better.

After a free morning we left the hotel in the afternoon for the drive to John O’Groats and then to catch the ferry to Orkney where we arrived in the evening for a two night stay at the Kirkwell Hotel. We had a splendid dinner on the ferry which was rather a surprise as our experience of eating on some of the cross channel ferries has not been great.The hotel was very old fashioned which we both thought was rather pleasant. The food and the rooms were fine and the staff helpful.

to be continued

Sunday, 2 October 2011

ON TO ELGIN & INVERNESS continuing…..

After leaving Aberdeen we drove on to Elgin stopping en route for a visit to  the Glenfiddech distillery. After a very enjoyable trip round the distillery we were able to sample some of the 12 year old, 15 year old and 18 year old malt. From Elgin we visited Fort George which apart from being an historic and interesting building is still a fully operational army base.We then continued to Inverness and our hotel to find our room wasn’t ready for 2.00 p.m. as we had been told We went and had a little light refreshment but it was still not ready when we returned at 2.30 and, in fact, wasn’t ready until 3.15 p.m. The following day we went to Inverness Cathedral for the 9.30 a.m. Family Mass after a disappointing breakfast. In the afternoon we went to Loch Ness and Urguhart Castle.



To be continued…………………….

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Scotland, Orkney & Shetland……………………

We have been away, visiting Scotland, Orkney and Shetland hence there have been no blog entries during that time.


Our first stop was for a couple of nights at Durham because we wanted to visit the Cathedral and the two saints: The Venerable Bede and St. Cuthbert. We were impressed by the Park and Ride which took us, poor old pensioners, right into the middle of Durham, free with our bus passes. We were very impressed with the Cathedral itself which is one of the few that don’t impose a charge for entry (I really resent being asked to pay to visit a cathedral) and we spent quite a long time there. We were disappointed that Durham Castle was closed for repairs so we weren’t able to visit that.

We then drove on to Aberdeen where we were able to visit Ann’s uncle who celebrated his 90th birthday earlier this year. To be continued