Wednesday, 28 August 2013


I am very pleased, that at long last, there is a campaign to improve the standards of food in hospitals which will bring England into line with Scotland Northern Ireland and Wales. It seems ironic that there are regulations in force regarding food and quality in prisons but not hospitals

A few years ago I wrote to the Chief Executive of one Hospital Trust about the awful food served to patients many of whom had been parishioners. I remember on one occasion seeing a plate of what was supposed to be fish in white sauce and was in fact a tiny piece of fish floating in a white translucent bowl of milk which the patient refused to eat. I had a reply to say that the hospital was changing its supplier and things would improve which they did ever slightly.

In theory food from a heated trolley was served to patients and there was a choice. In practice the problem was that if the patient happened to be in the wrong part of the ward by the time the trolley arrived there was no choice and the food was stone cold because the staff hadn’t bothered to plug the trolley into the electricity which they were supposed to do. In theory the trolley was supposed to start and finish at different points each day; in practice it just went round in the shortest possible way on some wards. All the food was imported because there were no facilities to cook in the hospital. I’ve known people bring food in for relatives as the food served was so dire and/or it was insufficient. On one occasion I witnessed a patient eating fish and chips which were stone cold and I seen many meal left uneaten because they were so uninviting/inedible.

Sunday, 25 August 2013


Ann and I travelled to Swindon on Friday so that I could take part in the rehearsal for my niece (and God-daughter’s wedding) on Saturday. I felt very honoured to be asked to conduct the Marriage Service by my God-daughter and by kind permission of the Rector of Holy Cross Parish Church, Chiseldon.

Whilst the east suffered tremendous rain on Saturday we enjoyed quite good weather and no rain at all in the Swindon area. In fact it was so muggy and hot that I had to remove the cope I was wearing to deliver the homily. The reception was at the Stanton House Hotel which is Japanese owned and run. The food was excellent and the ambience first class.

The Evening Reception and Barbecue were well under way when we had to leave as I was Presiding at the Parish Mass at Rush Green on Sunday We had a good journey home with no holdups or delays unlike our journey down which was terrible on the M25.

Today I presided at Mass at St. Augustine’s, Rush Green – for a report please go here.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Mary, Queen of Heaven

mary coronation~1

Today at the Ilford Hospital Chapel we celebrated Mary, Queen of Heaven.


Pray for us Holy Mother of God; that we may be worthy of the promises of Christ

Wednesday, 21 August 2013


I am very unhappy about the 9 hour detention on Sunday of David Miranda  and believe that the use of the Terrorism Act 2000 was an abuse of this legislation in that detention. His laptop, phone, USB’s etc. were confiscated. He was here on transit from Germany back to Brazil. The police required him to reveal all his passwords to his electronic devices. Now he is threatening legal action for wrongful detention and for the return of the items taken. Perhaps I’ve understood things wrongly but I was under the impression that the purpose of the Terrorism Act 2000 was to prevent terrorism and it is quite clear that Miranda is not a terrorist so why was he detained under those powers. Another question that concerns me is that it was for 9 hours.

I am concerned that, more and more, this country is becoming a police state where everything we do, write or say is being monitored. We are constantly monitored by CCTV cameras everywhere we go. Our emails are no longer private but can be read should they so desire to do so by GCHQ (with the assistance of the USA) . The freedom of the press is being challenged by the way hard drives at the Guardian were required to be destroyed.

From yesterday’s Guardian: ‘As Miranda’s lawyer from Bindman’s says:  "We have grave concerns about the decision to use this draconian power to detain our client for nine hours on Sunday – for what appear to be highly questionable motives, which we will be asking the high court to consider. This act is likely to have a chilling effect on journalists worldwide and is emphatically not what parliament intended schedule 7 powers to be used for." Bindmans say the police used the anti-terror laws in order to have "deliberately bypassed" the normal statutory procedures for seeking confidential journalistic material such as court orders under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984’

In my opinion this affair is a very worrying development of police powers.

Sunday, 18 August 2013


I met and had coffee recently with a clown. Although now retired he still appears at various events despite being quite unwell. He manages to make people laugh despite what I soon realised was his own personal unhappiness. Here was a person who exemplified the clown who despite appearances to the contrary was a very sad person. In fact despite his jokeness  his eyes betrayed his underlying sadness yet he kept up the illusion of a man full of fun. As soon as his make-up goes on he takes on a different persona, he becomes transformed; the sadness is still there but it is now hidden from the world and he becomes the clown that everybody loves.


This morning I presided at St. Augustine’s. Due to holidays we were a little short of servers and our choir was a bit depleted but they still managed an anthem. Attendance was quite good with quite a few children. To read a bit about my sermon go here

Tuesday, 13 August 2013


On the side of Bulbul Mountain, Turkey and 9 kilometers from the ancient Greek city of Ephesus, the small shrine of Mary is a place of pilgrimage for both Christians and Muslims. Tradition associates Mary with Ephesus because at the time of his death, Jesus put Mary in the care of John (John 19: 26-27) who then spent many years spreading Christianity in this region.
At the beginning of the 19th century, Anne Catherine Emmerich, a bedridden Augustinian nun in Germany, reported a series of visions in which she recounted the last days of the life of Jesus, and details of the life of Mary, his mother.Emmerich was ill for a long period of time in the farming community of Dülmen but was known in Germany as a mystic and was visited by a number of notable figures.  

An 18th century drawing of Anne Catherine Emmerich

One of Emmerich's visitors was the author Clemens Brentano who after a first visit stayed in Dülmen for five years to see Emmerich every day and transcribe the visions she reported.[6][7] After Emmerich's death Brentano published a book based on his transcriptions of her reported visions, and a second book was published based on his notes after his own death

Following the book's publication, ruins of a house were discovered at the present site and declared to be the house where Mary had lived the final years of her life. Known as the Panaya Kapula ('Doorway to the Virgin'), the site has been a much venerated pilgrimage destination since the late 1880's. Archaeological excavation has revealed that in the 4th century AD a stone building combining house and grave had been built but the foundations are much earlier around 1 AD. Originally a two-story house, it consisted of an anteroom (where today candles are placed by pilgrims), a bedroom and praying room (a church area now) and a room with fireplace (now a chapel for Muslims). A front kitchen room had fallen into ruins and was restored in the 1940's. At the present time only the central part and a room on the right of the altar are open to visitors. At the exit of the building is the Well of Mary, where flows a salty water with curative properties.
The Roman Catholic Church has never pronounced on the authenticity of the house, for lack of scientifically acceptable evidence. It has, however, from the blessing of the first pilgrimage by Pope Leo XIII in 1896, taken a positive attitude towards the site. Pope Pius XII, in 1951, following the definition of the dogma of the Assumption in 1950, elevated the house to the status of a Holy Place, a privilege later made permanent by Pope John XXIII. The site is venerated by Muslims as well as Christians. Pilgrims drink from a spring under the house which is believed to have healing properties. A liturgical ceremony is held here every year on August 15 to commemorate the Assumption of Mary.  Pope Paul VI visited the shrine on July 26, 1967, and Pope John Paul II on November 30, 1979. Pope Benedict XVI visited this shrine on November 29, 2006 during his four-day pastoral trip to Turkey. Each year on August 15, Muslims and Christians gather at the shrine to commemorate the Assumption of Mary.

Ann and I visted the shrine whilst visiting the Christian sites in Turkey a few years ago on a pilgrimage led by the then Bishop of Chichester who celebrated Mass here. Muslims visit this shrine to pray that they might be blessed with a child.

Saturday, 10 August 2013


I never thought when I wrote my article about the behaviour of some cyclists who ignore both the Highway Code and good manners that I would be subjected to abusive comments from some anonymous commentators. I made it clear, I thought, I was referring to some, rather than all, cyclists. As a result of receiving a number of these comments I have now restricted comments on this blog to people who identify themselves. I set the blog up so that comments could be made as contributors thought fit but I didn’t think for one moment that some would see this as Carte Blanche to be personally abusive. The interesting thing is that this has only happened on this one subject of “cyclists” despite all the controversial matters I have written about since the blog began.

Our deepest sympathy goes to the family of Hannah Smith who sadly committed suicide as a result of on-line bullying. What has happened to me is insignificant with what happened to Hannah and some other teenagers who have ended their lives because of it. However I have found it quite distressing and can fully understand how this can affect vulnerable teenagers. I want to draw attention to the responsibility of online sites, particularly those who are designed to attract teenagers, to ensure the safety of their contributors and not to permit the kind of bullying which seems prevalent.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Anonymous Comments

In future Comments from “Anonymous” will usually be deleted. If anyone wishes to comment they should be prepared to identify themselves. I’m taking this course of action following a particularly offensive comment with a commentator hiding under the cloak of “Anonymous”


What is it about cyclists that they think they are above the law which governs all other road users.? I have been watching the way some cyclists are conducting themselves recently and the blatant way they ignore the Highway Code. Here are a few examples:-

1, Cycling through red lights – I’ve seen this so many times.

2. Adults riding their bikes on pavements putting the elderly at risk including one instance where the cyclists shouted at a pedestrian to “get out of my ***************** way”

3. Cycling down one way streets the wrong way.

4. Riding on the wrong side of the road.

5. Hogging the middle of the carriageway so that motorists can’t get by even though there’s plenty of room. This happened on Sunday when I had to follow such a cyclists until I could go on the wrong side of the road to get by which would have been unnecessary if he had behaved differently.

Monday, 5 August 2013




21st – 30th October 2013

There are still a couple of places available for our comprehensive 10-day pilgrimage based in Jerusalem and Galilee fully escorted and with a Daily Mass.

led by




Fully inclusive (breakfast, lunch, dinner, gratuities, entrance fees)

organised on behalf of the Parish of St Augustine of Canterbury and Ilford Hospital Chapel of St. Mary & St. Thomas of Canterbury by McCabe Pilgrimages.

Contact Father Mervyn for more details

Sunday, 4 August 2013





Guided tours, refreshments, stalls

Admission free

The oldest building in Ilford

Thursday, 1 August 2013


It must come as little surprise that Local Authorities, especially in London; have made a large surplus in car parking charges and fines. As usual the motorist is the milch cow for local government exploitation.

Parking charges are providing huge cash surpluses for some English councils, according to the RAC Foundation. The 359 councils across England had a total current account surplus of £565m from on and off-street parking schemes in 2011-12, according to the figures. (BBC NEWS).

Close to where we live is a small shopping centre with a couple of banks, newsagents, charity shops, butchers, a library, a small but excellent Co-op, etc. The LA has just imposed parking fees for use of the car park, and also parking meters outside shops on the basis this will enable residents to park rather than commuters as they state that the car park is often full with them. This is complete and utter rubbish. The park is a couple of miles from the railway station and I’ve been there at various times of the day and have never ever had a problem parking. Less that two miles away is a huge Tesco which sells pretty well everything so people will drive there rather than pay to park. In my opinion this is a revenue raising scheme rather than any thought of helping local residents. I think it will kill of the shops; I know that several of them are already under pressure due to high and escalating rents and rates.Few people are going to pay to park to go to the newsagents for their daily paper!