Sunday, 27 November 2011

Gary Speed, Welsh Football Manager, RIP

Sad, sad news today at the sudden death of Welsh football manager Gary Speed.

Only last week I was chatting to a friend who's a Swansea fan. Gary Speed came up during our football banter, and we were saying what a great manager he was for Wales, and what a good character he seemed to be in his whole professional life.

The news this morning, which seems to state that he committed suicide, came as a real shock and one can only surmise that he was under some hidden pressure or depression. The world can be a terribly sad place at times.

Keep Gary Speed in your prayers, the Good Lord knows that he, like all of us, needs them.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

A Child in Court and Homophobia at Church Jumble Sale?

Every now and then I enjoy winding-up Old Ma Hurley. So it was I sent her a text this morning at a most ungodly hour. I hope that winds up sour-faced atheist mullahs who've taken to moaning about my blog and its religious nature on a particularly vile anti-Catholic blog.

The text was "I'm taking [our eldest child] to court." After a few texts I had to confess (oh these bigoted Catholic terms!) that it was all merely part of his studying Law and he and fellow students from various South Welsh schools were there to take part in a pretend-trial competition.

This afternoon at our local Catholic Church's jumble sale (I can hear atheists falling like flies at all this religious bigotry) some of the ladies running the stalls asked after the children not with me (the youngest was busy winning bottles of smellies and suchlike from the bottle stall) and as part of this I explained that the eldest was taking part in the pretend trial.

"I only hope there isn't a dreadful mix-up and he isn't 'sent down' for five years" I quipped and they all grinned, "mind you," I continued, "if I work out how much it'll save me in food bills maybe it wouldn't be a total disaster." I added a wink at the end, just in case.

We bought some fairy cakes ("is this yet more Catholic homophobia?" screech the atheist commissars) and made our way home.

That very evening the eldest child did indeed make it home just in time for sausage in batter and chips from the best chip shop in Wales, proving my argument true at least. Still it was good to see him walk through the door. Honest.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

November Winterval Warning

Birmingham Council pushes Winterval in 1997!
T'was the month before Christmas
When all through our land,
 Not a Christian was praying

Nor taking a stand. 

See the PC Police had taken away
The reason for Christmas - no one could say.
The children were told by their schools not to sing
About Shepherds and Wise Men and Angels and things. 

It might hurt people's feelings, the teachers would say
December 25th is just a ' Holiday'.
Yet the shoppers were ready with cash, checks and credit
Pushing folks down to the floor just to get it! 

CDs from Madonna, an X BOX, an I-Pod
Something was changing, something quite odd!
Retailers promoted Ramadan and Kwanzaa
In hopes to sell books by Franken & Fonda. 

As Targets were hanging their trees upside down
At Lowe's the word Christmas - was no where to be found.
At K-Mart and Staples and Penny's and Sears      
You won't hear the word Christmas; it won't touch your ears.
Inclusive, sensitive, Di-ver-si-ty
Are words that were used to intimidate me.
Now Daschle, Now Darden, Now Sharpton, Wolf Blitzer
 On Boxer, on Rather, on Kerry, on Clinton!
At the top of the Senate, there arose such a clatter
To eliminate Jesus, in all public matter.   
And we spoke not a word, as they took away our faith
 Forbidden to speak of salvation and grace
The true Gift of Christmas was exchanged and discarded
The reason for the season, stopped before it started.
So as you celebrate 'Winter Break' under your 'Dream Tree'
Sipping your Starbucks, listen to me.
Choose your words carefully, 
choose what you say
not Happy Holiday!

Please, all Christians join together and
wish everyone you meet
Christ is The Reason' for the Christ-mas Season! 


A big thanks to Uncle Maynard from America for sending this to his favourite (I believe he says "top of the will") nephew-in-law.

Stand up for Christmas oh itinerants of the blogosphere! Not since the heretic Oliver Cromwell has Christmas been under such an attack.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Tip of the Week #1: Dog Training

A new series! How exciting! 

This will be a highly irregular series of hints and tips to help you live your life in an orderly and correct manner:

Tip #1

Don't ask Sean Connery to train your dog to sit.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Heroic is My Middle Name (aka Conquering Man Flu)

It's official. I've got MAN FLU. 

I didn't get a wink of sleep last night with pounding head, sore throat, nausea... but fought through today (listening to some great podcasts!) - just like Mummy's little soldier should!

I think it's an early night tonight for little Gaggsy, tucked up in my jim-jams. I may even get a hottle-wottle-bottle.

Yes - and I even took Patch the dog for his morning walk, but don't let anyone think I'm craving plaudits: it is simply my duty as an heroic man battling with MAN FLU.

As I pulled my hat down and my scarf up this morning just the right side of 7am, I felt I could empathise with the men of the arctic convoys heading into Murmansk as the U Boat wolf packs prowled, or with Old Poppa Joe as he climbed the winter skies over Britain in his Spitfire hunting for German raiders, ice forming on the inside of his canopy.

I don't want a helping hand, nor too much sympathy. But perhaps when the next Bravery Awards are handed out, I might just get a look in? I have looked Man Flu in the eye - and worked through it!

William Wallace or what?

P.S. Mrs H had this last week, but that doesn't count as it was just a really bad cold for her (and she had lots of early nights and "afternoons off").

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Advent Calendars and the Downfall of the West

No Cadbury's, no!
Advent in Welsh is known as "Winter Lent" the name goes back to when these islands were Catholic (hurrah!) before the Reformation (boo), and people would fast in preparation for the Feast of Christmas.

In those days the good people of Wales (OK, and England too) would prepare themselves for Christmas, and following Christmas Day would celebrate the Twelve Days of Christmas until Epiphany - the day the Wise Men visited the Infant Christ, the first gentiles to see and worship the Son of God.

Spot the difference?

Today Christmas at its consumerist best seems to start mid November, rattles on for weeks and weeks, then by the time Christmas Day arrives, and folks eat even more chocolate than they have in the whole run-up to Christmas, a lot of people are all Christmas'd out, can't wait for Christmas to be over with, get into the shops for the sales on Boxing Day...

Where have the Twelve Days of Christmas gone? Where has the Winter Lent of Advent gone? Like all our Feast Days that used to be dotted across the calendar - they have been robbed from us, by a robber band of merchant Protestants (or morecorrectly the Mammonistas!) who saw our old traditions as a barrier to working the poor 364 days a year.

Even in my own lifetime I have seen the demise of the traditional (semi-)religious Advent calendar with its little pictures, culminating on the 24th with a double-doored picture of the Nativity, so the excitement and the reminder of what Christmas was all about was brought home to the wee bairns on Christmas Eve.

Advent calendars originated in Germany
Now, as I potter around and rarely walk about shops (having an aversion to spending money, I am my father's son) all I tend to see are chocolate-filled calendars, most with very little to do with the Christian Feast Day of Christmas at all. They may have a Coca-Cola style Santa, a snowman, little elves, or even a pop band, singer or wotnot on the front.


So I am pleading with all my army of readers (yes, both of you) to not cave-in the chocolate Cadbury (owned by Kraft Foods anyway) calendars! We'll all eat enough chocolate and other goodies over Christmas anyway -- so whether buying for the grandchildren, children or the kids next door: choose an old fashioned Advent calendar, with a bit of Bethlehem about it!

In our own small way we can get Christmas back to being Christmas, and the period beforehand all about the anticipation of the coming of the Christ Child, as Leonardo Da Vinci might say the Salvator Mundi (Saviour of the World).

As the greatest Englishman of the 20th Century put it:

"There is no more dangerous or disgusting habit than that of celebrating Christmas before it comes."
- G.K. Chesterton

GKC will be chuffed to know that's what I think too.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Families Pay for True Beauty in USA and France: What About Wales?

The Bush Family's Paving Stone, in Florida.
I have to admit that when George W Bush came to power I hoped for great things. The word was out that America was going to have a Pro-Life President. After years of Clinton (and all his shenanigans viz Ms Lewinski etc. which we'd best blow over) it all seemed too good to be true.

Without getting too political: it was. But hey, on our recent sojourn Stateside we came across this - which we took a picture of. It's a sponsored paving stone at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Universe.

If this did come from G.W. Bush & Co. I'm not sure if a paving stone makes up for a war that ruined a lot of lives, American, British and Iraqi. As his brother was Governor of Florida maybe it was his and not George W's.

But what a great idea to pay for a shrine! Seeing all the many hundreds of names of individuals and families there, made you realise how much Faith still means to people. Great to see all the Polish, Italian, Hispanic, German, Irish and other sounding names too (reminds you of American history).

The Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Paris
Wouldn't it be marvelous to have something like that here too? I do have my name on a slab at the home of Welsh rugby, Cardiff's Millennium Stadium, but how great would it be to have the opportunity to have something similar?... If only the Catholic Church here had the cajones to build something big, brassy, traditional, inspiring and breathtaking - especially in honour of the Mother of God. Now we've got over (please say we've got over!) all the 1960s liberal claptrap, happy clappy roller-disco churches with modern art windows with tabernacles hidden off in the cloakroom, let's build a great shrine!

Anyone seen Montmartre? The Basilica of the Sacred Heart there is breathtaking. I mean really breathtaking! Money for its construction came from parishes from across France. I was there back in the early 90s (heard a Latin Mass there - quite a memory!) and I recall someone telling me that it was known as the church raised by the pennies of the faithful, who gave what they could afford.

I was reading recently how the National Shrine of Wales in Cardigan (Our Lady of the Taper) is not very conducive to raising one's soul to heaven. So there's an idea. A new National Shrine. I'm sure the Archbishop of Cardiff reads this blog, when he's not catching up on the latest news from the Bluebirds, so there's your next move Your Grace. And put me down for a paving stone.

Or maybe we can get an even bigger Basilica in Wales, even one dedicated to the Sacred Heart atop Penylan Hill, perhaps then we'll beat France more often in the rugby ;-) We could ask Shane Williams to pay up for the first paving stone.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Going mobile

Hi everyone. Just experimenting with mobile blogging. Or as my children would have it - entering the 21st century. Even our local priest, who is YOUNGER than I (wow, I feel old) said I should get a better phone. For the last 15 years or so my phones have cost £10 - £15 maximum. So never let it be said I'm not cutting edge. Just be prepared for lots of mistakes in Some posts... Tally ho!

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Who's that Happy Chappy over the Park?

Oh look - just like me over the park @ 8.30am
Most mornings, work permitting, I walk our youngest to school, giving Patch the dog an opportunity to stretch his legs too.

On the way back, if I am in a good mood (relatives will testify this is a rare occurrence, some say Haley's Comet has a bearing on it) I take Patch over the park ('tis but a slight detour) and run back through the park to the gates on the main road.

I was doing this a few weeks back, not long after we had got Patch from the rescue kennel, and as I emerged from the park through the gates (which are set in chest-high stone walls) a mum of another school pupil was just walking up to the gates.

As I walked out with Patch she said: "oh - you've got a dog, I saw you in the park, but didn't realise you had a dog."

As I walked home I realised she must have looked over the wall and seen G. Hurley esquire running across the grass, as if full of the joie de vivre at 8.30 in the morning.

Just goes to show how easy it is to fool somebody. Now I must get back to shaking my fist at the evening news, moaning at the price of everything, and generally being a sour puss. Patch may not approve, but I can't have people thinking that I daily skip through the daisies can I?

Friday, 11 November 2011

My Pumpkins are Tiny - but so are Terry's

OK. So our pumpkins didn't amount to much this year. Here are two of them ripening on a window sill.

It was our first attempt growing them, in a raised bed too, and there was plenty of foliage and beautiful yellow flowers (now on the compost).

I was dishevelled and downcast - until I heard "Terry from the Rhondda" on the radio, speaking from his allotment on his usual slot. He said that this year had been appalling for pumpkin growers and the crop was very small.

So if Terry from the Rhondda had a bad year with his pumpkins, I don't think I need to worry.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Is Irish Comedian Ed Byrne the Snow Queen?

I got this clipping out of the South Wales Evening Post, one day last week.

I always thought Ed Byrne was a bit "frosty" and his stint as the Snow Queen explains why!

Or are we dealing with identical twins separated at birth here?

The world needs to know! What is the truth? I will tweet Dara O'Briain and demand the truth! Unless he too has a secret double life (widow twanky). I did shout out and ask the comedian Greg Davies (at his show in Swansea) if Dara was the world's worst transvestite, which seemed to make him smile. I think he said that was the sickest thing he'd heard! ;-)

Oh what tangled lives these comedians lead - all to gain more filthy lucre and lord it over us and be able to buy such frivolous items as gold taps, Freshsco's finest gravy granules and two (or even three!) Sunday papers, every week!

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

All Souls Day: Pray For Your Relatives and Friends

Candles to remember the dead
It's All Souls Day! Yesterday was All Saints when we remember all the Saints, including the many we don't know by name - including those in our own families/bloodlines.

Imagine! A distant (or close!) relative in Heaven to intercede wth God on our behalf as part of the Church Triumphant.

Today is All Souls, when we remember the Church Suffering, those souls in purgatory, who we have a duty to pray for and who, in turn, will remember us when they get to Heaven.

Sadly in the modern world too few people pray for the dead. Some think it morbid. Some think it medieval. Some think everyone who dies goes straight to Heaven (a kind of instant canonisation). The sad truth is that very few of us are living Saints, and so many of us will see Purgatory.

It is our duty to pray for those who have gone before us. The Church has always taught this right from its earliest days. Prayers for the dead even featured in the Old Testament.

That's what "RIP" means. Rest in Peace - i.e. pray for him, that he may be loosed from Purgatory and find peace in Heaven.

Let's hope that if we get to Purgatory there are still those in our families that will pray on our behalf!

So offer up a prayer for your friends and relatives - today and every day - that we may help them, and they in turn will one day help us!