Saturday, 31 December 2011

An Ode to Robert Parsons OBE

Uncle Rob

There was on old(ish) man from Cyncoed
Who was kind to all he employed
With a fatherly smile
He'd walk the extra mile
Whilst remaining incredibly coy

At Christmas he'd put on a big do
The whole family gathered there too
He'd go after a BAFTA
Have us crying with laughter
As he dressed up in drag - woo hoo.

His New Year honour "winnings"
Came from most humble beginnings
On Cardiff's mean streets
Shoes with holes on his feet
He dreamt of nights on fine linen.

Twas back in the year '88
He decided it must be his fate
To help families in need
He must now succeed
(Tomorrow was always too late).

And so now he has his earthly reward
(It was passed and cleared by the board)
He's been helping so long
He deserves this fine gong
What next? Will they make him a Lord?

Uncle Rob Gets an Oboe? Knighthood for Old Pa Hurley?

It was a busy day today. After trying for the umpteenth time to unlock a phone from O2, who have been as helpful as a boil on the posterior, I decided to clear out the shed, which hadn't been done for months (after what seems like an eternity of work leading up to Christmas left me feeling like a piece of Alex Ferguson's match-time chewing gum). So with cardboard boxes flying hither and thither (and back to hither) pots of paint, bikes, scooters and all manner of chattels being cast to the Easterly biting wind, I didn't hear the dingaling as a text message was received deep in the deepest pocket (and I have deep pockets as my children will attest).

So when I read that my uncle Rob had got an oboe, I thought that was 'nice' but, with all due respect, it's a late(ish) age to be doing such things. After all, we're waiting for the results of our littlest one's level two violin exam. But you do hear of these "silver surfers" who start a new venture, such as learning Russian, taking up the drums, or bungee jumping.*

So it came as something of a relief (no offence to oboists one and all) to find out that uncle Rob hadn't taken up the oboe but had rather been given the O.B.E. in the Queen's New Years Honours List, for his services to charity.

So with one gong safely in the bag for the family, it's high time we started lobbying SA Brains Ltd for some worthy reward for Old Pa Hurley, after all over all the many years "Hollow Legs Hurley" has been quaffing ales at the Park Cons, he must have kept many hundreds of SA Brains employees in, erm, employ; not to mention keeping their extended families in the opulence they are accustomed to.

As one of the four 'sins that cry to heaven for vengeance' is to defraud a working man of a just wage, by handing over a bright shiny penny for every quart of ale and thus ensuring, indirectly, that the workers of SA Brains are given their full wage due, might we not suggest to the powers that be that Old Pa Hurley has carried out great works of charity, on an ongoing basis, for the material benefit of a good number of workingmen? Not to mention the many and great developments in the brewing process that must have occurred during his ever-so lengthy life, which I would humbly suggest have been spurred on in the full knowledge that their fruits would be tasted by the old venerable man of Roath.

So three cheers for 'Uncle Rob' Parsons** for his OBE (and a polite applause if he has taken up the oboe too) but let us begin campaigning here and now for the due recognition of Old Pa Hurley.

Arise Sir Old Pa Hurley! Knighted for his services to employment, research and development, charity and dog-walking.


*Old Ma Hurley may be taking notes...

**Robert Parsons was also the name of one of the first Jesuits to return to Elizabethan England on a Papal mission to bring the Sacraments to a suffering people, accompanying St Edmund Campion in 1580 who would be captured and horrifically martyred. Parsons went on to found seminaries across Spain and the first post-Reformation English Boys' Catholic School (in France). For a great book, which reads like a boys' own adventure, on the Jesuit missions read God's Secret Agents by Alice Hogge (I bought it cheaper on Amazon - Old Pa "10p doughnuts" Hurley would approve).

Monday, 26 December 2011

St Stephen's Day: Family China and the Tale of St Margaret Clitherow

Yes it's St Stephen's Day (when St Wenceslas "looked out" on his favourite pizza - deep pan, crisp and even) aka Boxing Day. So it's been cold cuts, left-over Christmas dinner, and bits n bobs.

Another opportunity to get out our favourite Christmas china - our 12 Days of Christmas set of plates, each with the presents given on each of the 12 days of Christmas (from Christmas Day to Epiphany).

Calm down Old Pa Hurley, they did not cost a king's ransom - these were bought for £3 at a car boot, albeit in foreign parts (England).

Now you may not know this, but the poem/song 'The 12 Days of Christmas' is Catholic in origin. It came about after Elizabeth I reneged on her Coronation oath to uphold the Catholic faith and walked out of the Coronation Mass as the Blessed Sacrament was elevated by the priest.

She made England, Wales and Ireland protestant by forcing through a law whilst some of the Bishops were waylaid by her hirelings, so not only did she break her oath, but she forced through a law by guile that would never have gotten through otherwise.

After this it became illegal to celebrate Mass, attend a Mass or to house a priest. People had to to go to her protestant services or face fines and property confiscations. "Good Queen Bess" my backside!

And so, from circa 1558 to circa 1829, Catholics were forced underground, those who had the courage, stamina and fortitude to continue with the Faith of their Fathers.

If you want to know how cruelly and horrifyingly normal Catholics were treated, look up the treatment of St Margaret Clitherow, whose only crime was in having Masses celebrated in her home. She was crushed to death, whilst probably pregnant, at the age of 33.

The 12 Days of Christmas came about as a means of teaching each other, and especially the young, all about their Catholic faith, but in a hidden way - in the days when priests had to hide and the faithful lived in fear of their livelihood, property and lives.

As says:

“The Twelve Days of Christmas” celebrates the official Christmas season which starts liturgically on Christmas Day and ends twelve days later on the Feast of the Epiphany. “My true love” refers to God, “me” is the individual Catholic. The “twelve lords a leaping” are the twelve basic beliefs of the Catholic Church as outlined in the Apostles Creed. The “eleven pipers piping” are the eleven Apostles who remained faithful after the treachery of Judas. The “ten ladies dancing” are the Ten Commandments. The “nine drummers drumming” are the nine choirs of angels which in those days of class distinction were thought important. The “eight maids a milking” are the Eight Beatitudes. The “seven swans a swimming” are the Seven Sacraments. The “six geese a laying” are the Six Commandments of the Church or the six days of creation. The “five golden rings” are the first five books of the Old Testament called the Torah which are generally considered the most sacred and important of all the Old Testament. The “four calling birds” are the Four Gospels. The “three French hens” are the Three Persons in God or the three gifts of the Wise Men. The “two turtle doves” represent the two natures in Jesus: human and divine or the two Testaments, Old and New. The “partridge” is the piece de resistance, Jesus himself, and the “pear tree” is the Cross.

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Merry Christmas from The Hurley Family

A very Merry Hurley Christmas to you all!

This was the teapot my dear wife received from Santa. All very exciting.

Merry Hurley Christmas 2011. You bet!

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Countdown to Christmas at Hurley Towers

Oh joy... that mad period before Christmas when work is so overwhelming is coming to an end.

Now we can start to get ready for Christmas festivities. Hoorah!

Get the logs in for the fire. Get to Confession in time for Christmas day. And stock up on the pork pies and itchy-gum cheese. Drop off the last few Christmas cards to friends and neighbours.

I may even have a sneaky foaming ale or two (otherwise Old Pa Hurley may think I've gone  a bit 'ginger').

Only a few little doors left on our Advent calendar. It's all very exciting.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Bad Korea Move for Hoo Flung Dung?

So Kim Jong Ill has died. You'd have thunk his name was a giveaway.

Now the weirdo North Koreans have appointed Kim Jong Young. They've got a better chance with him, judging by his name.

Apparently Kim Jong Young's older brother Kim Jong Nutter was by-passed because it was just too much of a giveaway. And the less said about Kim Jong Streaker the better!

It all reminds me of a rather rude poem my elder brother taught me when he was a rather rude teenager, which included the character Hoo Flung Dung.

Oh the carefree casual anti-Oriental racism of one's youth! Where have the good times gone?

HVP Huzzey: Big Hitter for Wales

HVP Huzzey 2nd left middle row, Welsh rugby team.
I have written much about my famous great-grandfather Henry Vivian Pugh Huzzey (aka HVP or Vivian).

There's a cracking article in today's South Wales Echo (page 33 I'm reliably informed) outlining this little known sporting great.

With his tally of tries for Cardiff and Wales, there can be little doubt that HVP Huzzey would have been one of Welsh rugby's most famous names had he played in Welsh rugby today.

How fantastic that as of today, more people know of my great-grandfather, his sporting prowess, and his achievements for both Cardiff and Wales, rugby and baseball.

HVP Huzzey in today's South Wales Echo

When is a Bubble a Booblé and a Soufflé a Sufle?

Mrs Bucket - or Old Ma Hurlé?
If crooner Michael Buble is pronounced as Booblé, does that mean:
  1. I can try and bake a sufle for Christmas dinner dessert?
  2. I have been hanging baublés on the Christmas tree?
  3. We will have a glass of booble on Christmas morning?
Or is Michael Buble just pulling a Hyacinth Bucket from the comedy Keeping Up Appearances who insisted on being called Mrs Bouquet?

Whatever next?

Gareth Hoorlé reporting.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

One in the Eye of Richard Dawkins and his ilk

Today at Mass one of the readings was of the Annunciation, that moment which gives us the first part of the Hail Mary (Hail full of Grace, the Lord is with thee).

Of course Mary's submission to the Will of God, meant that the Incarnation of Christ could happen. The whole of creation was dependent on the submission of Mary, the second Eve.

What a beautiful moment - perhaps the most important moment in the history of the world, for it enabled Christ the Saviour to be born - the event we are all about to celebrate.

Back in the Summer I picked up an old Missal at a car boot in Swansea for £1 or so (you can imagine I skipped home). It contains some beautiful colour illustrations, including this one, which shows The Annunciation.

It's easy at Christmas time to get lost in the consumerism and some of the schmaltz, so let's remember this Christmas that we are indeed celebrating the Incarnation, made possible by Mary the Mother of God.

And if any atheists try to tell you otherwise you have my permission to tweak their nose, kick them up the Khyber and tell them we will not live in a new Soviet regime!

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Congratulations to the Dingles

Good and bad news today.
Me dancing - badly

Good news is, little Alexander Joseph Dingle was born this afternoon to Paul and Janine.

They dismissed the idea of calling him Dan Glyn Dingle. Hmmm.

Bad news is that I'm now a Great Uncle! Well, I kind of suspected I was a great Uncle, but after turning 40 I am tempted to say this is another foot in the grave, but then I'd have two feet in the grave - and that is just creepy.

Still, commiserations where they are due, because if I'm feeling old, how are Old Ma and Old Pa Hurley feeling? Great Grandma and Great Grandpa! Zoiks!

And so the tail end of 2011 sees another member of the extended Hurley family peek his way into this world. I wonder what he'll be writing about circa 40 years from now? Blimey! If the good Lord sees fit to keep me on this earth that long I'll be a proper greybeard by then.

And so the generations roll on...

Friday, 2 December 2011

Are Old Pa Hurley and GK Chesterton Distant Cousins?

I always wondered was I was drawn to the great English Catholic writer GK Chesterton.

Was it his innate humour? His dry wit? His piercing observations? His loathing of pomposity? His love of the poor and the underdog? His defence of Catholic tradition? His absolutism against relativism? His love of country but loathing of jingoism? His love of politics but scepticism of politicians? His embrace of history but his emphasis on creating a better tomorrow?

Apparently not!

GKC? or Old Pa Hurley?
This you tube video of a GK Chesterton talk, pricking the bubble of Protestantism's central tenet of 'sola scriptura' (scripture alone) in his wonderful style has an artist's computerised impression of a (admittedly slimmer than usual) GKC.

Take a look at the image (reproduced at right) of GKC. Remind you of anyone?

Someone who totters down Albany Road of a Saturday night after righting the wrongs of the world in the bar? Someone who likes to get a 10p clearance bag of doughnuts to nibble as he meanders his way homeward, just as (GKC's chum) Hilaire Belloc wrote of the winding lanes of Sussex in his celebration of life, England, social history and so on, in his famous book The Four Men?

The GKC cartoon character even wears the kind of suit adorned by Old Pa Hurley that led to him getting free beer in one Cardiff hostelry when they assumed he was a plain-clothes policeman!

Little short of a Damascene Conversion (if one can mention such non-ecumenical things in the modern world without straying into hate crimes), I am now given to thinking (I know, it's worrying) that I must have first picked up a GKC tome because of some familial tie, some inner yearning to learn from the wisdom of my old dad.

I thank God (ditto re. ecumenism) that I don't believe in the many-armed elephantine deities and turbanated wotnots of the Hindoos, for with GKC passing away in 1936 and Old Pa Hurley being brought into this unsuspecting world in 1937, one might wonder at the possibility of reincarnation.

Now if I find out that GKC had a fondness for supping Brains SA*, then I think I'll have to phone up some clever genealogist in the morning.


* I am still awaiting my letter confirming sponsorship by Brains Brewery. One of their vans travels down our street with worrying regularity as if to coax more pennies from my padlocked coin purse (all very medieval).

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Are You Opening Those Advent Calendars?

I hope you all opened the first door in your NATIVITY Advent Calendars today.

And not a Coca-Mc-Cadbury 'Happy Holidays' Snowman choc-fest one either.

Advent has begun. Let us prepare for CHRISTMAS.

Here's a wonderful icon, reminding us that Mary is the Mother of God, and the sacred nature of life in the womb.