End of the Season

barfleurIt is always a sad time of year, wintering boats. I spent a pleasant weekend at Barfleur and had a couple of short outings in Sarum in a gentle east wind blowing to a lee shore. It was truly weather of the end of the Indian summer, not very warm but sunny.

I celebrated Mass from my Tuck Box Chapel for the twenty-third Sunday after Trinity and the Vigil and Feast of All Saints. Apart from that, my wife and I had a few pleasant walks with the dogs along the beaches and towards the lighthouse of Gatteville. The change of hour came on Saturday night and it was sad to see the sun set before 6 pm.

The boat is now at home in the yard, and I’ll be washing the sails this afternoon and flushing out the cooling circuit of the outboard engine. That is done by running the engine with the “business end” in a big plastic bin full of fresh water. Then the engine will go into the garden shed. The boat needs clearing out, and sometime this winter, I would like to turn the hull over and work on the gelcoat and a coat of paint. I don’t mind a boat looking a bit messy and businesslike, but the essential is to make sure there will never be any leaks!

November is always a turning point of the year. The leaves on the trees are of a singular beauty this year, especially our Virginia creeper on the wall of the house and a Canadian maple I planted three years ago. Indigenous trees are less spectacular here in Europe than in America. In a couple of weeks, we will probably get some heavy wind from the Atlantic and the leaves will be gone.

The American situation continues to be worrying. As always, what is reported in alternative news sites goes mainstream shortly afterwards. I don’t like the look of Trump (looking as he does like a cross between Goldfinger and Mussolini with a funny hairstyle), and he seems to have very little idea about political or social philosophy, but I do think that his winning the election would save the world from nuclear war – for the simple reason that he would talk with Putin instead of blaming all the world’s ills on him. It would change everything everywhere, since Europe and the EU is presently in the pockets of the American oligarchy. The nasty stuff will hit the fan once the US has to start finding real money to pay its debts for war after war and everything else.

Something is building with the American presidential election, its parallel in France next year and the sheer weight of illegal immigrants in Europe. As I already mentioned, I see the parallel with the collapse of the Soviet Union in the late months of 1989, exactly two hundred years after the storming of the Bastille and the Declaration of Human Rights. We hope for change in this world, knowing that the world for which we yearn only lies beyond the Veil.

Still, Clinton might win and it will be business as usual like with the present regime in France and the Roman Catholic Church. Sabres will continue to rattled and Russia will be increasingly provoked as the old regime change mantra continues to be regurgitated like an old printing machine. I say no more, sick to the gills as I feel. You can find as much as I know on the alternative and mainstream news blogs and sites – and decide for yourself who you believe. Perhaps the election will be called off by Obama if Clinton isn’t certain to win! We’ll see.

Life has to go on, for Americans, Europeans and people from everywhere else. We take the plunge towards the winter solstice, the cold, the damp, whistling winds and the gloom. Advent is just barely three weeks away and I spend as much time out of supermarkets as possible – where it is all flash, glitter and consumption. I begin to have an idea what my mother-in-law is planning for Christmas – a few days all together in a gîte. There are always family-in-law conflicts at this occasion, and I will take the precaution of having my computer and some books to spend time behind a closed door as tempers fray. It isn’t my family. Christmas for me will be Mass, Office and time alone away from the hubbub of Christmas good-will.

November is also a challenge on account of SAD and being deprived of sunlight and having a dose of the Blues. Some people set up special lights in their homes or take prescription drugs. It is important to get outside as much as possible when the weather fairs up. Having dogs gives the perfect excuse to put on those boots and get out of the house. I’ll do the best I can. Come the feast of St Cecelia and St Andrew, we are pretty well at the bottom of the barrel. The worst is January and February, but I have been known to take my boat out on the Seine in the winter! It is also the season of colds and flu, sore throats and inability to sing – so it goes on.

I have a trip to England in January to look forward to – a church meeting in Westminster and a night in the van in Abbey Orchard Street to the yelling of drunks in the street and the harsh sodium lights. It will be a time for an all-too-brief evening with an old friend, and then Sunday morning in Canterbury before returning to Dover and France. It is much less difficult to travel in the winter – and cheaper. Then there is Lent and the spring to look forward to, hoping that 2017 will bring more happiness and hope than 1917!

I try not to be too influenced by prophecies, because they almost all fail and leave us with business as usual. I’m not interested in the end of the world. If that happens, we die and will find ourselves in another world also created by God. I would like to see hope for those now born and have their entire lives ahead of them. I yearn for change and something new to bring that hope, like in 2005 when Benedict XVI was elected or 1740 when the earlier Pope Benedict (XIV) brought science, culture and reason to the Church – who was also a brief flash of light. Wouldn’t we yearn for a Philosopher King as Plato mused so long ago?

Sorry for the rambling. Time to get some chores done…

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8 Responses to End of the Season

  1. Dale says:

    Fr Anthony, I agree with this post, and I am also very, very worried about Mx (this is the new form of gender-free honorific for both men and women in the United States [it is hard to keep up with ever-changing Americanese]) Clinton’s dredging up phantoms of the Cold War with Russia to deflect her rather dishonest actions and those of the DNC. Why must the left always have an enemy to hate? If one does not exist, it is necessary to invent one, regardless of the international dangers and repercussions. She is not mentioning China simply because the Americans owe them so much money. Thrump is now being attacked for simply being willing to speak with Putin.

    Also, your mentioning of the issue of war debts is a very pertinent. The debt in the United States simply is not sustainable and yet, to curry favour with many groups, the American left is promising the world to everyone who will vote for them, without a clue as to how any of this is going to be paid. And when the promises do not materialise, they will simply blame the opposition and not the economic realities.

  2. David Marriott says:

    ‘Life has to go on’: I like these words, Father, they remind me of the elderly Arab farmer asking the Iraqi troops outside Mosul to please watch out for his flock of sheep on the hill, as they can’t send a shepherd out after them…because – life must go gon. And even more, it reminds me of the video clip of the Syriac priest returning to see his home and church so badly damaged: the next clip showed him celebrating the first Mass since terror was evicted: after all – life must go on.
    Not too far from where you live is the Memorial on Vimy Ridge: constructed by Canada in memory of all those who gave their lives one hundred years ago next year….so that life must go on….

  3. Thanks for this brilliant reverie!

    The idea of your spending a cold, restless night in a van in Abbey Orchard Street haunts me, Father! I know the place well. Desolate, abandoned almost, yet somehow at the centre of the universe, what with Parliament nearby, and placed as it is between two great basilicas, Westminster Cathedral and… the other one, whose name escapes me but they have royal weddings there. Keep warm, sir!

    • I’ll do my best. I can sleep full length with the passenger seat pushed forward a little. I have a Renault Kangoo van, so it just looks like a parked van to the police or anyone else who might care about a person not spending the full whack for a hotel room. I’m quite well set up with my “galley”, installed shelves, a reasonable cosy bed and my computer to watch films. With the curtain drawn, no one can see if I am committing “vagrancy”. If I get there in the night of the Friday, I almost always get the same free parking slot and no London congestion tax to pay as it’s the weekend. It works out well and I just trot off to Westminster Central Hall on the Saturday morning for my Council of Advice meeting. I even get time to mooch around Westminster Cathedral Bookshop in case they have what I need but what my Bishop doesn’t sell in his shop near Canterbury. In the afternoon after the meeting, I usually have friends to see, spend the night somewhere in stimulating company – and return to Dover on Sunday afternoon after Mass with my Bishop in Canterbury. Not a bad routine, really…

      • William Tighe says:

        I am resolved to vote for Trump for many of the same reasons that you mentioned. Voting for him is the political equivalent of what, in American football, is called a “Hail Mary Pass.”

        You may fine this of interest:


      • William Tighe says:

        Another reason to vote for Trump:

        October 30, 2016
        by Fr. George W. Rutler

        Exactly eight years ago I wrote a column titled “The One We Were Waiting For” in which I referred to a book by Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, The Lord of the World. That dystopian novel has been cited by Pope Benedict XVI, and Pope Francis said he has read it several times. The protagonist, if one can apply that term to an Anti-Christ, imposed a new world religion with Man himself as god. His one foe was Christianity, which he thwarted in part by using “compromised Catholics and compliant priests to persuade timid Catholics.”

        Since then, that program has been realized in our time, to an extent beyond the warnings of the most dire pessimists. Our federal government has intimidated religious orders and churches, challenging religious freedom. The institution of the family has been re-defined, and sexual identity has been Gnosticized to the point of mocking biology. Assisted suicide is spreading, abortions since 1973 have reached a total equal to the population of Italy, and sexually transmitted diseases are at a record high. Objective journalism has died, justice has been corrupted, racial bitterness ruins cities, entertainment is degraded, knowledge of the liberal arts spirals downwards, and authentically Catholic universities have all but vanished. A weak and confused foreign policy has encouraged aggressor nations and terrorism, while metastasized immigration is destroying remnant western cultures, and genocide is slaughtering Christian populations. The cynical promise of economic prosperity is mocked by the lowest rate of labor participation in forty years, an unprecedented number of people on food stamps and welfare assistance, and the largest disparity in wealth in over a century.

        In his own grim days, Saint Augustine warned against nostalgia: “The past times that you think were good, are good because they are not yours here and now.” The present time, however, might try even his confidence. Sands blow over the ruins of churches he knew in North Africa where the Cross is virtually forbidden. By a blessed irony, a new church is opened every day in formerly Communist Russia, while churches in our own formerly Christian nation are being closed daily. For those who bought into the seductions of politicians’ false hopes, there is the counsel of Walt Kelly’s character Pogo: “It’s always darkest before it goes pitch black.”

        It is incorrect to say that the coming election poses a choice between two evils. For ethical and aesthetic reasons, there may be some bad in certain candidates, but badness consists in doing bad things. Evil is different: it is the deliberate destruction of truth, virtue and holiness.

        While one may pragmatically vote for a flawed candidate, one may not vote for anyone who advocates and enables unmitigatedly evil acts, and that includes abortion. “In the case of an intrinsically unjust law, such as a law permitting abortion or euthanasia, it is therefore never licit to obey it, or to ‘take part in a propaganda campaign in favor of such a law, or vote for it’” (Evangelium Vitae, 73).

        At one party’s convention, the name of God was excluded from its platform and a woman who boasted of having aborted her child was applauded. It is a grave sin, requiring sacramental confession and penance, to become an accomplice in objective evil by voting for anyone who encourages it, for that imperils the nation and destroys the soul.

        It is also the duty of the clergy to make this clear and not to shrink, under the pretense of charity, from explaining the Church’s censures. Wolves in sheep’s clothing are dangerous, but worse are wolves in shepherd’s clothing. While the evils foreseen eight years ago were realized, worse would come if those affronts to human dignity were endorsed again. In the most adverse prospect, God forbid, there might not be another free election, and soon Catholics would arrive at shuttered churches and vacant altars. The illusion of indifference cannot long be perpetuated by lame jokes and synthetic laughter at banquets, for there is handwriting on the wall.

  4. ed pacht says:

    Much of this comment applies well indeed to Mr. Trump with the added dimension of using an appearance of Christianity to support thoroughly unchristian attitudes, thus taking God’s Name in vain. I see evidence of Antichrist in both sides. After the election, whichever wins, the Gospel of Christ will be further eroded and distorted. There is evil on both sides, and, frankly, I (along with many other Christians) am convinced that Mr. Trump is even worse.

    • Dale says:

      On Opus Publicum one participant wrote one of the most honest appraisals that I have read concerning this issue: “It’s that old dilemma of being confronted with one candidate who doesn’t care about the Church and one candidate who positively hates her.”

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