When did you last lie flat on your back gazing at the sky? Coming from the north, and a landscape that rapidly changes, I’ve always loved the fact of clouds and their uniqueness. Now you see them, now you don’t. Only the sea is as changeable.
As ready as the next person to castigate supermarkets that sell hot-cross buns on Boxing Day, I nonetheless make no excuse for talking of Easter in the middle of Lent.
For little ones, “The Story of St Francis of Assisi” is an excellent buy at a time when the National Association of Headteachers is urging parents to help their children to read before they begin school. This delightful book costs less than two packets of cigarettes . . .
It was ill-health that propelled Brother Adam into the world of bees – more outdoor exercise was prescribed – and he never looked back.
High-profile crusaders like Victoria Gillick tend to be seen in black or white – one loves or loathes them. Most parents are, I suspect, in broad agreement with her principles; it’s the way she puts them over that get people’s backs up. It is the sounding brass and tinkling cymbal approach as distinct from the cunning serpent and harmless dove tactic.
Stripped of the romantic embroideries beloved of simple Christians, St Frideswide’s fairy tale of imperilled virtue, escape and hiding emerges more or less intact.
Only one’s own jealousy is interesting. Other peoples’ is not – at least not 336 pages of it. Sin is boring if it is totally isolated from virtue – think of the bald, unmitigated lust that constitutes that most boring of literatures, pornography.
Mother Teresa’s message is simple, as direct as a laser-beam, and is contained within the first two commandments. And we don’t have to up-sticks and go to Calcutta because the lonely, neglected and the poor are with us always, even within the confines of our own families.
Simone Weil died regretting that people were more attracted to her person than to her thoughts. She was convinced that her ideas contained nuggets of pure gold and she wanted people to ask the question: “Is what she says true?”
Short stories may be called the Cinderellas of literature in that they are the least rewarded and least regarded and yet, apart from Poetry, I believe them to be the most difficult literary form to execute perfectly.