The certainties of the nineteenth century were shattered by the events of 1914-18. The idea of ever-evolving human progress that had been the dominant world-view of Christian European civilisation had been put to the sword. These events earned the appellation the Great War – not because there was anything ‘great’ in the war itself, but that in the context of the history of warfare within Western civilisation, this had been a war like no other. It remains, in history, the unique cultural cataclysm that irrevocably fractured our civilisation. Subsequent wars of various magnitudes have served as bloody punctuation marks to the numerous crises, internal and external, that have further challenged our culture.
Hearkening to the traditional Book of Common Prayer, it is therefore: “very meet, right, and our bounden duty, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks unto thee, O Lord, Almighty, Everlasting God” for all those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of our civilisation and to mark with reverence the cessation of the Great War on the 11th hour of the 11th Day of November.
The day is marked by remembrance services – national and communal – throughout the western world. Each is a reflection of deep community sadness and each projects hope for a better world.
To this end, in these grim days of pandemic, I was this week much heartened by a photograph from my old and very dear school friend living in the rural heart of Covid-19 imprisoned England.
He lives in the tiny parish hamlet of Rotherby in the Wreake Valley, some ten miles north-west of Leicester, England. Although not quite its geographic centre, the county of Leicestershire is part of England’s ‘heartland’. Over the centuries English history has rumbled and unfurled over its bounteous countryside. It is characterised by its Anglo Saxon stock and for having provided regular yeomanry support for dukes, kings and country – sound and solid Englishmen.
How appropriate then, in the midst of the Covid lockdown, undeterred and proud, the parishioners of Rotherby determined their own, distinctive act of reverence for Remembrance Day: they transformed their venerable parish church, All Saints, into a veritable ‘light to shine upon the darkness’ during the grim lockdown.
The result is truly evocative. The parish council have done the occasion proud, a reflection of the England its martyrs died for – an Eternal Memory. My friend advises me that it was the idea of the Church Warden and that Rotherby became the talk of the Vale of Belvoir. Unsurprisingly, the parish has received many compliments.
In accordance with Virus restrictions the parishioners enjoyed a Zoom service.
I confess to a personal connection to All Saints. Over a bitterly cold January weekend in 2002 my wife and I stayed with my friend and his wife at their exquisite ‘Pump Cottage’. Our bedroom on the top floor looked directly over the churchyard and across to the church. The evening was gently punctuated by the bells of its clock.
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On the 12th of January 2020 the world lost a thoroughly decent man.
鼠 The written symbol for this animal is derived from the ancient pictogram of
a rat, featuring the head, whiskers, feet and tail. The rat is one of the symbolical animals corresponding to the first of the Twelve Terrestrial Branches, and is an emblem of timidity and meanness.
The rat represents fertility, reproduction, wealth (since the species proliferate quickly and abundantly and always finding hoards to eat).
A person born under the year sign of the Rat might be forthright, disciplined, systematic, meticulous, charismatic, hard-working, industrious, charming, eloquent, sociable and shrewd. However, they can also be manipulative, cruel, dictatorial, rigid, selfish, obstinate, critical, over-ambitious, ruthless, intolerant, scheming and ever in search of material prosperity.
I hope you have a great year
I wish all my readers a
most Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year
Let us ensure that 2020 defines a reinvigorated Age of Common Sense.
Let it mark a unity of purpose against the proponents of stupidity.
Let it harden our resolve against those who would deny us our political liberties and traditional freedoms.
Let it refresh and strengthen our spiritual lives so that we may recognise and call-out maleficence when we see it.
For those in the Antipodes -
"Welcome to Summer"
To those in Northern Climes -
For those suffering from Climate Change Neurosis -
"Welcome to whichever you Choose"
1 December 2019
Robert James Lee Hawke
[1929 - 2019]
Trade Unionist and Australian Prime Minister
In my view and in my personal experience, the exemplification of the triumph of Narcissism. I drank deeply last afternoon to his demise.
Old Nick is welcome to him.
Your Lack of Rage is a Cowardly Outrage.
A short note to the spineless and truly accursed Western Leaders, Mainstream Media and Chatterati:
"May you all rot in Hell".
For any other Reader the following brief from
The Gatestone Institute spells it out:
Annihilation of Christian Life and People: Where is the Outrage in the West?
Meeting Catastrophe with Indifference
April 28, 2019 at 5:00 am
Islamic extremists have seen that the West has not mobilized to prevent them from repressing Christians, as if unconsciously there were a strange convergence between our silence and the ethnic cleansing project of the Islamic State, aimed at erasing Christians.
"Where is the solidarity for the Sri Lanka's Christians?" asked the British scholar Rakib Ehsan, a Muslim.
"The differences in tone and nature between the condemnations of the Christchurch and Sri Lanka terrorist attacks are striking. After Christchurch, there was no hesitation about stating the religious backgrounds of the victims and directing emotion and affection towards Muslim communities. Politicians took no issue with categorising the events in Christchurch as terrorism.
"In contrast, the words 'terrorism' and 'Christianity', along with their associated terms, have so far failed to feature in much of the reaction to the attacks in Sri Lanka.
"What is evident is not only a clear reluctance to specify the religious background of Christians who were killed in Sri Lanka, but also an absence of heartfelt solidarity with Christian communities across the world, which continue to suffer grave forms of persecution on the grounds of their faith."
Rakib Ehsan asked the right question. But it might be rewritten as: Where is the Western solidarity for the Sri Lanka's murdered Christians?
Mad-men’s passion :
For so many innocent souls
And for their late, tear-drop washed island home
Let us Pray.
[In memoriam Easter Sunday 2019]
I am both proud of and humbled by my maternal grandfather, William Haywood, who served in the Welsh Guards on the Western Front – and I am indebted to my cousin Colin Haywood in North Wales, himself a retired Welsh Fusilier, for the following details:
My grandfather was a collier from Merthyr Tydfil in the heart of the coal mining valleys of South Wales. A married man with family he enlisted on the 13th of March 1915 as 789 Private Haywood.
After completing his basic training he was posted to the 1st Battalion, Welsh Guards. The Battalion was shipped to France and was involved in the massive and unsuccessful Anglo-French assault on the German lines known as the Battle of Loos. Between March and July 1916 the Battalion was engaged in the Second Battle of Ypres from where they marched to the slaughter yard that was the Battle of the Somme.
In October 1917 the Battalion engaged in the Third Battle of Ypres – also known as the Battle of Passchendaele. Amongst the causalities was 789 Private Haywood who received a gunshot wound to the head.
He was returned to Great Britain on the 2nd of November 1917 due to his injuries.
On the 14th of December 1918 Private Haywood was discharged – 'surplus to military requirements having suffered impairment since entry into the service'.
Private Haywood received the following medals on the 29th of April 1921:
My grandfather was a part of that cohort of raw courage, faith and selflessness that characterised the horror, honour and absurdity that was the 1914-18 War. He accepted his obligation to serve his country; he did his duty and reconciled himself to the Fates with resignation and quiet honour. He asked for nothing. His service was his reward.
Now is not the time to discuss the details of the war. This is the time to honour the men and women – the infantry men; the mule handlers; the signallers; cooks; sappers and miners; medicos, nurses and stretcher bearers; mechanics and artillerymen – the unending bolt of fabric that constitutes the patchwork uniform of war.
Theirs was a generation that did everything, expected nothing and received our undying gratitude.
One of my most precious possessions is a stubby and well-used resin cigarette holder with a decorative embossed brass work casing. The motif features, in miniature but in intricate detail, a high-Gothic cathedral frontage under which, in miniscule letters, the word – Reims. This had been my Grandfather’s during the war, bought presumably as a souvenir at Reims during his visit to the city during those dark days a century ago.
It shall be in my pocket on Sunday morning when, at 1100hrs under our Cenotaph, I shall pray for his immortal soul and for those of his ethereal comrades. I shall then get quietly drunk.
Lest we Forget
This purportedly was an obituary printed in the London Times. It was in fact a circular e.mail I received. I thought it worth reproducing.
Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years.
No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:
- Knowing when to come in out of the rain;
- Why the early bird gets the worm;
- Life isn't always fair;
- And maybe it was my fault.
Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).
His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.
Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.
It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.
Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.
Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.
Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.
Common Sense was preceded in death,
-by his parents, Truth and Trust,
-by his wife, Discretion,
-by his daughter, Responsibility,
-and by his son, Reason.
He is survived by his 5 stepbrothers;
- I Know My Rights
- I Want It Now
- Someone Else Is To Blame
- I'm A Victim
- Pay me for Doing Nothing
Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone.
To My Readers
I offer you my manifold apologies
for my extreme tardiness of late. Five days into the New Year I was struck down by the first of two, unrelated, but consequential failures of health. Both required urgent hospitalisation. I am now recovering from my most recent and unwelcome visit to that
I assure you of my continuing commitment to the principles of Christendom however in the immediate term my output will be somewhat curtailed.
G-d Bless you
This wonderful port city in Java deserves better than the evil of Islam militant. I know it as a city of tolerance – a wonderful blend of history and cultures. I know it as a sprawling city sometime covered with industrial haze – a bustling centre of commerce and industry; a clogged port of tankers and traditional prahus - a city with a vibrant and ancient Chinatown; of magnificent mosques and Christian churches; elegant Dutch architecture and concrete block ugliness; of shanty towns and world class hotels; a city of bars and antique shops and a shopping experience for everyone. I know it as a centre of quintessential Malay ambience thriving in modern times. The city I know is truly Java’s window to the world.
Why bring such political violence to such nice and innocent peoples? I wish a pox together with the eternal fire of damnation on the so called Islamic State and all its demented, evil bastard followers.
Pray for Surabaya.
Al-Rawda: Where sorrow and vileness intersect
Cowardly and vile apologies for human beings, acting in the name of Allah, have yet again demonstrated a stinking underbelly of Islam.
On Friday some thirty perverted religious assassins of Islamic State planted bombs inside the peaceable mystic Sufi Muslim mosque of Al-Rawda in North Sinai. They surrounded the building with machine gun-mounted jeeps, detonated the bomb and gunned down the survivors. Their wanton act of mass murder killed 305 innocents whose only fault was to attend Friday prayers.
Let there be no mistake - 305 innocent Mohammedans killed in the name of Islam! Some 305 souls who belonged to a mystical, peaceable branch of Islam:
Sufism is a way of life in which a deeper identity is discovered and lived. This deeper identity, beyond the already known personality, is in harmony with all that exists. This deeper identity, or essential self, has abilities of awareness, action, creativity and love that are far beyond the abilities of the superficial personality. [See:https://sufism.org/sufism]
Their mosque of Al-Rawda is located some 40km west of el-Arish, the provincial capital of North Sinai.
It so happens that there also exists in north Queensland a small soldier settlement named el-Arish after the Australian experience in Sinai during the First War. I shall never drive through it again without thinking of the horror inflicted upon decent religious people by the unspeakable barbarians of evil.
Surely now is the time for all Mohammedans, their leaders, and their Western apologists, to strike out, without evasion, equivocation or mental reservation, those barbarous tenets of their religion that quite clearly encourages and justifies such wonton evil.
I challenge them to do so!
Al-Rawda North Sinai Friday 24 November 2017
Barcelona 18 August 2017
08.11 | 06:21
The Australian community is in for a world of long overdue pain. It is wholly its own fault for which I have nil sympathy.
08.11 | 06:15
Thanks indeed for the comment. I do agree that we badly need to 'clean out the swamp'. Trump certainly stirred those fetid waters.
08.11 | 05:22
I agree with the general thrust of your comments but the Australian community believes the governments can deliver without pain and there will be a lot of pain up ahead.
07.11 | 11:17
Nice job on the essay John, but regardless of his positions, Dutton is too much a cretin of the past, he also looks like the walking dead. We don't need more career politicians, we need a Trump.