Pilgrimpace's Blog

22 reasons for the bedroom tax
October 15, 2013, 7:25 am
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Carol Ann Duffy, the Poet Laureate, has written this poem about the sad state of Britain which appeared in The Guardian at the weekend:

22 Reasons for the Bedroom Tax

Because the Badgers are moving the goalposts.
The Ferrets are bending the rules.
The Weasels are taking the hindmost.
The Otters are downing tools.

The Hedgehogs are changing the game-plan
The Grass-snakes are spitting tacks.

The Squirrels are playing the blame-game.
The Skunks are twisting the facts.

The Pole-cats are upping the ante.
The Foxes are jumping the gun.
The Voles are crashing the party.
The Stoats are dismantling the Sun.

The Rabbits are taking the biscuit.
The Hares are losing the plot.
The Eagles are kicking the bucket.
The Rats are joining the dots.

The Herons are throwing a curveball.
The Shrews are fanning the flames.
The Field mice are sinking the 8-ball.
The Swans are passing the blame.

And the Pheasants are draining the oil from the tank-
but only the Bustards have broken the bank.

Thomas Becket

There is an excellent short introduction to St Thomas Becket by Eamon Duffy in The Guardian today here.  Why I’m making my very slow progress along the Pilgrims Way rather than any other long distance footpath.

trocme, christ and revolution
September 13, 2011, 6:54 pm
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For the first evening of Holy Cross Day, an article by my friend Savi Hensman:

Trocme, Christ and revolution 

in The Guardian.

vasily grossman

BBC Radio 4 are about to embark on a series of programmes about Vasily Grossman, the astonishing twentieth century Russian author who, for me, is on a par with Tolstoy and Dostoevsky.

Look out for the dramatisation of Life and  Fate- and even better read it.  There’s a very good introductory article by Francis Spufford in The Guardian here:

With any luck, a public much larger than the one that encountered the novel in Robert Chandler’s excellent English translation will soon recognise Life and Fate as all the things critics say it is: one of the great narratives of battle, a moral monument, a witness-report in fiction from the heart of 20th-century darkness, an astonishing act of truth-telling.

I’m looking forward to this and settling down now with my copy of Everything Flows.

an unexpectedly sacramental walk

There is a very good piece by Gisela Raines in The Guardian reflecting on her pilgrimage to Santiago along the Via de la Plata here.

She introduces me to RS Thomas’ poem ‘The Moor’ which I had not read before:

It was like a church to me.
I entered it on soft foot,
Breath held like a cap in the hand.
It was quiet.
What God was there made himself felt,
Not listened to, in clean colours
That brought a moistening of the eye,
In movement of the wind over grass.

There were no prayers said. But stillness
Of the heart’s passions — that was praise
Enough; and the mind’s cession
Of its kingdom. I walked on,
Simple and poor, while the air crumbled
And broke on me generously as bread.

The insight into how the journey nourishes and feeds us in ways we may not expect is one to live with and ponder.


round up

Mabey in the Wild is on Radio 4 on Sunday afternoons for the next few weeks.  Listen to his history of wild daffodils here.

Something Understood yesterday was on the healing power of gardens.  Listen here.

There’s a very interesting new book called Pathways by David Stewart and Nicholas Rudd Jones, looking at historical routes in Britain.  The Guardian is publishing  a walk a day from it here.

This book is on my Christmas list.

hard times

This has been a long hard Lent, although today is only the third Sunday.  The cuts are arriving.  Weoley Castle Community Projects, of which I am Chair, was in The Guardian on Friday:

Weoley Castle Community Projects, Birmingham

Cut: £5,000 (15%)

Weoley Castle offers a support service for up to 30 local elderly people every day in a church hall. It provides company, conversation, a proper meal, entertainment and care. Many of those using the service would otherwise be alone during the day.

But a 15% cut – from £33,000 to £28,000 – means the project has had to make two part-time staff redundant and reduce the amount of day care offered, from five days to four days a week. It has had a significant impact on those who have nowhere to go on the fifth day and have little extra care at home.

The project has also had to send out first stage redundancy letters to all its day care staff as there is no word of future funding from 1 April.

Kate Pearson, a trustee of the Weoley Castle project, says: “It doesn’t make any sense at all. We provide value for money. What happens to clients when we’re not there? We’re being honest about the pressures facing us, but the majority of our clients will find it hard to understand because they are in the early stages of dementia. But they have noticed the redundancies and a few are extremely anxious.”

It is going to be a hard and difficult week.  Prayers please for the Project, those who use its services, the staff and volunteers, the trustees, and hard pressed Council Officers.

Thanks to the half a million people who Marched for an Alternative in London yesterday.  Now is a critical time for working for a creative and just future.

As we journey through Lent, it is a time also for faith, for walking in the Way of the Cross, for hope in the Resurrection and in the Kingdom of God – on earth as it is in heaven.



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