First a word about changes to Mass times, following the closure of the Convent. Some wanted the retention of an early Mass whilst others wanted the Mass to continue at 10am in the Church. I have therefore decided for an experimental period of four weeks to Friday 14th December to celebrate an early Mass in the Church at 7.30 as well as the usual 10am Mass. The Church will be open from 7.15. I will expect at least five people on average to attend each day if the early Mass is to continue. (Those who attend more than one Mass in the day will not count). The average will be calculated at the end of each week and I will let you know the result of this experiment in mid-December. I trust that you will accept that this is fair and reasonable. From time to time I may be away on my travels, but as at present, I will let you know in advance.
Wednesday is the Feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Thursday is the feast of St. Cecilia, the patron of musicians. We always looked forward to this day in Spain as it was the first day on which the stoves could be lit in the College. In those days there was no heating in the College and Castile in mid-November can be very cold.
Next Sunday is the feast of Christ the King. There will be Benediction in the evening and we will recite the Litany of the Sacred Heart and the Act of Dedication to Christ the King.
The Justice and Peace Group meets next Sunday in the Angelus Room.
The list for parts in the Christmas mystery plays have now been put up. Please add your names as soon as possible as we hope to have full casts for all three plays. Some who were shepherds or angels a few years back should be ready to take some of the major roles this year. Also we need some of the older ones to act as narrators. Maria is busy pressing and cleaning all the costumes. So far the uniforms of the soldiers have been prepared. I think I may need to repair some of the swords and helmets following some fierce battles last year.
Now time for a recipe. I think that this is familiar. First cook some fresh spinach and drain well. Prepare a béchamel sauce with some margarine, flour and milk, a pinch of nutmeg and maybe a dab of cream. Prepare a pan of fiercely boiling water, add some vinegar to make it swirl and poach some eggs. Make a nest with the spinach, add the sauce and place the eggs in the middle. Serve with a sprinkling of red pepper and some triangles of toast. Perfect Oeufs Florentines.
It is still the month of November so here is a prayer for the dead:
Receive, Lord, in tranquillity and peace, the souls of your servants who have departed out of this present life to be with you. Give them the live that knows no age, the good things that do not pass away; through Jesus Christ Our Lord.
The herb garden seems to be making reasonable progress, although I have to clean away the pine needles every few days. Indoors, I am growing some basil, chives and parsley in pots. The plants take about 8 weeks to appear and I can now see the first shoots. Probably they will remain in the house during the winter: I will need to protect them well from the birds when they go outside. Also with some gentle pruning and watering as well as a good sunny shelf, I am trying to encourage and orchid to produce a second growth. The first shoots seem to be appearing and with luck there may be some flowers for Christmas.
The debate about Downton Abbey continues. A point of great interest is the large motor car that Maggie Smith uses. I think that it is an early Lancia, but are there any other opinions? I thought that the railway scenes in the previous series were particularly poor: filmed on the Bluebelle Railway with a Chatham engine and a Metropolitan Railways coach. Surely they could have done better than that for a scene that was meant to be taking place in Yorkshire.
I like this bit:
He holds him with his skinny hand,
There was a ship – quoth he
Hold off: unhand me, greybeard loon!
Eftsoons his hand dropt he.
Just room to report on the great nephew. It seems that he has started to throw food from time to time. His grandmother is not at all pleased. I suggested that maybe he was practising for when he goes up to Cambridge, but this was not well received.
Best wishes to you all
Monsignor Nicholas Rothon