Showing posts from June, 2007

Ordnance Survey produces first map of "Moral High Ground"

Love this...

Ordnance Survey produces first map of "Moral High Ground" Ordnance Survey have today announced that they have managed to produce the first detailed map of the Moral High Ground. ‘Until now, we thought it was an area of abandoned wasteland on the outskirts of Swindon and, as such, it had just been designated as a public open space’, said a spokesman. ‘However, close study of new satellite images revealed a group of people occupying a small hill and so decided to examine further.’ The Moral High Ground turned out to be home to a group of vegan cyclists, who do occasionally use trains and a non-profit car-pool scheme, but always plant trees afterwards. They also spent a lot of time on a particularly high horse. ‘We examined the ground hoping to find carbon footprints, but there were none.’ Hopes of catching out the rather worthy local community by sifting through their rubbish f…

I've been tagged! for my 5 favourite hymns.

Right... I'd been wondering what this tagging business was all about. The tag came from John Browne. In return, I tag
holyfamoley and Chris Curtis.

Seeing as John chose 5 Latin + 5 English I'll do the same and add 5 favourite contemporary Worship songs and 5 songs by contemporary Christian artists for good measure. The latter 2 categories are a reflection of what songs I myself use in our school Masses (and to a certain degree in the parish also) and listen to. But I do genuinely love Gregorian chant, especially when experiencing it in the liturgies of vibrant monastic communities. My musical tastes are rather "catholic" in the sense of global and wide-ranging. As a Music teacher it is your duty to help young people to appreciate good music in all genres and I suppose I am lucky in the respect that I do like a variety of styles and genres, from Irish folk, to Renaissance choral music, to Classical and romantic piano music, to 2oth century composers such as Stravinsky,…

Africa Educational Project 2006

Click here for a video compilation of moments from last year's trip (just French volunteers). Our Liverpool group leave on July 9th to meet up with 70 or so young French people in Paris and fly out to Togo together on the 10th, getting back on the 31st. I'll try to post news of our trip here on this blog from Togo, depending on availability of internet access. Should be ok most of the time, I think.

United 93

Saw "United 93" again the other day with my Lower 6th Film Studies students. Has to be one of the best films of the last few years. Traumatic, but so well made and the tension builds up brilliantly, even though you know what's going to happen. The pseudo-documentary style here works wonderfully. No coincidence it was directed by a Brit! It is the antithesis of the Hollywood hanky-fest that was "World Trade Centre" (or am I being a bit harsh :-)

Sir Ian McKellen as "King Lear" at Stratford-upon-Avon

McKellen as Lear (
Wow! I couldn't believe my luck when Bro. Peter said "Do you want to go to see "King Lear" at Stratford?". "Ummmm... let me have a little think about that..." Not!! Apparently a parent had phoned up offering 3 spare tickets. Not something to turn down. Of the Shakespeare plays that I have either read, seen on stage or seen on film (that comes to about 12), "King Lear" has always been my favourite. I had the joy of being able to see Sir Anthony Hopkins (I can hear Mark Kermode's voice as I type - tv + radio film critic) in the role at the National theatre, London during my English A-Level course (1986... <gulp>) with a wonderful supporting cast including Anna Massey, Francis Barber (Goneril in the new Stratford production), Bill Nighy, Michael Bryant, Douglas Hodge... I also saw Olivier in the role in a made-for-tv adaptation.

But my overall experience of the play at Stratford on W…

Favourite photos no.2 - Brother Gregory Casey

Brother Gregory Casey. This man was a saint. Worked for 9 months of each year for 21 years in Lourdes, organising all the English masses, etc... for English-speaking pilgrims. One of my heroes. Also a genius on computers... I took this photo back in 1990 whilst he was in his 60s (note the old-style computer screen!!! An Amstrad, I think). Gregory (or "Grogs" as he was fondly known) was from Stoke-on-Trent and had been a great footballer in his day.

Bro. Gregory in his office enjoying one of favourite pastimes (1990).I was lucky enough to do my first year of training (the Noviciate) near the south-west coast of France in the foothills of the Pyrénées (Ciboure, by St. Jean-de-Luz). It was about 90 minutes drive from Lourdes. Gregory came to the small-scale ceremony we had to start the Noviciate year. A gesture I greatly appreciated. He spoke words of wisdom to me that I have never forgotten. He said, "James, my Noviciate was at the same time the hardest year and the happie…

Training weekend for African Eudcational Project, Togo 07 - @ Mother House in Ploërmel, France

At last, the complete article with more photos.

This was the first time that our group of 13 young people met the 70 or so French participants and our last training event before setting off for Togo on July 9th. We'll be meeting amongst ourselves in Liverpool after Easter to clarify which activities we want to use with Togolese children we'll be working with in 2 different places during the trip (a secondary school and the nursery attached to a village agricultural centre). And we'll also be undertaking some fund-raising events to buy equipment that we'll be bringing out (eg. sports, audio-visual...)and leaving with our hosts for them to keep.

Our adventure started with a mini-bus journey from Liverpool to Southampton, arriving in time for a buffet supper with our Brothers in Southampton (= where I went to school... aahh, bless! :-).
Supper with the Brothers. Bro. Francis, former Head Teacher of our Liverpool school on the far right.Next up, the overnight ferry from Ports…

Vocations - what is your calling?

The following is an article I wrote for a recent edition of our school newsletter:

Vocations Sunday, April 29th 2007

To mark this day I have spoken at assemblies for Years 7-11 these past few weeks on the theme of vocations, or what it means to have a particular "calling" from God. I mentioned to them the following web site which contains a personal testimony I wrote about my own vocation or calling as a Brother: (appears here in an earlier blog entry).

Remember to try and work out which of the 5 characters I am! :-) The names and physical appearance of the 5 real life people have been changed, don't forget. You need to go to the button on each of their pages that invites you to read their story.

God wants all of you
a) to be happy and fulfilled in whatever you do in life, and
b) to use your talents, skills, energy to make life better for others, whether it be as a builder, a doctor, a fireman, a teacher, a Brother, or whatever.
It's up to you to try and…