Saturday, December 11, 2010

The BBC mini-series The Nativity will be shown on the following dates in the UK.

Monday the 20th
Tuesday the 21st
Wednesday the 22nd
Thursday the 23rd

all at 7 pm and on BBC 1. Each episode is half an hour.

Reviews and comments can be found HERE, HERE and HERE. An earlier post on the miniseries from this blog can be found HERE which contains an audio link to an interview with the writer, Tony Jordan.

It will be starring, among others, Montreal actress Tatiana Maslany (whose home town, I am now brusquely reminded, is Regina, Saskatchewan) in the role of the BVM along with a host of well-known TV personalities from the UK.

Peter Graystone, from the Church Army, who saw the complete series at a press preview in October, describes it as

"...funny (very), believable (totally),
sexy (yes!)".
Which give rise to the following unhelpful excursis:

I believe Peter Graystone may well have hit on something.

I'm thinking that some T-shirts with the Church Army crest and the words "Sexy (Yes!)" written underneath it would do the world of good for an organisation like the Church Army, which has much to its credit but which has a woefully inadequate level of marketing and visibility.

But I digress.....

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Penicuik Abroad

It could have been the history of our town and the legacy of paper-making. It could have been the town's Scottish Episcopal Church, with its Kempe windows, its capable choir, its forward-looking congregation and a Rector with compelling brown eyes.

It could have been the tight knot of well-run charity shops in the Precinct and the plans for renewing the Town Centre.

It could have been Jean's Place and the fact that they serve the best egg-on-a-roll to be found anywhere between Loanhead and Eddleston.

But no - Penicuik made the Melbourne edition of the Herald Sun because it was bloody cold here last week.

One of our organists here at St James has been in Australia on holiday, visiting his children. He opened the local newspaper to see the picture of a man picking his way through the ice and snow on the Peebles road back in Penicuik.

Mike now has to pack up, kiss the kookaburras goodbye and return.

He may need to shovel his walk when he gets back.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Perhaps not as
fanciful as first thought...

St. Nicholas' remains were removed from his burial place at Myra and reinterred at Bari, in Italy in 1087 AD. There are conflicting stories of how this came to be.

In one story, the mortal remains of the Saint were rescued by heroic "sailors" fearing the tomb at Myra would be desecrated by Alp Arslan and the Seljuk Turks following their victory over the Byzantine forces in the Battle of Manzikert.

In another, it was "pirates" from Bari who took advantage of the confused political situation, beat the monks and stole from them what amounted to highly portable goods designed for later resale in the west. In either case - rescue or theft - the bones came back to Bari and a basilica was built over them.

In the 1950's the crypt where they were interred required considerable repairs. The bones were removed for a short period of time during the work and Luigi Martino, a professor of anatomy at the University of Bari, was asked to catalogue the remains and to take a series of detailed photographs and measurements of the skull.

One of his successors at the University in more recent years handed the photographs and measurements to an anthropologist at Manchester University who, using the latest forensic technology, reconstructed the face in the same way that she would have done for the police searching out the identity of a person following the discovery of physical remains.

Such close scientific work is presumably necessary because, as we all know, the eye of faith is a fanciful thing.

And yet the results (above) bear a remarkable resemblence to one of the 11th Century depictions of St Nicholas.

One which they'd had on the wall all along.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Winter Part Deux

We've had a nice couple of days but today the snow kicked in again.

I'm in town today, at my desk at New College, trying to revise and it's by no means certain that I'll find a bus going back to Penicuik which is worse than this. Mrs Rabbit took a bus back from work in the very early afternoon and the driver was saying this would be the last.

I might be banging on the bishop's door tonight asking him where he keeps the whisky.

David Hume was looking a little put out at being barefoot and clad only in a toga. His friend Adam Smith down the way looked no happier and was hoping that the "Invisible Hand" might somehow sweep a little snow off his brow.

Happy St Nicholas of Myra Day!

This picture, hanging in the Russian State Museum in St Petersburg, represents but one of the many interventions St Nicholas of Myra made in the lives of people at a point of dire necessity.

He was, shall we say, more of an activist than a contemplative.

Good St Nicholas of Myra link HERE.