Wednesday, 8 October 2008

History in the making

Politicians and bankers all over the world are busy trying to restore 'confidence' in the market. This morning Alastair Darling, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced an astronomically huge support package for British banks - and even said that if we had savings in, he'd bail us out. Someone I know said, a bit incredulously, 'Does that mean, he'll just give them all their money back?' Apparently, yes. I'm not sure life's like that. I think if you hit an iceberg it's pretty well impossible to save the ship. And so stock markets continue to slump. They say it's fear. They may well be right. But if money's your god and it's suddenly revealed to have feet of clay, you're right to be frightened. You're on your own, buddy. It's better worshipping the real God. He's the same yesterday and today and forever - which is as good a security as you could wish. You're never on your own.

From world history to something more local. It's autumn (fall) again and the leaves are beginning to turn. There's a beautiful maple in the churchyard here, and the edges of its leaves have started to turn. So it's a kaleidoscope of greens, gold and red. Mark you, some trees on the road to Pusey aren't so decorative. They're young horse chestnuts whose leaves, instead of the usual variety of autumnal colour, are a uniform dull brown. I fear they have this disease which is beginning to decimate the chestnut population in this country. Perhaps this area will soon be devoid of another great species, just as the elm was eradicated in the 1970s. If you look at old photos of the church here there were several great elm trees surrounding it. One rotting stump only remains.

And next year we won't be here either. This week I announced to the church here that I am going to move on at the end of January next year. A very minor piece of local history. In a few years' time, you'll be able to tell we lived here only by the little framed list of vicars of this parish going back to Thomas de Roqel in the 1200s or something, and perhaps the two oak trees grown from acorns by my nephew, which we planted in the vicarage garden when we arrived nearly twenty years ago. (No, it's not the vicarage in the background - just the most beautiful house in the village, Rectory House.)


  1. A very minor piece of local history......

    You could never be that, Michael!! You have been a tremndous influence for God here in Stanford. The flourishing church must testify to that!
    But we'll miss you, old bean. Are you off to Grove? I can't ever see you letting any grass grow under your feet, even if you hang up your hassock, or is it cassock?x Jules x

  2. I think you have changed this slightly from when youm first posted it, Michael, as in the original one you mentioned Roger Campdene. Am I going mad, or am I coorect? Have a great week! Jules (again!)x

  3. Scarey!!! To think my blog is read more than once! But you're quite right of course, Jules. We looked at the board in church today, and I'd got the first vicar wrong. Sorry. Roger was about 100 years later. So you're not mad - or no more so than anyone who reads or writes this blog!

  4. Phew! Thanks!!!
    It was great to see you today, btw, and Selina loved meeting you. She's on her way back to Bristol now, clutching your book, and longing to read it......