Friday 10 April 2009

A Day Late - A Maundy Thought

Last night, while it was still Maundy Thursday, I was musing on the fine ceremony of the Maundy Money, and wondered when the earlier tradition of the monarch actually washing the feet of representatives of the deserving poor was abandoned. To my surprise, I discovered that it lasted until the death of James II. There is even a drawing from life of Elizabeth I performing this symbolic, but very physical and intimate, service. I would not propose that our monarchs - especially our poor old Queen - should again take to washing the feet of the poor, but would it not be a wonderful and salutary thing to see those who now have real power over the people - Gordon Broon and, say, 'Jacqui' Smith and 'Lord' Mandelson - thus on their knees? Ah well, a man can dream...
Meanwhile, in the garden, the first snakeshead fritillary is in flower today (hence the picture). Always a sight to gladden the heart.


  1. I have no wish to drag a note of vulgarity into your Good Friday reverie, but the thought of 'Jacqui' on her knees, whatever service she might perform there, is a disturbing one. Your post reminded me instead of why I have found it so inspiring over the last year. You remind us of the 'culture' of not just the natural world of the flora and fauna, but of pictures we had forgotten (or never knew), of books we had never read, music unheard and even, most recently, miscellanea such as the glories of the grape, and the salary of my Taioseach.
    And set against your promotion of the good things in life, isn't it sad and dispiriting that our leaders, both the monarchy and our elected governors, are so lacking in this area? Hard to imagine Jacqui and her hubby taking themselves off to the Tate or the Festival Hall for a bit of nourishment, but equally can you imagine any of the present Cabinet doing anything to enrich their souls?

  2. Indeed I can't Mahlerman - the present batch seem denatured, depthless, affectless, downright weird. Maybe it goes with the territory - tho there are a few on the Other Side I can imagine paying some attention to their souls. Would it last when/if they were in power? I don't know...
    Anyway, glad you like the blog!

  3. Have my doubts even among the toffs. Excepting Hague and Dr Fox, the top tier don't fill me with higher expectations of intellectual heft. Perhaps it is to do with age; if you look at a few of the oldies in the party, Letwin and Maude say, there resides a longer list of interests, outside of Westminster. And I don't subscribe to the idea that power, when it arrives, should signal the drift of culture out of the window. Methinks that if it is there in the first place, there it will remain, undisturbed by f-me shoes and Corfu cocktail parties

  4. Michael Gove - he strikes me as a human being. And Boris of course has plenty of, er, hinterland. The best of them in this respect was dear old Denis Healey - a good war, enjoyed the finer things of life, and a big Samuel Beckett fan.

  5. Poor Denis had serious problems with lack of access to trimming scissors, his eyebrows were like catamaran outriggers.
    Will give blow by blow account next week of Gandalf and Jean Luc-Picards rendering of Godot.

    Nice to see your photie of frittilary, one of our spring favourites, we have them intermingling with the daffs and scattered throughout the orchard, both snakes head and a pale cream form, the foliage is unusual, looks tropical.
    They seem to be profuse this spring, just like the Met's cock ups.

  6. I just reviewed a book about Adolf Eichmann and there's a great bit in there about Churchill. Apparently when the victors of WW II got together to try to figure out what to do with the Nazi war criminals, Winston said: "Let's have a trial for them so the world can see we're not brutes, but really let's do it so we can make sure we have the right guys. After it's over, let's take them out back and shoot them all in the head."

    Curiously, it was Stalin who said, "We can't do that. We can't slaughter them as they slaughtered the Jews. They must have real trials." Hence, Nuremberg.

    Love that Winston Churchill....