30 April 2007

A new blog from Jeffrey

I once posted a coment in The Undercroft (I can't remember where, and am become Jeffreyish about bothering!) about the last time I met HM the Queen, and how I bottled out of saying to her: hic autem non habemus mantentem civitatem (though I sort of paraphrased). I remembered that this weekend when reading a piece in a Portuguese blog (which I have asked permission to translate here) which also called to mind the temporality of our civilisation. What struck me was that while here we have no abiding City, we have (especially those of us in lands conquered by Rome, the lands which can truly be called civilised) lots of clues about us, in the landscape, in the architecture, and in many of the common exchanges which pass between us as civility, which can actually help us recover our roots. The ghetto I suggested as perhaps the most appropriate place for Catholics to seek in 2007 isn't the dank shtetl but a cast of mind, which can be informed by the history, and perhaps the genius locus of wherever we happen to be in our country. There is lots wrong about the UK at the moment: there is also lots right.

Up pops Jeffrey: some of us find one blog hard enough, but Jeffrey is not content with one. He has just started a new one: Let Britannia Rise: which he subtitles "A Love Letter to the British Isles". He probably recognises the faults we find in our country but wants, I think, to point out that we are still very lucky in what we have.

"O wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!"

Visit his blog to see how we can still be perceived, how we can still perceive ourselves, if we want to take the opportunity not to accept that the forces of darkness have won.


Mac McLernon said...

"hic autem non habemus mantentem civitatem"

For the ignorant among us (ie. me!) can we have a translation please?

Ttony said...

"For here we have no abiding City". I sent an e-mail to the Undercroft's private address, and he asked me to post it. What I said, though I imagine it was posted slightly differently, was:

"I nearly quoted St Augustine’s comment to HM the Queen when she came to visit my place of work and I was presented. I described what I and my team were doing and, right at the end of our conversation, she said that it is very hard to organise work in a situation of constant flux (my words, not hers, though the sense is right). I thought “Dare I?” and then bottled out. Do you know how daunting it is to talk to the Queen, never mind cast an Augustinian aphorism her way as a joke? I ended up saying that stability was one of those things that we all longed for but knew that we would never be able to have. A Guardian reader would say that she looked suitably wistful. This Telegraph reader, however, noted her “That’s certainly right” and her “Thank you VERY much” accompanied by as piercing a stare as I have ever been subject to. I had thirty seconds to prepare myself for the Duke of Edinburgh. We didn’t get onto philosophy with him, though."

Mac McLernon said...

Ooooh, wow. That's definitely one to tell the grandchildren!!

Fr. Greg said...

"I had thirty seconds to prepare myself for the Duke of Edinburgh. We didn’t get onto philosophy with him, though."

He-He. Probably all to the good. He seems to have quite the reputation for putting his foot in it on a fairly regular basis. Hard to say what would have come out of HIS mouth in response to a quote from Augustine or anyone else of that calibre.

Fr. Greg said...

Or greater than Augustine actually. That was not original with him; he was quoting the Epistle to the Hebrews.

Ttony said...

Part 2 of Ttony's "Recollections of Conversations with Royalty" will have to wait. (And, yes, there are more parts to follow.)

The Duke of Edinburgh is an 86 year old man who no longer worries about whether saying what he thinks might get him into trouble. In this, he is the model for all of us grumpy old men (or incipiently old men). The conversation with him was very different to that with the Queen, but was equally stimulating. More another time!

Mac McLernon said...

You've been tagged