Harried by life at present, and I saw a message from Mac saying I'd been tagged for six things that make me very happy.
1. My family. My wife, who tolerates my enthusiasms. Teenagers who, while difficult to like at times, are impossible not to love. Brothers, sisters, cousins, all of whom are available on tap, no matter how long it is since we last spoke. Parents and uncles and aunts and others in Heaven who pray for us, and in Purgatory, for whom we pray.
2. Mass, said properly. I get to serve an EF Mass from time to time, though the "stable group" feels a bit like a household in the time of Campion as we are harried from pillar to post. I haven't been to a NO Mass where the Priest has purified the sacred vessels since September, and I haven't missed a single Sunday. But at least I have a choice of rubrically unsound Masses to go to: I don't live in China.
3. The radio: cooking Sunday dinner, listening (via the Internet radio) to Eamon and Jimmy on Radio Manchester until 12.00, then to Radio 7 for old comedy programmes. Radio 4. What's left of Radio 3. Broadcast words, and the best of broadcast music. Doing stuff with the radio switched on makes me feel like my dad, and the older I get, the more comfortable a feeling that is.
4. Loud choral music of the Renaissance: Monteverdi, Palestrina, that mob, as well as Tallis and Byrd. But loud: "you're in my basilica to listen to this". We roadtested the new stereo by taking a couple of CDs with us: mine was the start of the Monteverdi 1610 Vespers on loud. Loud to clear out the cobwebs, to scatter romantics and minimalists; loud because that's what fortissimo means.
5. Books: finding, when you get the Advent things down from the loft that there are a couple of boxes up there with a hundred-odd books you haven't seen for a couple of years and had forgotten about, and welcoming them back like the old friends they are. Odd books, quirky books, books that remind you exactly where you were (who you were) when you bought them and when you read them, even each time you read them. Books that were my parents'; books that were my friends'.
6. Wine. Fortified wines, like sherry and vermouth; sparkling wines like Champagne and cava; red wines; rose wines; white wines; "burned wine" (brandjewijn); anything except for "low alcohol" wines.
7. (And who is Mac to bind me to six when seven is the number of perfection?) The Internet. The Forum. The Marketplace. Not mantentem civitatem, but the agora in which we all bump into each other.
Tagging Ches, Fr Paul, Kirk, Hilary Jane Margaret White, the Mother of That Lot, and Eugenia.