Category Archives: Curiosities

Alternative Fireworks.

Success! Sorry to you lovely subscribers for giving you a false alarm earlier, I was having difficulty uploading however the problem is solved.

Here it is an ‘interesting’ short video to celebrate the opening up of the year 2020.

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Training hand, heart and mind

This letter, first published in 2006, is reproduced now in slightly edited form.

Dear Rev. Mugo,
I thought I would write to let you know what I have discovered about Trinity College of Music at the time Rev. Master (Jiyu-Kennett) would have been in contact with it, in case it is of interest.

Trinity was started in 1872 by Bonavia Hunt who was deeply concerned by the quality of church music which was becoming poorer and poorer. Trinity was first known as the Church Choral Society and College of Church music. It was open to members of the Anglican Church, and men only! The college started with a view to teaching so that quality could be restored and the long tradition of church music continued. As it developed, the college trained teachers and offered exams throughout the world so that standards could be maintained. I’m not sure of the date, but women were also welcomed in to study before the war.

By 1939 the numbers at the college grew and the college ethos was one of welcome and the doors were opened on Sundays as well as all other days, “to keep the lamp of music burning during these dark days.” The choir was open to those who’s choral societies had had to disband for war reasons. Trinity hosted concerts throughout the war and two concerts in 1942 were given by the children of London county council and Middlesex who studied on Saturday mornings with Gladys Puttick, a pioneer who arrived at Trinity in 1934 and was one of the first to teach musicianship beyond the instrument. She was also the founder of the Saturday School and Trinity was the first music college to have a Saturday junior department. Distance Learning also started to help those unable to get into college to study, in fact Prisoners of War were able to do distance learning with help from the British Red Cross offices.

Gladys Puttick arrived in 1934 and stayed until the 1970s. Three other notable people were at Trinity from the 1930s – mid 1960s. Charles Kennedy Scott was keen on the study of Plainsong and the chanting of Psalms and gave regular lectures and led rehearsals. Dr Lowery was passionate about organs, organ music and is noted as giving superb lectures. The Principal of Trinity from 1944 -1965, Dr Wilfred Greehouse Allt was also an organist who was the President of the Incorporated Association of Organists from 1956-1958 and then of the Royal College of Organists from 1962-1964. Rev Master would almost certainly have come into contact with Gladys Puttick and Charles Kennedy Scott, whether based at Trinity or as a distant learner.

Gladys Puttick gave a lecture in the 1940s and it reveals an approach to learning that often goes unnoticed. She said that music was, “essentially a pivotal subject of education, since it could be the means of training, at once, the hand, the heart and the mind.”

It would appear that Rev Master was in good hands.

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The Eyes of My Eyes – are Open

We meet in high places.

Will Pegg. The poem is an offering of thanks and gratitude to Wills friends, family and fellow 12 Steppers, as well as fellow life travelers. The poem comes at the beginning of a long post on Facebook by a man who is facing death. Very soon. He is saying goodby. godde is his word.

i thank You godde for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is YES

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any–lifted from the no
of all nothing–human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

e.e. cummings
1894-1962

Unimaginable You, the infinite ungraspable! Indeed. A poem; a prayer echoing in the hallways of all existence, where the idea of a separate self dissolves. Sir Edwin Arnold in The Light of Asia says it seeking nothing, he gains all; foregoing self, the universe grows “I.” What is there to say? Well lots as it turns out. We can imagine a Bodhisattva as superhuman, but watch out when they blaze in! However no, a Bodhisattva, this chap Will, is no super human. He’s every bit human with the human frailty that comes with this state. Countless people have benefitted from his living his life and countless people have taught him too. Humility is the watch word.

I met Will in a cafe in Victoria, Canada July before last. In the way that it can happen between people our eyes met, and a deep spiritual connection comes about, well past words or understanding. So it was and so it will be. Here I sit in England, Northumberland. Merit and meditations winging their way to a far off bedside. Join me why not.

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Unapologetic Discriminator

As with dogs, so with us humans? I’m prepared to run with this.

Attention is an intentional,
unapologetic
discriminator.
It asks what is relevant
right now,
and gears us up to notice
only that.

Alexandra Horowitz
Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know

Horowitz introduces the reader to dogs’ perceptual and cognitive abilities and then draws a picture of what it might be like to be a dog. What’s it like to be able to smell not just every bit of open food in the house but also to smell sadness in humans, or even the passage of time? How does a tiny dog manage to play successfully with a Great Dane? What is it like to hear the bodily vibrations of insects or the hum of a fluorescent light? Why must a person on a bicycle be chased? What’s it like to use your mouth as a hand? In short, what is it like for a dog to experience life from two feet off the ground, amidst the smells of the sidewalk, gazing at our ankles or knees?


With a hat tip to Frank whose emails end with the Attention quote.

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Don’t Mock The Flock!

high-street-and-orange-sheep

IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

Walking down from Wansfell into Troutbeck on Saturday, the sheep. The orange sheep. That way to deter sheep rustlers. ‘Don’t mock the flock’ repeated in my mind to the rhythm of my striding. No, Don’t mock the flock! I guess we are all part of a flock, one way or another.

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