Thursday, October 17, 2019

I finished (all I am going to do of) the ribbed part of the Calcutta Cup scarf – and then couldn’t find the white yarn for the end part. I wrongly blamed my furry friends. Then I did find it, but I suspect it’s too late to do any more today.

Brexit grinds on. I wish I understood the implications of “single market” and “customs union”. It’s not that I haven’t tried. They’re not the same thing, I can tell you that much.


(You can blame Shandy for this -- comment yesterday.) I don’t think I believe in them. I’m with Hume and Gibbon. Modern miracles are all medical, and we would all have to admit – including doctors – that’s there’s lot we don’t understand.

Anyone who has lived as long as I have will be able to recall a couple of episodes that might have been attributed to the power of prayer. The time I had a bad tussle with a rose bush, and a couple of days later, red streaks were running up my left arm. The time our cat collapsed and we took her to the vet in Blairgowrie and he made her better. (I don’t suppose the Vatican would be impressed by the cure of a cat, but we were.)

Thomas the elder, Rachel’s son, is completely deaf in one ear. I embarked on a novena to Cardinal Newman once, thinking that would be a perfect miracle for his canonisation – plenty of medical evidence. Three or four days in, Rachel rang up to say that Thomas had a bad infection in the other ear. I left off the novena at once. My husband always said novenas were dangerous.

Ten years or so ago, it was decided to exhume Newman (this is distasteful) in anticipation of sainthood, so that they would have relics or something. When they opened the grave, there was nothing there except the brass plate from the coffin and a tassel from the cardinal’s hat.

After only 100 years? No skeleton? This almost does seem to me like a miracle. Google “exhumation of Cardinal Newman” and you can read all about it. He was, at his own urgent request, buried in the same grave as his friend Ambrose St John, who had died some years previously. So what about Ambrose? Had he also disappeared? Googling doesn’t provide the answer to that one.


  1. I don't know where I stand on miracles, but I do know that the doctors who are willing to admit that there are things they don't understand are few and far between, and much to be treasured.

  2. I'm catching up, after being away on a business trip since Saturday. On the subject of Novenas, my mother made one that resulted in my birth. (Maybe.) After 3 boys she made a Novena to the Blessed Mother to have a girl, and promised to name her Mary. The battle between my parents was Rose Mary or Mary Louise. My mother won...

    I am listening to an entertaining audiobook, I'[m sure it is also on kindle, called "Consider the Fork" I think you would like it Jean. It kept me engaged during time-zone change insomnia.

    1. Endorsement of "Consider the Fork" -I enjoyed the paper version.

  3. That is an amazing story about Cardinal Newman's coffin, but not as amazing as the idea of collecting relics to take to Rome. I somehow thought those were a feature of an earlier time.

  4. Hi Jean!
    I DO believe in miracles. What an interesting post! I found a bulky wool mitt pattern today and all I want to do is knit, but a house guest is arriving and I must scrub the loo.

  5. I (perhaps foolishly) also believe in miracles, but agree that God works best through our hands, our kindness and our deire to do His/Her work in this world. And BTW, I didn't comment on your assertion that you are somehow tedious because I was away visiting relatives, but I have to say, I find your blog very entertaining and lovely in so many ways. Tedious - never:)!