Sunday, 17th April, 2022

[Day 712]

Today is Easter Day and the weather has dawned bright and cheerful. Although I do not comment on things religious, last night was rather special. It was an especially long service as it was part of the rite for Easter Saturday – called the Easter Vigil. Last night’s service was especially long as it involved a group of people who, accordingly to the terminology, were ‘under instruction’ and were being formally received into the Catholic Church as part of today’s ceremony. We started by congregating outside the church around a glowing brazier from which was lit the Easter (Pascual) candle. Then each member of the congregation was equipped with a candle and we processed with our lighted candles into a darkened church. At an appropriate moment in the ceremony, the candles were held aloft, the purple coverings which by tradition cover the altar and altar pieces were removed, the sanctuary lights and candles were lit and the congregation burst into an Easter hymn. The symbolism is clear i.e. emerging from a darkened tomb into the light of an Easter Day. I believe that most of these rites are much more highly developed in the Eastern (Byzantine) church and a pale imitation has been re-introduced into the western churches. Nonetheless, even for a person who might have no religious faith of any kind, the pure aesthetics were worth the experience. Meg and I had never attended an Easter Vigil before and therefore did not really know what to expect but the sight of a congregation being symbolically reborn, as it were, was quite inspiring.

This morning Meg and I walked to the park and had our normal coffee. On the park bench, we coincided with a couple of about our own age that we sometimes chat with and exchanged various bits of news. Then it was homewards but neither of us felt particularly hungry so I threw together a sort of salad based upon a tin of corned beef that we always keep in stock. Then it was a good read of the Sunday newspapers that are still speculating about the kinds of hurdles that Boris Johnson is yet to face – the consensus view is that Tory MPs are going to sit onto their hands until after the local elections of 5th May (two and a half weeks away) and at that point will decide whether to keep Boris Johnson as their leader as not. There seems to be a view gaining ground that Boris Johnson will not lead the Tories into the next election and even people like Jeremy Hunt (who has relatively ‘clean hands’) thought about as a potential successor. After a bit of a rest and as the weather was fine, I decided to do a little gardening. I do suspect, though, that every single job that you think of as being a simple little job turns out to be more complicated than first thought. I was renovating a border which when I constructed it some four or five years ago was a wooden ‘stay’ bordered by some large flat pebbles.This lot had to be deconstructed and de-grassed before i put it all together again. The donkey work has been done today and I can no doubt do some refinements tomorrow. When I came in and we had some light tea in front of the TV, we idly flipped through the channels and came across the closing moments of the 1956 epic of ‘The Ten Commandments’ This, by modern tastes, was so unbelievably naff that it was fascinating to watch. The highlight of this, if you can call it such, was the vision of the patriarch Moses ascending Mount Sinai in order to (eventually) receive the Ten Commmandments. When Moses beat upon a rock face and called out ‘Lord, what I have left undone‘ Meg called out ‘Your shoelaces‘ Well, the film evoked that source of response. From thence, we descended into a few moments of ‘Carry on Cleo‘ which, must again, be awarded the badge of honour for pure naffdom.

Partygate is rumbling on and when Parliament reconvenes next Tuesday, there may be further developments. The Speaker of the House of Commons, Lindsay Hoyle, is being asked to officially make a ruling whether the House of Commons has been misled by the PM now that at least one conviction (or Fixed Penalty Notice) has been issued. The word on the street in the Westminster village is that the penalty notice served upon Boris Johnson is for one of the most ‘minor’ of the transgressions and there may be more (perhaps about 6) of a more serious scale in the pipeline. In particular, the ‘bring your own booze’ event held in the Downing Street garden on 20 May, 2020 may well have been instigated by Johnson himself. The Sunday Times is reported saying that a gathering in the Downing Street press office did not start as leaving drinks – rather, it was the ‘usual Friday evening wash-up drinks’ But Mr Johnson ‘came fumbling over, red box in tow’, and ‘gathered the staff around the press office table, which did have bottles of alcohol on it and started pouring drinks for people and drinking himself’. A photographer is said to have been present throughout and is believed to have captured pictures of the prime minister. Downing Street source does not dispute the description of the event but denies that Johnson had organised it. Watch this space!