Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Christmas in Essex

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I spent Christmas at Colchester.

As a boy I loved everything about Christmas except going to Mass. Now in middle age that's my favourite part.

The Mass at the Orthodox monastery at Tolleshunt Knights was wonderfully numinous. Afterwards a feast within limits of Advent vegan fast which lasts till Mass on Easter morning. Halva, dry bread, olives, fruit tea. I tried to convince a Romanian architect that Donald Trump had not been installed by omnipotent international Jewry and in fact that he proved that democracy did work. The architect said, as evidence for his assertion, that he knew no-one who supported Trump, but around our table most did. Partly because Trump was concerned about the persecution of Christians in the Middle East. 






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On Christmas morning a Catholic Mass in a charming church but I yearned for the Tridentine Mass. 

I can't but remember how the Second Vatican Council killed Evelyn Waugh. How very sad and understandable. He said that in a more civilised age Hans Kung would have been burnt.

This is the Roman wall. Built 80 A.D. after Boadicea was defeated and the capital of Britain moved to London for greater safety.






Michael Wharton said, when a piece of Roman wall was discovered at York, that he hoped it would be left as it was, unsignposted and unremarked among Edwardian streets, but he knew it would be turned into an attraction. The wall at Colchester does have a board explaining its history but is pretty much ignored by people who walk through the gate as people have done for 1930 years.






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My favourite thing in Colchester is the tower of Holy Trinity Church, Colchester. The reason, apart from its beauty, is that it was probably built in the reign of King Ethelred the Unready, sixty years before the Norman conquest.There are very few buildings in England older than 1066 and even fewer older than Edward the Confessor. This tower was standing when King Canute came to the throne.



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