Saturday, 24 September 2016

A Dream of Yesterday

The following poem is based on a dream. Annie's birthday is October 1st. She died on the 13th October 2009. I don't often write poems based on dreams, but this was very vivid, and I hadn't dreamed of Annie for ages although I think of her often. To dream of her was both joyful and bitter sweet.

A Dream of Yesterday

The sky was dark, clouds wreathed the moon
And last night I dreamed of Annie, once again
The time is approaching now, that time so soon
The mountains in the distance, rocks of pain

I did not think why she was there, and alive
Dreaming, nothing questioned, all is real
A land where the past remains to survive
Where the sleeping mind can softly heal

She seemed much younger; I do recall
Almost as if it was the very day we met
And there was no barrier, no final wall
A very comfort when troubles so beset

Last night I dreamed of Annie, in my sleep
And waking, I remember, and I weep

Friday, 23 September 2016

Revolution Club News

Centenier Don Filleul at "The Rev"

From the Catholic Herald 1973 comes this story. If anyone has any memories of the "Revolution Club", please let me know and I can add them her, or if you recognise any of the youngsters in the photo.

Lots of people remember this fondly, and one of my correspondents informs me that the boys in the photo were (but not necessarily in that order as in the photo): Shane Perrier, Travis Olver, Tony Robson, Dave O'Brian and Steve Philpott.

Another correspondent remembers Father Isherwood and Sister Angela from those days at "The Rev" as it was popularly called. She writes:

"Father Isherwood was the main force behind the "Rev" this picture [below] was published in the July 1973 Catholic Record on the occasion of the re-opening of the renovated club.. sadly it is a little grainy. I have a few others of the coffee bar area equally grainy..."

"Father Isherwood RIP was a 'modern' priest and quite trendy and rebellious in his ways.. He was a lovely man... It was him that kept the 'Rev' going in the early days when every one was trying to close it down!"

Father Isherwood

Revolution Club News

Ii is good to make front page news in the local press, especially when there's a photo, and they say nice things about us! Our photo, taken by David Fry, and the block kindly supplied by courtesy of the J.E.P. shows Centenier Don Filleul on his pre-election rounds making social contact with some of the many teenagers who frequent the Club.

As usual, during the summer holidays, we opened up an extra night and did our part in catering for the Island's youth. We are happy to report that more regular contact is being established between the Club members and the police forces, both uniformed and honorary. When the neighbours we a police car parked outside the Club, it does not mean that we have trouble, it just means it couple of officers are probably `inside' having a coffee and a chat (public relations kind!) with the members.

With a regular 250 plus attendance when we open at the week end, we always look forward to welcoming new helpers. If you are between 18 and 81 and are interested in finding out how a well run (no lynching) youth club runs, why not come along  some time between 8 to 10.30 on a Saturday or 8 to 10 p.m. on a Sunday. If you're really ventures some you may even go up to the discotheque and experience a sensation that has to be seen (and felt) to be believed!

We offer one of our Leaders, Frank Marquer and his family, our deepest sympathy on the death of his wife Mary. Although she has been virtually bed-bound for a long time she was very interested in the working of the Club, and didcome down on several occasions, and while at home did sterling work in keeping our filing system in order.

We've had a phone installed! For the use of club members (and parishioners) we've installed a phone in the passage way just outside the coffee bar door. Our number is Central 31904 and is manned during club hours.

Life Boat Appeal: Recent activities of the Jersey Life Boat and her crew have been in the news, as has the appeal for a new, faster life boat. The club has joined in the appeal by sending off a cheque for £50 to the Fund. 

Thursday, 22 September 2016

La Route des Champs

La Route des Champs

For some time now I’ve been looking at speed limits on La Route des Champs in St Brelade.

In 2011, I noted how the consultation on speed limits by TTS didn’t really seem to be looking at inconsistencies with the speed limits.

“What really will improve matters, however, is common sense. The tiny twisting back hill, for example, beside St Brelade's Church, is at the end of a 20 mph zone, and the sign cheerfully says the speed limit for the hill is 40 mph, which obviously would only be safe to a lunatic. This is not an isolated example, but the consultation, with its emphasis on "standardisation", seems to think that making it (presumably) 35 mph would be better!”

I also noted one feature that was problematic with Departmental consultations:

“One thing I noticed where it differs from a Scrutiny review is that the Scrutiny Panel has transcripts of all hearings, and all the written submissions available to read in their entirely. The Transport and Technical Services reports, by contrast, pick and quote only those bits of the consultation submissions that they choose to do so, and do not, as far as I am aware, list the people who have made submissions.”

“This means, on the one hand, that one has no idea where the bulk of the submissions are coming from - the general public, the road lobby, environmentalists, etc and secondly, that those submissions quoted - only in part - for the report - don't show their total context, so that any substantive arguments are reduced to sound-bite quotes, which is rather like those people who cite verses from the Bible in isolation, with no details being given on the context, but which is used to support their case. “

In fact, the consultation by Education on Les Quennevais School (promoted by Education Minister Rod Bryans) last year shows that this can be achieved. It was one in which all submissions were put online and available as a printed copy, only redacted to remove names of those submitting to comply with Data Protection requirements. But a holistic and complete picture was given and showed best practice for future.

Since that my submission in 2011, further reductions in speed have been put in place across the Parish of St Brelade. The whole of the road to Portelet and Noirmont is 30 mph, other areas have been reduced to 20 mph, and the whole of Route Orange has been reduced to 30 mph. That’s a large, wide road, with lots of visibility. The start of La Route des Champs, past the curtain shop, is windy and narrows, with poor visibility, and yet the speed limit on there is 40 mph! That disparity often astounds people, and demonstrates, I believe, why we need a rationalisation of speed limits to ensure consistency and common sense.

So what has happened with La Route des Champs? The Minutes of the Roads Committee (very helpfully supplied to me by Constable Steve Pallett) show that after concerns were raised by a local resident. On Friday 11th May 2007, it was decided at that meeting to implement a ‘ 20mph speed limit from its junction with La Route des Camps /La Route du Sud to its existing 20mph speed limit at Le Mont es Croix.

However no further action was taken of that decision by the previous Constable in consideration that such action would have required both Parish and wider public consultation and would have ultimately required the approval of the TTS Minister at the time (Deputy Guy de Faye). This would have been a lengthy process taking 9 months or more and would not have been considered in isolation. Such a change could have been considered during other speed limit changes during 2011 but was not included.

A petition from residents was made in 2014 to introduce speed bumps to slow traffic. I am not in favour of that for a variety of reasons. While it may slow some traffic, research shows that speed bumps can produce substantial driver discomfort, damage to vehicle suspension, and even loss of control if encountered at too high a speed.

The alternative design, speed humps can make the work of winter maintenance vehicles more difficult and can slow emergency vehicle response speeds. Research shows that speed humps can slow down emergency responders by 6 to 11 seconds, which can be a critical few seconds, especially if there is more than one. Series of traffic delay devices turn seconds of delay into minutes, as vehicles fail to regain cruising speed between the devices. Moreover, the sensitive equipment and injured victims transported by these ambulances requires drivers to slow almost to a stop to negotiate the devices safely.

A study by scientist Ronald Bowman showed that even minor delay to emergency response by calming devices imposed far greater risk on the community than vehicles, speeding or not. Bowman’s analysis, based on the curve of survivability for victims of cardiac arrest and severe trauma (AHA) has been verified by professional mathematicians.

Other factors against the continual change in engine note when vehicles negotiate the bumps that itself can become a source of irritation for residents. Noise levels increase at the bump due to rapid deceleration and noise of the vehicle going over the bump. Researchers of one study estimated that the undulation of cars passing over the speed bumps increased the volume of car noise by 10 to 20 decibels, and for trucks even more.

There are also the resulting problems and additional costs caused when utilities need to dig up the road.

Returning to the petition by residents, these were noted in the minutes of 23rd December 2014 and culminated in the decision to install signage on the 24th September 2015. This signage includes slow signs painted on the road, and two signs warning drivers that the road is about to narrow.

However this is not the end of the story. Constable Steve Pallett informs me that the Parish Roads Committee are in the process of reviewing all the speed limits in the Parish and are due to consult more widely in the Parish very shortly. This will include a Parish Assembly for sign off .This review will include reducing Rue des Camps to a 30mph speed limit in line with criteria set by the Department of Infrastructure.

This is excellent news, and I look forward to the consultation being announced in the near future, perhaps also via the Parish Magazine La Baguette which is an excellent conduit for Parish news stories and consultations, and was used to great effect for the Les Quennevais School consultation.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

The Geography of Alderney – Part 2

My post today is a selection from "The Channel Islands" by David Thomas Ansted and Robert Gordon Latham, published in 1865. Most travel guides look at the population, the sights to visit, something of the history, but this is an exception. It begins by looking at the geography of the Islands, and then considers how it his has shaped their subsequent history, so it is a bit different from the general guidebook.

The Geography of Alderney – Part 2

Although the coast certainly affords the principal objects of interest in Alderney, there are other not trifling matters on the plateau. The town itself is pretty much what might be expected from the circumstances of its origin and growth. A vast multitude of new, small, plain houses, covers the part looking towards the new harbour. There is nothing either in their design or execution, that requires a single remark. There are few public buildings except the new church, and not one of them exhibits anything but the worst style and most vulgar taste, if we except an Independent chapel, now being built, which is creditable, even elegant.

The new parish church, however, forms a marked exception. Placed unfortunately in a depression, and not on the top of the high ground, the massive early English style selected prevents it from being favourably seen, except from one or two points, not easily reached. Thus its noble and severe proportions, instead of being felt as elements of strength and beauty, as they would have been, had the building occupied a commanding position on so small an island in an open sea, now communicate an opposite impression, and some of the best parts of the design cannot be at all appreciated.

Still it is a remarkable building, and does great credit to its eminent designer, Mr. Gilbert Scott. The walls are of island sand-stone, with quoins of Caen stone—a selection much to be regretted, as this latter stone is eminently ill adapted for outdoor work, in such a climate as that of Alderney. Accordingly, although not constructed more than fifteen years, all the faces of these stones on west and south-west exposures, are scaling and falling away.

Except the doors, which want size and importance, and the windows, which, oven for the style, seem extremely narrow, the exterior of this fine church must be regarded as satisfactory, if we exclude from consideration the unfortunate want of adaptation of the building to its site. Within, few modern churches could be pointed out, which show better taste and feeling for the sacred purpose of their construction. Everything here harmonises, and even the smallness of the windows is not objectionable, so soft and well arranged is the light.

A beautiful circular apse, at the extremity of the choir, forms a proper finish, and is connected with the building by an arch of exquisite proportions. The roof is simple and effective, not at all prominent, rather original and very ingenious, while there reigns throughout a mixture of order and variety that cannot but please the most fastidious taste.

The church is a worthy memorial of the family of Le Mesurier, long the hereditary governors of the island; and was erected, with that intention, by the son of the last of the hereditary governors, Lieut. General Le Mesurier.

An extremely fine portrait and good picture, said to be by Opie, representing this active and energetic officer, is suspended in the Court house. It is a picture, remarkable as well for its drawing as its colouring; evidently true to nature, and rendering, without flattery, the higher qualities of the intellect; and this in a manner rarely seen in English art.

Outside the town, and in the open country, away from the cliff, there is not much in Alderney that is interesting to the general tourist. The geologist will find some remarks that may be worth attention, in the chapter devoted to that subject; and, the antiquarian, if also a geologist, may study to advantage a number of supposed cromlechs, which, in comparatively recent times, seem to have been far more perfect than they now are.

In one part of the island, near Fort Touraille l[ater to be re-named Fort Albert following the death of the Prince Consort] , called les Rockers, a common is strewn with a vast multitude of round blocks of granite. These have not really been water-worn, as might besupposed. Similar blocks exist in great abundance, just below the surface. Those standing alone on the surface are probably in situ; but, where several are near together, especially if arranged in any order or heaped one upon another, they have, perhaps, been removed a short distance.

There are few trees in Alderney, except in the two or three small valleys opening to the sea, on the side facing the Channel. Over the whole of the plateau, the land is naked, and divided into long, narrow strips by a few boundary marks; or, at the most, by low stone fences. Near the edge, the ground is usually uncultivated, and is often not very easy to walk upon, as it slopes rapidly, and terminates abruptly in steep and dangerous cliffs.

Alderney is amply supplied with water, obtained from wells in most parts of the island, and from a few small running streams. The water is of good quality.

From Alderney, towards the west, there extend several groups of islands and rocks, with two intervening channels of moderate width and small depth. About a mile from the south-western part of Alderney, but leaving a safe passage of not more than a few hundred yards, extends a large shoal, from which rise several islands and rocks. This shoal is about two and a-half miles from north-east to south-west, and a mile and a-half wide.


The nearest islands, called the Burhou Islands, are almost flat, and of considerable size. One of them is nearly half a mile in length. They are all uninhabited; but a house has been erected on the largest islet, to shelter fishermen and others, who may be driven to land there by stress of weather. The shape of this land is broken and rather picturesque; and a multitude of small rocks run out, at low water, making the length, at such times, nearly three times as great as at high water.

The passage between Alderney and the Burhou shoal, is called the "Passe au Singe," Anglicised into "the Swinge." It is always dangerous, and often unapproachable; and, in the narrowest part, there is barely ten fathoms of water. It is funnel shaped, widest towards the north-east. The width is least between the Burhou Islands and the rocky bay included in that part of Alderney extending from Mont Torgee to the Clonque.

A second similar range of low islets extends behind. Other rocks are continued, at intervals, until we reach the singular and picturesque islet, called Ortach. This rocky mass, well shown in the engraving at the end of this chapter, from a sketch taken about three miles to the south-east, is about sixty feet in height; and is a striking object from the south, being seen, in clear weather, at a distance of upwards of twelve miles. Towards the south, it goes down vertically into the sea to a depth of sixty or seventy feet; but, on the west side, a ledge of rock runs out from it, at a depth of fourteen feet below low water. Not far from it to the south-east, is a concealed rock, called the " Pierre au Vraic," over which the water dashes and foams incessantly, even in the calmest weather.

Between the Burhou islands and Ortach rock, and the rocks farther westward, there is a passage called the Passe d'Ortach, wider and deeper than the Swinge, but even more dangerous, owing to the peculiar set of the tides. This passage separates the shoal already described from the group of rocks terminating with the Casquets.

The latter rocks are very important, from their position in the Channel. They are nearly midway between England and France; and rise abruptly out of deep water, in the direct line of a ship's course advancing up channel, whether from the Atlantic, the Bay of Biscay, or St. George's Channel.

The Casquets group of rocks is about a mile and a-half in length, from west to east, and about half a mile across. The northern islet, which is of conical form, and bears the light towers, is about 100 feet above high water spring tide; the southern islet is much lower, and flat-topped. They both rise rom a mass of rock uncovered at low water, from which rise six other large rocks. To the east the mass extends for some distance, terminating abruply in a large rock, named Cottette Point.

The light-houses are three in number, each having a catoptric light of the first order, revolving, and eclipsed at intervals of twenty seconds. The height of the lights above high water is 113 feet. The lights are visible at sea to a distance of fifteen miles in clear weather. They are seen perfectly in ordinary weather from the high ground of Guernsey, at a distance of twenty miles. A bell is sounded in foggy weather.

The first effective lights at the Casquets were placed in 1790, preceding which date there had been for about eighty years a partial light, at first merely of burning coals, and afterwards oil lights, in a copper frame. Many wrecks are recorded to have taken place upon them before this time.

In spite of the remarkable and distinctive character of the triple light, a Russian man-of-war was lost on the rocks in the beginning of the present century. The circumstances of the wreck are worthy of note. It is supposed that the ship first made the Casquets in coming up channel, so as to keep two in one, retaining this position till she came abreast of the rock. On then opening the third light the pilot discovered his error, and endeavouring to extricate the ship, actually fell into the destruction that had by accident been avoided.

Several banks, some rocks that occasionally appear above water, and some banks of sunken rocks, rising out of deep water to within a few fathoms of the surface, surround the Casquets. These produce a swell and disturbance of the sea at all times, which render the whole group very difficult and dangerous to approach. A little to the north-east of the eastern rocks are the "Pommier" banks, covered with only three or four fathoms water.

There are two landing-places for boats on the Casquets; but there is rarely a possibility of using them, owing to the incessant swell and frequent breaking of large waves. The two landing-places are hardly ever accessible at the same time. The provisions and oil are supplied monthly from Guernsey; but it is always thought right that three months' provision should be kept on the rock. Fish and lobsters are caught around and on the rocks. Water is saved from the rain in cisterns, and there is or was a small spring.*

About a mile and a-half from the Casquets to the S.S.W., is a singular bank of coarse sand, nearly three and a-half miles in length, by half a mile wide, the top of which is more than ten fathoms below the surface, but is a steep ridge, narrow at the top, and bearing about S.S.E. This is generally described as the Casquets' middle or S.S.W. bank, and there is reason to suppose that this direction may have applied to it at the time of Admiral White's survey, although it is now not only very much smaller in extent, but altogether different in position. This ridge is probably one of the results of the peculiar course of the tides, part of the tidal wave sweeping between Jersey and Guernsey, and so through the Swinge and Ortach passage, while another part coasts the island of Guernsey, passing outside the Casquets.

About five miles due south of the island of Alderney, is a very extensive bank and shoal, measuring about seven miles by two, and covered by only ten feet water at the lowest tides. It lies in a direct line between the Race of Alderney, and the entrance to the great Russel. This is the Banc du Schole. It is shifting and very dangerous, as the sea breaks on all parts of it. It is composed of sand, gravel, and shells. It appears to be broadening.

The projecting line of rock extending from the coast of France, near Cherbourg, to the Casquets, may therefore be regarded as a kind of natural gigantic breakwater, forming the northern arm of the great hay in which the main groups of the Channel Islands are contained.

If the sea-bottom, which is in very few parts so much as twenty fathoms deep, were elevated a hundred and twenty feet, the island of Alderney, the Burhou and Ortach group, and the Casquets, would be connected by low land, and form a narrow island about twelve miles long. The eastern extremity of this island would approach within a few miles the coast of France, and it would range nearly parallel to the south coast of England, between Weymouth and the Isle of Wight. Each extremity would rise three or four hundred feet above the sea level, and a hill of similar elevation would be seen about midway, but with these exceptions the land would be low, irregular, and rocky, not unlike the northern parts of Guernsey and Alderney.

Taking, however, the land at the level at which we now find it, this large island is reduced to a multitude of rocks and a few small islands, the fragments of a more extensive district.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

The Muhammadan Bean: Radio Review

The Muhammadan Bean: The Secret History of Islam and Coffee

“I shall mention in passing just one example of a gift from the Arabs that I for one am rather grateful for: coffee -- especially as it was originally banned in Europe as a 'Muslim drink.” ― Jim Al-Khalili

On of the things I love about Radio 4 is its variety. Book of the Week, In our Time, Just a Minute, Afternoon Play are just a few of the delights that await the listener.

Recently I have just been listening to a fascinating Radio 4 documentary about coffee and Islam about which I knew nothing, and speaking to friends, they were in as complete ignorance as I was. This is the summary of the programme:

“It is the second most traded commodity or planet and second only to water as the most consumed beverage. Coffee is the liquid fuel that makes the world go round. Yet, few coffee drinkers realize that they really owe a debt of gratitude to Islamic civilization for truly discovering, cultivating and popularizing coffee. From its very origins, Muslim saints, traders, entrepreneurs and sultans have been at the very heart of coffee's incredible history. In this entertaining and interactive presentation, journalist, activist and coffee obsessive Abdul-Rehman Malik will lead us on a journey from the zawiyas of Yemen to the alleyways of Mecca, from the grand cafes of Istanbul to cobblestones of mercantile London. “

This was a fascinating programme. I never realise that coffee originated in the regions of Yemen and Ethiopia. This was about coffees little know story about its Islamic roots.

There is a wonderful apocryphal tale about the discovery of coffee, dating from around 1671, which is almost certainly false, but it is a great story:

“A 9th-century Ethiopian goat-herder, Kaldi, noticed the energizing effects when his flock nibbled on the bright red berries of a certain bush, chewed on the fruit himself. His exhilaration prompted him to bring the berries to a monk in a nearby monastery. But the monk disapproved of their use and threw them into the fire, from which an enticing aroma billowed, causing other monks to come and investigate. The roasted beans were quickly raked from the embers, ground up, and dissolved in hot water, yielding the world's first cup of coffee.”

In fact, the first recorded mention of coffee comes in the middle of the 15th century, in Yemen's Sufi monasteries. Coffee was being exported from Ethiopia to Yemen, where the traders began to cultivate the bean. The Sufis used coffee as a way of energising themselves during their nocturnal devotions.

Although coffee is now produced in hot climates like Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa, Vietnam and Indonesia, it is not a product of the New World but of the old. And by 1414, it was known in Mecca and in the early 1500s was spreading to Egypt from the Yemeni port of Mocha.

As its popularity grew, coffeehouses specializing in the new drink began to spring up in all the major cities of the Muslim world: Cairo, Istanbul, Damascus, and Baghdad.

Ibn 'Abd al-Ghaffa describes dervish meetings in Cairo in the 16th century:

“They drank coffee every Monday and Friday eve, putting it in a large vessel made of red clay. Their leader ladled it out with a small dipper and gave it to them to drink, passing it to the right, while they recited one of their usual formulas, mostly ‘La illaha il'Allah...’”

John McHugo notes that: “Coffee houses were a new institution in which men met together to talk, listen to poets and play games like chess and backgammon. They became a focus for intellectual life and could be seen as an implicit rival to the mosque as a meeting place.”

As Abdul Malik points out, it was so popular that it was even drunk in the Sacred Mosque of Mecca itself, until the religious authorities issued a fatwa against it in the 16th century:

“With no pubs and inns in sight, coffeehouses would bring about a social revolution within the Islamic world. They were the very first spaces where people of all social classes could come together to discuss news and gossip. Consequently, the drink was persecuted by those in authority.”

But this could not stamp out coffee. All attempts at banning coffee failed even when it involved the death penalty during the reign of Murad IV (1623-40). Religious scholars eventually came to a pragmatic consensus that coffee was, in principle, permissible.

In Europe, coffee was at first denounced as the “Muslim drink” by Catholic authorities but was still made inroads against that tide. As Gregory Elder explains:

“It was Italian merchants who visited the Middle East who brought coffee back to the Christian world, first to Venice and then to other cities. Some Italian religious authorities were suspicious of the Muslim drink. One opponent called coffee the "bitter invention of Satan" and another called it the ‘wine of Araby.’ But in 1600, the matter was taken to the Vatican for resolution. Pope Clement VIII decided to sample a cup before ruling on the matter and pronounced it good.”

According to legend, the Pope sipped the steaming cup of coffee and pronounced: “This devil’s drink is delicious. We should cheat the devil by baptizing it.”!

Shortly thereafter, coffee became all the rage in Italy, and from there spread by other merchants to Germany, Holland and England.”

Abdul Malik found the site of London's very first coffee house and explained how coffee took the capital by storm, leading to a backlash from those who despised the drink they labelled an "abominable, heathenish liquid" and a "bitter Muhammedan gruel".

London historian Dr Matthew Green explains how it came to London and why there was such a backlash::

“Every time you sip a cup of coffee in London, you are participating in a ritual that stretches back 360 years to a muddy churchyard in the heart of the City. London’s first coffeehouse (or rather, coffee stall) was opened by an eccentric Greek named Pasqua Roseé in 1652. While a servant for a British Levant merchant in Smyrna, Turkey, Roseé developed a taste for the exotic Turkish drink and decided to import it to London. People from all walks of life swarmed to his business to meet, greet, drink, think, write, gossip and jest, all fuelled by coffee.”

“Pasqua sold over 600 dishes of coffee a day. Worse still, coffee came to be portrayed as an antidote to drunkenness, violence and lust; providing a catalyst for pure thought, sophistication and wit”

But attempts were made by Charles II to crush them; as places where politics might be discussed, they could be seen as fermenting non-alcoholic sedition:

“By 1663 there were 82 coffeehouses within the old Roman walls of the City. They arose from the ashes of the Great Fire and went on to survive Charles II’s attempt to crush them in 1675. It concerned the king that for a measly one-penny entrance fee anyone could discuss politics freely.”

“By the dawn of the eighteenth century, contemporaries counted over 3,000 coffeehouses in London although 21st-century historians place the figure closer to 550.”

From Ethiopia and Yemen to conquer the Islamic world, and then Europe and the world, the story of coffee is a truly fascinating one, and thanks to this Radio 4 documentary, I feel that I am not quote so ignorant on the subject as I have been before. When I sip my coffee at lunchtime in the cafe, I will remember a debt to those Sufi mystics of long ago and raise a cup to them.

And I'll finish with an extract from Agatha Christie's short story The Harlequin Tea Set, which always captures for me, something of the essence of coffee:

"They have some special Turkish coffee here," said Mr. Quin. "Really good of its kind. Everything else is, as you have guessed, rather unpalatable. But one can always have a cup of Turkish coffee, can one not? Let us have one because I suppose you will soon have to get on with your pilgrimage, or whatever it is."

The Turkish coffee was brought in little cups of oriental pattern. Ali placed them with a smile and departed. Mr. Satterthwaite sipped approvingly.

"As sweet as love, as black as night and as hot as hell. That is the old Arab phrase, isn't it?"

Harley smiled over his shoulder and nodded.

Monday, 19 September 2016

La Baguette - Volunteers needed at Parish Hall Today and Tomorrow

The St Brelade's Bay Parish magazine is just about ready for distribution, after it has been helped on its way by volunteers.

We have a core of regular volunteers, but could really do with more. If you have the time, please try and pop to the Parish Hall at St Brelade today (Monday) or tomorrow Tuesday, any time from 3.00 pm to 9.00 pm. Even an hour's help would be most welcome.

Tea and coffee and biscuits are available!

The process involves folding the magazines in half, ready for putting in plastic sleeves. Once we have them all folded, we also insert any advertising flyers to go out with them, and then "stuff" them into plastic self-sealing sleeves. They are put in large plastic boxes ready to take to Jersey Post for distribution.

Every household in St Brelade receives a copy of La Baguette, so that is a lot of copies of the magazine, which is why we are looking for volunteers to help. St. Brelade has approximately 4,600 households!

Please come along and help - even half an hour would be helpful!

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Simon Whom He Surnamed Peter - Part 28

For the next weeks, my Sunday postings will be a transcript of the book "Simon Whom He Surnamed Peter" by the Jersey historian, the Reverend G.R. Bailleine (1873 – 1966).

Most of Balleine's books are either currently in print - as for example his History of Jersey - or online in the form of PDF versions. This book is not, so this is something different. As well as being a Jersey historian, Balleine was also a priest in the Church of England, and Ministre Deservant at St Brelade's Church for a time

by G.R. Balleine

The following Notes are not exhaustive studies of disputed questions. They merely indicate why, where scholars disagree, the author has adopted one view and not another.


Some say one year (from Passover A.D. Z9 to Passover A.D 30); others say over two. Everything turns on a disputed text in the Fourth Gospel. The Synoptists give little help; but all the events they record could have happened in a single year. The Fourth Evangelist, however, has a definite timetable, based on the Jewish Feasts; and, as no one can suspect this of theological bias, it can be accepted as accurate. Ignoring for a moment the disputed verse, it runs:

16 April, A.D. 29 Passover (ii. 13).
May. `A Feast of the Jews', probably Pentecost (v. I).
October. Tabernacles (vii. 2).
December. Dedication (x. 22).
5 April, A.D. 30. Passover (xi. 5 5).

This would give a one-year ministry. But, when describing the Feeding of the Five Thousand, the Gospel, as we have it, inserts (vi. 4), `Now the Passover, a Feast of the Jews was nigh'.

This puts another Passover half-way between the other two, and would make the Ministry last two years. But Hort, our greatest authority on New Testament readings, believes that the words `the Passover' were a mistaken note inserted by some copyist, and that the text should run, `the Feast of the Jews was nigh', which would then be the Tabernacles mentioned in vii. 2. This question cannot be settled decisively; but modern scholars consider the shorter period the more probable.


In `Matthew' Peter's assertion that Jesus was the Messiah is followed by warm praise, `No human being revealed this to you, but My Father', and three tremendous promises-'Rock you are, and on this rock I will build My Church'; `I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven'; `Whatever you forbid, Heaven will forbid, and whatever you allow, Heaven will allow'. Mark and Luke record Peter's confession; but say nothing of these promises. `John' too does not mention them. Did Jesus really make them?

If He did, they were obviously of immense importance. Why then did Mark, Peter's own disciple, suppress them? Did Q, which Luke had before him, also remain silent? Moreover, if the Primacy was given to Peter in the hearing of all the Twelve, why later do we find them quarrelling as to who was the greatest (Mark ix. 34, Lk. xxii. 24), and James and John asking for the highest places in the Kingdom (Mark X. 37)? In fact Mark and Luke flatly contradict `Matthew'. Instead of being pleased at Peter's confession, Jesus was annoyed. The Greek word epetimesen, here translated, `He charged them' (viii. 30), properly means, `He rebuked', as it is translated elsewhere: Jesus `rebuked the wind' (Mark iv. 39), `rebuked Peter' (viii. 33), `rebuked the foul spirit' (ix. z 5).

`Matthew', the Antioch Gospel (see Note M), contains traditions about Peter unknown to the other Evangelists, e.g. the walking on the water and the coin in the fish's mouth, which were probably stories current in that city. And the Three Promises may be an expression of Antioch's enthusiasm for its first Bishop. To Antioch he seemed the rock on which the Church was built, the holder of the keys of the Kingdom, the lawgiver, whose decisions would never be questioned in Heaven. And in time they came to believe that Jesus had promised this.

The first promise was suggested by the nickname, which Jesus undoubtedly gave him, `Simon He surnamed Peter' (Mark iii. i6). But it seems unlikely that He was thinking of his character when He gave it. Chapter V mentions other possibilities. `Rock' implies firmness, fixedness, absolute stability.

But with all his virtues this was not one of Peter's characteristics. Streeter even calls him a `wobbler'. In Gethsemane he is three times ordered to watch, and three times falls asleep. One moment he boasts about going with Christ to prison and death. The same night he swears, `I do not know the Man'. At Antioch he first shares meals with the Gentiles, then swings to the other side. Jesus was too good a judge of character to call such vacillation rocklike.


Luke and `Matthew' incorporate in their Gospels the greater part of Mark; but each also adds long reports of the teaching of Jesus. In 200 verses these agree so closely, indeed they are often verbatim, that it is obvious that both are quoting the same document.

Scholars have named this Q from the German word quelle, which means `source'. Q is lost, but much of it survives in `Matthew' and Luke.

Q must be later than 69, the date when the son of Barachiah was murdered (Matt. xxiii. 35; Lk. xi. 51), unless this verse is an interpolation; but Q may have Apostolic authority behind it.

About 120 Papias wrote, `Matthew composed the Logia in Hebrew, and everyone interpreted them as he could.' Logia means `sayings'. So Matthew the Apostle apparently took notes of his Master's sermons, and recorded them in Hebrew or Aramaic. Later the author of Q may have translated these into Greek. 

If the author of our First Gospel was known to have based his book on Q's translation of Matthew's Logia, this would explain how Matthew's name became attached to his book. `Matthew,' says Moffatt, `was too obscure an Apostle to be associated by later tradition with a Gospel, unless there was good ground for it.'