Saturday, 13 January 2018

It Was A Long Time Ago

A copy of the 1812 Parish Register of Linby, Nottinghamshire, shows the erasure of the birth register of a male infant believed by most scholars to be fathered by Lord Byron.

A tentative construction made at the actual time of examining this document, bearing in mind contemporary registry formulae might (and very likely does) read:

“Sept 24 George illegitimate Son of Lucy Monk: illegitimate Son of Baron Byron of Newstead Nottingham Newstead Abbey.” - Ralph Lloyd-Jones (Byron’s Servant Relationships)

Descendant and end of the direct bloodline.

A contemporary depiction of Lord Byron and Lucy Monk in oils.

Saturday, 6 January 2018


I suppose for me it was a moment of sudden and great revelation; though at the time I was so slender in years, indeed a mere infant, that I saw it only for what it was - a bright light.

In the darkness. 

The bedroom where I slept had me facing the window, but only night peered in through the panes of glass with glows of gas lamps in the street below. Glows, almost impotent. Dull.  

Increasing brightness arose from within the room. Just slightly to my right. It enlarged.

With intensity.

Then I heard the soft voice. Kind. Beautiful. It was close to my ear, but I saw nobody. One word was whispered. I cannot say after so long how many times. At least three. Maybe five.

Just one word.

I was five. A word that remained with me, and would have more meaning than any other.

A name.

This was my epiphany.

Monday, 25 December 2017

The Last Portrait

I am now of an identical age to that when my mother enjoyed her last Christmas before her expiry the following October on the feast of the Holy Guardian Angels, almost exactly a year after my elevation to the episcopate on the feast of St Francis of Assisi, which, of course, she attended. 

A little over four years ago, indeed on December 13th, I announced my withdrawal from public broadcasting on television and radio. I had long since quit giving print media interviews. By a curious coincidence, the clock (left in the picture) indicates the time as a little after 4.00 pm.

I am not especially fond of formal portraits these days, not recognising always the person I see in them, but acquiesced nonetheless just one last time on Christmas Day. Semi-formally attired and wearing selected decorations, mist and lights were added to an erstwhile dark picture taken just three days after the solstice. This was to indicate perceived aspects of my psyche. The expression I wear is serious, stern even, but hopefully not unkind. 

The whole is immersed in a past time. 

I cast a shadow (as evinced by the silk topper), and quite obviously do not belong to anything other than this world. Yet everything is transient in the world in which I dwell. Including me. Hence this is my last official photographic portrait, and I share it with whomsoever takes an interest in it.