Tag Archives: planning

2 December: A letter to Doctor Johnson about trees.

Monymusk today has mature trees

Doctor Johnson would have been pleased to receive this letter praising his observations on the lack of trees in Scotland, but his reaction shows how human nature does not like its motivations, nor its indifference, to be challenged. We’ve seen how timber was treated as an ‘extractive industry’ with no eye to grandchildren’s future, leaving bare hillside.

“‘SIR ALEXANDER DICK TO DR. SAMUEL JOHNSON. ‘Prestonfield, Feb. 17, 1777.

Sir, ‘I had yesterday the honour of receiving your book of your Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland, which you was so good as to send me, by the hands of our mutual friend, Mr. Boswell, of Auchinleck; for which I return you my most hearty thanks …

Indeed our country of Scotland, in spite of the union of the crowns, is still in most places so devoid of clothing, or cover from hedges and plantations, that it was well you gave your readers a sound Monitoire with respect to that circumstance. The truths you have told, and the purity of the language in which they are expressed, as your Journey is universally read, may, and already appear to have a very good effect. For a man of my acquaintance, who has the largest nursery for trees and hedges in this country, tells me, that of late the demand upon him for these articles is doubled, and sometimes tripled.

I have, therefore, listed Dr. Samuel Johnson in some of my memorandums of the principal planters and favourers of the enclosures, under a name which I took the liberty to invent from the Greek, Papadendrion (Father of trees).

I am told that one gentleman in the shire of Aberdeen, viz. Sir Archibald Grant, has planted above fifty millions of trees on a piece of very wild ground at Monimusk: I must enquire if he has fenced them well, before he enters my list; for, that is the soul of enclosing. I began myself to plant a little, our ground being too valuable for much, and that is now fifty years ago; and the trees, now in my seventy-fourth year, I look up to with reverence, and shew them to my eldest son now in his fifteenth year. I shall always continue, with the truest esteem, dear Doctor, ‘Your much obliged, ‘And obedient humble servant, ‘ALEXANDER DICK

Johnson observed some weeks later: “Sir Alexander Dick is the only Scotsman liberal enough not to be angry that I could not find trees, where trees were not. I was much delighted by his kind letter.”

Life of Johnson by James Boswell, via Kindle.

More about Sir Alexander Dick here.

More about Monymusk here.

image from Wikipedia by Lecored1

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November 29: Doctor Johnson and the Survival Tree.

The once lone rowan, dubbed The Survivor, near Moffat is now surrounded by emerging native woodland.
The Survivor Tree

More than 200 years ago Dr Johnson was visiting Scotland, and commented often on the desolation caused by the lack of trees. It’s taken the climate emergency for action to be taken but that action is paying off. First, Dr Johnson:
“It is natural, in traversing this gloom of desolation, to inquire, whether something may not be done to give nature a more cheerful face, and whether those hills and moors that afford heath cannot with a little care and labour bear something better?  The first thought that occurs is to cover them with trees, for that in many of these naked regions trees will grow, is evident, because stumps and roots are yet remaining; and the speculatist hastily proceeds to censure that negligence and laziness that has omitted for so long a time so easy an improvement. To drop seeds into the ground, and attend their growth, requires little labour and no skill.  He who remembers that all the woods, by which the wants of man have been supplied from the Deluge till now, were self-sown, will not easily be persuaded to think all the art and preparation necessary, which the Georgick writers prescribe to planters.  Trees certainly have covered the earth with very little culture.  They wave their tops among the rocks of Norway, and might thrive as well in the Highlands and Hebrides.

He that calculates the growth of trees, has the unwelcome remembrance of the shortness of life driven hard upon him.  He knows that he is doing what will never benefit himself; and when he rejoices to see the stem rise, is disposed to repine that another shall cut it down. Plantation is naturally the employment of a mind unburdened with care, and vacant to futurity, saturated with present good, and at leisure to derive gratification from the prospect of posterity.  He that pines with hunger, is in little care how others shall be fed.  The poor man is seldom studious to make his grandson rich.  It may be soon discovered, why in a place, which hardly supplies the cravings of necessity, there has been little attention to the delights of fancy, and why distant convenience is unregarded, where the thoughts are turned with incessant solicitude upon every possibility of immediate advantage.

from “Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland” by Samuel Johnson)

And here is a hopeful story from Scotland; a video clip on a remarkable and inspiring tree being helped out of loneliness.

This is still a good time to plant trees in our neighbourhood.

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31 July, Going Viral XLIV: What to expect on Sunday

Rev Jo has shared final planning with churchwardens to allow worship to take place securely. Similar plans will have been drawn up in churches and chapels across the country and around the world, but this is What to expect on Sunday at St Dunstan’s.

Face coverings: You are advised to wear face coverings; Jo will be wearing a face mask for processing in and out, and administrating communion (along with visor) and a visor for leading and preaching. The service will all be led from the altar, inc sermon.

Arrival: Jo will be outside to welcome you; as you go in we need to take your name and number for the Government track and trace requirements. These are then locked in the safe for three weeks prior to disposing. You will then be advised where to sit

Two-metre social distance: Please always keep social distance, after the service there will be opportunity to chat outside church, keeping socially distanced. There is no coffee or refreshments after the service, you may want to bring bottle of water if warm.

Hand sanitizer: Please use hand sanitizer provided on the way in and out, you are also encouraged to bring your own to use prior to and after receiving communion

Seats: The pews are marked indicating where to sit, with ribbon cordoning off those rows that are not available. If you attend with someone from your household, do sit together. The 8.00 service will be in the Roper Chapel

Collection: The collection will not be taken, but there is a plate at the back of church for donations. We also have facility for on-line donations on our website

Peace: There is no sharing of the peace but do acknowledge from afar from your pew.

Communion will be in one kind only, the wafer. Communicants will come up a pew at a time, maintaining 2-metre distance. Jo will distribute from the ‘cross over’ with arms stretched out and ‘drop’ wafer into your hands. If you have your own hand sanitizer you are encouraged to use it prior to and after receiving communion

Singing: There is no singing during the service, though the organ will be played.

Order of Service: Please leave your Order of Service on the pew (it can self-quarantine for use in three weeks’ time), but take the bulletin with you

Leaving: Please leave the church after the service, a pew at a time, back pew first and refrain from having a chat with people until you are outside the building. Jo will leave and go straight outside with opportunity to chat then.

Recording: The 10.00 service will be live-streamed on Facebook-Live, then uploaded to YouTube, with the camara only focusing on the altar and Jo. Readings and intercessions will only be heard and no one in the congregation will be identified.

Self-portrait of St Dunstan prostrate before the Risen Lord; hope in God and praise him!

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27 July, Going viral XLII: opening doors.

maynards spittal
The almshouses are in the city centre parish and have their own chapel.

Rev Jo is back from her short break and she and her church wardens have their hands full preparing to open their churches.

We had a lovely time away in the beautiful Lake District. The scenery was absolutely stunning, and we managed three lovely walks, along with reading, and playing more board games. 
The government and CofE have issued further guidelines about wearing facemasks in places of worship: “We strongly advise that face coverings should be worn by all those attending a place of worship, including ministers, worshippers, staff, volunteers, contractors and visitors, where there may be other people present; remembering that they are mainly intended to protect other people, not the wearer, from coronavirus COVID-19 and that they are not a replacement for physical distancing and regular hand washing.” 
As we prepare to open St Dunstan’s for Sunday worship on Sunday 2nd August for both an 8.00 and 10.00 Eucharist, just to give us some idea on numbers, if you could indicate if you plan to come; thank you in anticipation. If you are unsure right up till the last moment that is absolutely fine. I know many of you are uncertain and or shielding but we plan to live stream the service at 10.00 on FaceBook Live, then upload to YouTube. Towards the end of the week, we will have photos and advice re ‘what to expect’, but if you do have any queries please don’t hesitate to ask. 
In the meantime, I look forward to taking a wedding at St Dunstan’s later today for a lovely local couple. To have our first service back being a wedding is very special.


Street Pastor Coordinator: We have uploaded onto our website an advert and information for a Street Pastor Coordinator for Canterbury, do look up under resources if this interests you.
Bishop Rose’s sermon from yesterday: https://youtu.be/BrOu39ra5gs

Morning Prayer: https://youtu.be/wUlGfZSXXvQ
In the meantime, please do all keep safe, keep connected and keep praying.

God Bless Jo🙏🙏🙏
Rev Jo Richards

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Going Viral XLI: Rev Jo’s Anglican perspective onthe first step on the road – and Catholic preparations.

From Rev Jo’s daily briefing for yesterday, 12 June. Preparations are afoot to reopen our churches: it’s not just a matter of turning the key.

Good morning everyone, and hope you are well, as we continue to be here at the Rectory. A brief note this morning, as I have a funeral first thing (thank you John for leading Morning Prayer), and then meeting with Mary, churchwarden for St Mildred’s as we go into church to start planning the logistics for worship. Rachel (churchwarden) and I met yesterday at St Peter’s and did likewise. All St Peter’s folk – all is well, and we were working out seating in there – slightly easier as it is chairs. Of course it depends if the government reduces the social distancing from 2 metres. We were there with tape measure working it all out; it is also working out the flow etc – again a steep learning curve for us all! But that is what life is about – they say a lifetime of learning!I will send out service information for Sunday later today, and please access our youtube channel for Morning Prayer.
From today’s psalm: 17: 8 “keep me as the apple of your eye, and hide me under the shadow of your wings”
God Bless, and keep well, keep connected and keep praying. Jo🙏🙏🙏
Rev Jo Richards, Rector of the Benefice of St Dunstan, St Mildred and St Peter, Canterbury

And here is an extract from St Thomas’s Catholic Church in Canterbury, tackling the problems in a different building, and one that traditionally is open for private prayer every day.
REOPENING THE CHURCH From Monday, we have been given permission to open our churches for private prayer. Archbishop John Wilson in his letter to the clergy says “It is imperative that any church which does open is fully compliant with the obligatory prerequisites. It is important to emphasise that this date (15th June) is the date from which Churches may open and not the date on which churches must open. The limitations of particular church buildings, the availability of volunteers, and the requirement of the Risk Assessment, may all mean that some churches, perhaps the majority of our churches, may not be able to open immediately or in the short term”. The Parish Pastoral Council are meeting to finalise our Risk Assessment which will then need to be approved by Canon John O’Toole, the Episcopal Vicar for Kent. This is the first step on the road back to restoring the full sacramental, pastoral, and liturgical life of the Church. Please pray that we can move forward safely. Amen to that for St Thomas’, St Mildred’s and all our church buildings.

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November 13. Remembrance and beyond

southsea

During the Second World War in Britain, while men were fighting and the war effort seemed to be paramount in people’s minds, in the background other politicians and civil servants were drawing up plans for important areas such as housing, health and education. This time it would be a ‘land fit for heroes’. In the event, prefabricated houses and schools were erected with a speed and in numbers never again seen and the National Health Service came into being.

A better housed, better educated and generally healthier population was the result. But planning can only go so far, as the Times Literary Supplement columnist Charles Morgan pointed out.

In all the plans that are made for the life we are to lead, how seldom is there evidence of any wish that life shall be enjoyed: that it shall be safe – yes; that it shall be instructed, equalised, rubbed smooth, supplied with dustless corners and chromium-plated taps; but that there shall be grace or charm or quiet or gaiety or sweetness or light in it, there is among the sterner planners neither hope nor desire. Utility and sameness are their guiding stars … Their ideal is to make of the art of life what a timetable is to a poem.1

He wrote, of course, from a position of privilege, and exaggerates in his last two sentences to make a polemical point. Certainly I have visited prefabs that have lasted nearly three times their planned lifespan, are light and airy, and well loved by those who have made their homes therein. And G.K. Chesterton considered timetables poetic; especially when they work! And what joy, post-war, when such things could be more or less relied on again!

MMB

Portsmouth, largely rebuilt after World War II

1Charles Morgan, Reflections in a Mirror, London, MacMillan, 1944, p.93.

 

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