Answering Victoria’s Call

Photo credit Sarah Whiley

Riding out across the veldt

Answering the call of queen and dominion

Under an African sun and heat oppressive

Far from Aus’ familiar hearth and home

Toiling through the dust and flies

And the Dutchman’s machinations

For duty’s sake they ride on

For the glory of Victoria’s nation


Events That Stay With You

There are events, deeply personal, that stay with you. These may be rather insignificant to others, but to you they are pivotal. A tiny prompt such as a snippet of a song or a chance fragrance on the breeze may call to mind a first kiss, an award, or a million other things may fill your nostalgic heart with joy. The darker emotions too can be raised as well, and anniversaries of the death of a loved one, or other personal tragedy may come unwanted at intervals into your life. These each are our individual but shared lot

The shared impact of mutual experience also stays with us collectively. There are those “where were you when?” moments that seem to unite us. In my life there have been several. I was alive when JFK was assassinated, though I was too young to actually recall it. I do however remember the death of ML King and the unrest that followed; the space shuttle Challenger explosion and the shock of it on the faces of those around me; the death of Diana and the rush of several of my friends and family to London to be part of the collective loss. I can recall vividly my headteacher coming into my classroom to tell me of the 9-11 attacks and the television images of a world in horror. Now, today tens if not hundreds of thousands of people, many of whom have queued for nearly a full day will gather for the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II. Her death is one of those defining moments as well, an event that stays with you.



Roadways built on which to march

To destinations far away

From Britain’s rains to Libya’s sands

They marched from day to day

A network the empire to unite

Helping Rome to have its sway

And while the legions have marched their last

Their roads are with us still today


Titanic Experience Belfast

Titanic Belfast

The Titanic museum in Belfast is an excellent experience. The exhibit is highly detailed and takes you through the history and building of the famous ship.


The “Experience” is £21.50 per adult and there is an additional fee for an audio guide. The headset commentary, however, is wonderful and well worth the extra. Note the headsets help keep you on track through the exhibit, some visitors without this resource tracked back on themselves despite the “rope” on the floor showing the way.

The upper floor gives a view of the construction area and gives a context to the vessel’s size.


This is a huge museum with lots of walking, though mobility scooters and benches, and lifts are available. Highly recommended!

The End


Keeping the Peace

Conflict seems to be a situation that humanity has a hard time avoiding. Jesus said there would be wars and rumours of wars, and that is manifested again and again even in our “enlightened” modern era. What we have tried to do is negotiate resolutions to those conflicts and where necessary “help the process along.” I have friends that have been part of that process (whether for good or for bad) as “Peacekeepers.” They served in Beirut and in Bosnia respectively, and it seems the experience has left more of a mark on them, than they let on those lands.

There have been successes I am sure, but it is the struggles (if not failures) that capture our attention. Below are links to the trailers for three films in which the story of the “Peacekeepers” is given. While they may not be totally accurate in historical terms, they do give an insight.

The first is about the 1961 UN intervention in the Congo, which involved Irish (and other) UN troops.

The United Nations again intervened in the civil war and ethnic cleansing that followed the collapse of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s. It gives a representation of the trials of British UN Peacekeepers in that intervention.

The UN and later the US in support of the UN entered Somalia at approximately the same time as the events in Bosnia. Black Hawk Down tells some of that story.

Hopefully there will come a day when we don’t need military intervention to find “peace.”


A Little Educational Pit-stop

image: Padre’s Ramblings

My wife and I made a pit-stop on our return journey home from Bournemouth in order to visit Stonehenge. It was a cloudy but dry day and had just enough springtime warmth to make the outdoor stop enjoyable.

It had been twenty years since my last visit to Stonehenge. Previously we had parked in a grassy field and bought tickets from a kiosk only a short walk from the stones. When we visited yesterday, we found a paved car park (£5 to park but refunded with ticket – free with our blue badge) and a modern visitor centre with cafe, toilets, and a reconstructed village as imagined from the time period of the construction of the circle. The queue was a bit long for tickets (£20 ticket for seniors), though the annual membership and pre-order lines went faster. As the “new” centre is further from the stones there is more of a walk, though a shuttle bus also is available. The place remains iconic, scenic, and educational.

Wheelchairs are available on site, and the paths are level enough to make decent progress with a walker or said wheel chairs. The shuttle is recommended for those with mobility needs.

There are also a number of benches and picnic tables near the visitor centre.

image: Padre’s Ramblings

image: Padre’s Ramblings

Image: Padre’s Ramblings




We have our traditions

We have our songs

Events and occasions

That help us feel we belong

A few things shared

On which we agree

That set us apart

And make us a “we”

Some say the world

Must by nature change

But hopefully at least a little

Of our shared identity

Will remain



Public Domain

The drums have beat the muster call

To form upon the green

And we shall march to Tilbury

To stand with our queen

We shall see off the Spaniard foe

Who dare defile our land

We for harth and for our church

Will make a heroic stand