Saturday, 31 December 2016

Life Story

Life Story

At the end of the day, sleep
Here the borderlands of life
Shadows of mortality keep
Times of joy, times of strife

A dusk of idols, a falling star
Night closes in, a land of dark
And mists: we look only so far
Fire burning gives brief spark

A crescendo, and a closing note
The music comes to a final end
Pen laid down, last was wrote
A time to rest, not to contend

Each story ends, a new one starts
History the sum of many parts

Friday, 30 December 2016

St Helier in 1953 - Part 2

Today is a brief extract from Stuart Petre Brodie "SPB" Mais's account of a trip to Jersey in 1953. Stuart Petre Brodie "SPB" Mais (1885–1975) was a prolific British author, journalist and broadcaster, and wrote many travel books. Here is a glimpse of Jersey, just post-war, as the tourism industry was starting to take off well, but before the rise of finance.

Above is a picture of St. Helier Harbour between 1951 and 1953, showing BRITTANY berthed alongside ISLE OF SARK taking on fuel. KENTISH COAST is in the Victoria Pier London Boat Berth, and on the New North Quay is a Southern cargo boat in No. 6 Berth and the Weymouth FREDOR in No. 7.

On the South Pier is the newly opened St. Helier Yacht Club clubhouse.

It seems delightfully unspoilt and charming!

SPM Mais – St Helier – Part 2
I discovered that the narrow entrance through which we had steamed this morning lay between the Victoria Pier and Albert Pier which were begun in 1841. Whilst passenger vessels berth at the Albert Pier, cargo steamers always berth alongside the new North and Victoria Piers.

During the five years between 1872 and 1877 two other piers were being built to enclose an enormous expanse of water, one called the Hermitage built from Elizabeth Castle, and the other from behind Elizabeth Castle. The work had to be abandoned owing to the many obstacles that presented themselves.

There are about six miles length of quays, the old Harbour being used almost solely for fishing boats and yachts. The two small basins on the quayside of this Harbour are known as the English and French Harbours respectively. It was here I had seen the yachts this morning.

Above the Harbour on the hill called Mont de la Ville stands Fort Regent which has been fortified for centuries, but the present fort dates from 1806. A vast sum of money was spent on making it impregnable. The well, which supplies 6,000 gallons of water daily, is sunk 232 feet in the solid rock.

The most interesting historical building near St. Helier is Elizabeth Castle which stands on a detached rock some three-quarters of a mile out from the shore and is reached by a causeway which is completely covered at high tide but is available about three hours after high water and remains available for nearly six hours. It takes about twelve minutes to walk across. On the other hand there is an amphibious vehicle (an army DUKW converted to more peaceful uses) that will take you over, whatever the state of the water. The castle is open every day of the week and a charge of sixpence is made for admission.

In the Middle Ages Jersey was continuously ravaged by invaders, and in 1551 was once more attacked by the French under de Bruel who landed a force at Bouley Bay.

As a result of this last raid Elizabeth Castle was constructed for the defence of St. Helier. It was finished in 1594 and in 1600 Sir Walter Raleigh was appointed Governor of the island. During his three years of office he established trading connections between Jersey and Newfoundland and set up the first Public Registry.

In the Civil War Sir Philip de Carteret defended the island for the King, but he was succeeded as Lieutenant-Governor by a Parliamentarian officer called Lydcott who was driven out by de Carteret's nephew, Sir George, who fitted out a number of small armed craft known as the "Jersey Pirates" to harass the Cromwellian ships in the channel.

After Charles I's defeat at Naseby, he sent his son, afterwards Charles II, to Elizabeth Castle in 1646, where he stayed for two months before proceeding to France. He returned after his father's execution and on 17th February, 1649, de Carteret caused the Prince to be declared King.

Meanwhile the "Jersey Pirates" became more and more daring, capturing at least twelve large valuable ships and successfully raiding Dartmouth, Plymouth and other ports.

Admiral Blake appeared with a fleet in 1651 and, after a battle lasting for four hours in St. Ouen's Bay, Sir George Carteret and his Royalist islanders drove them off to try to force a landing elsewhere.

Even when St. Aubin's Castle and Mont Orgueil surrendered, de Carteret held out in Elizabeth Castle which was bombarded from the hill on which Fort Regent now stands.

One shell exploded the powder magazine, as a result of which forty men were killed and the Abbey church was wrecked. As a result of this disaster the garrison surrendered on honourable terms after a siege of eight weeks.

The islanders were less kindly treated and suffered severely at the hands of the Parliamentary forces until the Restoration when Sir George returned to Jersey and another de Carteret was appointed Bailiff and Governor.

During the next hundred years Jersey remained more or less at peace, but in 1781 the Baron de Rullecourt, at the head of a French invasion, made an unexpected landing in St. Clement's Bay, seized St. Helier and forced the Governor, Moses Corbet, surprised in his bed, to sign a document of Capitulation.

The soldiers in Elizabeth Castle, however, refused to surrender, and in reply to de Rullecourt's demands replied: "The English flag flying over our heads reminds us how gallantly their fortress has withstood the attacks of its besiegers, and I have resolved that the honour of its majesty shall never be sullied while I command here."

A young English officer called Major Francis Peirson, who was now in control, said that if the French force did not immediately surrender he would attack it in thirty minutes. At the end of the stipulated period Peirson led his men into the Market Place where he was mortally wounded, but his men continued the struggle and after half an hour completely routed the French forces.

From that day until the German Occupation, Jersey was no longer worried by outside interference.

The Castle was bought by the States of Jersey for £1,500 from the British Government in 1922. After the last war the British Liberation Force restored the Castle to its pre-war state after the Germans evacuated and handed it back to the States.

The lower road of the Castle was built in 1626 and King Charles' Tower added a few years later at the wish of Charles II who had every reason to be interested in the fort which resisted its capture by the Cromwellian forces.

Sir Philip de Carteret, whom I have mentioned, had strengthened the Castle on the outbreak of the Civil War. Lord Clarendon stayed in the Castle from 1646 to 1648 and, while he was there, began to write his famous History of the Rebellion.

The Castle has been modernised from time to time and mainly used as a barracks, the Germans in particular altering it very considerably.

Over the entrance gateway to the Tudor Keep are the arms of Queen Elizabeth flanked by those of the Paulets and the Norreys.

Close to the rock on which the Castle stands is the Hermitage Rock joined on to it by the unfinished break-water. It was here that the hermit Helerius or St. Helier had his cell in the sixth century. He was murdered by the captain of a band of pirates in 559 A.D. who was afraid lest his men should be converted by the Saint's eloquence.

In 1126 a Norman baron, Guillaume de Hamon, built an abbey and a church in his memory on the site of the place where he met his death.

The chapel built over the hermit's cell has three white-washed walls, the fourth or north side being solid rock.

On the other side of the great sweeping bay of St. Aubin is another ancient island fort known as St. Aubin's Castle which lies just off the little harbour of St. Aubin, and which was built in the reign of Henry VIII to protect the town from attacks by sea. These were the days when St. Aubin, now completely overshadowed by its neighbour, St, Helier, was still an important place.

The Fort was rebuilt in 1742 and in the 1920's it was leased to a private tenant, who fitted it up as a house for the summer. Here too the[ Fort is reached by a causeway exposed for two hours after high tide. Visitors are allowed on the island, but not of course inside the walls of the Fort.

I like this idea of living in an island where you can walk ashore at certain times of the day. It must give you a sense; of isolation without feeling that you are completely cut off from your fellow men.

Thursday, 29 December 2016

December Diary and Quotes

December Diary and Quotes

An amusement park in western Japan sparked an uproar after it displayed about 5,000 dead fish in the ice at a skating rink. Nothing like that in ours, only the deep frozen remains of politicians promises about Fort Regent.

Luck had a visit to a client end at around 1pm near Heather and Mark Amy at La Chasse, so was able to pop round first time in ages for a cup of tea and a nice chat, and see the dogs, all looking very healthy and happy! John Amy had popped in too at the same time. Heard from Mark that the large steam engine is nearly mended, hurrah!

And so to bed... quote for tonight is from Susan Cooper:

And the mist that men called the breath of the Grey King came creeping down out of the pass and down the side of the mountains, rolling and curling and wisping, concealing all it reached, until at the last it cut oh every one of them from the rest. A rustling, flurrying sound came out of the mist, but only Will saw the great grey forms of the ghost foxes, the milgwn of the Brenin Llwyd, come rushing headlong down the mountain, and plunge into the dark lake, and disappear.

Very well behaved party of 14 girl guides with their leaders came to Astronomy Club house tonight where Neil Mahrer provided good viewing on the telescope and I did my introduction to astronomy presentation. Moon visible, and earlier Venus had been shining brightly in night sky.

And so to bed... quote for tonight is from Barack Obama:

We will need to understand just how we got to this place, this land of warring factions and tribal hatreds. And we will need to remind ourselves, despite all our differences, just how much we share: common hopes, common dreams, a bond that will not break.

Heavy evening sorting out Christmas cards and newsletters, about 90% of them done ready for posting. Amazing how long it takes to do and I send far less cards than I used to!

Locals are warned to look out for bird flu symptoms, one of which is “Swelling of the head”. Should we get the States vet in to check over some States members?

Got magazine History of Royals by mistake as it has similar cover to BBC history. But fascinating on fate of Romanovs. DNA testing proved that "Anna Anderson" was not Anastasia but Franziska Swanskovska. I must have missed that story when it came out. I remember watching the film, which left matters very ambiguous.

Just been watching The Sky at Night review of main stories in last year, fascinating stuff. Planet 9. Juno Probe to Jupiter. Gravitational waves.

We had an enjoyable quiz with mince pies and alcoholic or non-alcoholic warm mulled wine tonight at the Jersey Astronomy Club! If you want to try the quiz, the quiz and answers can be found at our website.

Written up second part of David Christie's family story and about to start on the third and final part. 470 words.

Finished Part 3 of La Baguette piece on David Christie and off for a well-earned cup of tea! 480 words.

And so to bed... quote for tonight is from Homer:

Like leaves on trees the race of man is found,
Now green in youth, now withering on the ground:
Another race the following spring supplies,
They fall successive, and successive rise:
So generations in their course decay;
So flourish these, when those are past away.

Venus bright and beautiful in evening sky. Jupiter bright in dawn sky. A good time for two of the brightest planets.

Office party on Friday, and for those unfortunates sitting next to me, some Astronomy Quiz questions!

Off for walk in the fog!

Another very Foggy day! But change is on the way, and it will be a Compo Day on Monday, Clegg on Tuesday, while Wednesday's weather will go Nora Barry.

“In the morning I woke like a sloth in the fog.”
― Leslie Connor, Waiting for Normal

Christmas Approaches. Tis the Season to be Ironing! Yes, Sunday night again, and the old ironing board is up!

A brilliantly good Midsomer Murder. Since Neil Dudgeon has taken over from John Nettles, what was a rather tired and cliched series has revived to sparking new life.

Body count going up in Midsomer, but saddest thing was burial of Sykes, the dog.

And so to bed.. quote for tonight is from Pete Crowther:

From dawn this misty
morning we have heard
the doleful calling of the distant
foghorn warning all the sailors
of the dangers on the waters of the deep.
Would that we likewise were warned
when dangers loom and threaten
to destroy, when wars, disease and greed
weigh down their woes upon us
and we find that we are blinded
by the cold and clammy fogs
of ignorance, intolerance and hate.

Alas, our foghorn was decommissioned and is not to be replaced.

Wrapping presents and watching Sleeping Murder. Joan Hickson is still the best Miss Marple, although Julia McKenzie comes a close second.

And so to bed... quote for tonight is from Roman Payne:

It is growing cold. Winter is putting footsteps in the meadow. What whiteness boasts that sun that comes into this wood!... How coldly burns our sun! One would say its rays of light are shards of snow, one imagines the sun lives upon a snow crested peak on this day.

Came across a Dave Allen joke, about the Church of Ireland (Anglican) vicar in Belfast and his Catholic charwoman, who kept calling him "Sir".

"I wish you wouldn't call me Sir"

"Well, what shall I call you then, Sir?"

"What do you you cal your own, ahem, priest?"

"I call him Father, Sir"

"Well call me Father too, then."

(Rev. leaves the room)

"What, him a Father with a wife and six kids!"

Watched Armando's Tale of Charles Dickens while wrapping presents. Very good documentary.

And so to bed... quote for tonight is from Dejan Stojanovic:

A dying star is happy
It brightens
Sending its gleam and a good sleep wish
To itself
When the star dies, its eye closes
Tired of watching,
It flies back to its first bright dream

Watched a Rosemary and Thyme set in a Cathedral. I've never seen that one before - nice to find just one episode that was missed! The cathedral used in this episode is at Chichester, in Sussex. It's very beautiful, both outside and inside.

And so to bed... quote for tonight is from W. S. Merwin:

This is what I have heard
at last the wind in December
lashing the old trees with rain
unseen rain racing along the tiles
under the moon
wind rising and falling
wind with many clouds
trees in the night wind.

The new shop replacing BHS has a sale on - some sale! Still hugely pricey! I shan't be shopping there! £130 reduced from £175! I could eat for a week on the price of jumpers.

And so to bed... quote for tonight is from Dietrich Bonhoeffer:

In ordinary life we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.

And so to bed... quote for tonight... actually early Christmas morning at 1 am  - is from Steve Maraboli:

Want to keep Christ in Christmas? Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, forgive the guilty, welcome the unwanted, care for the ill, love your enemies, and do unto others as you would have done unto you.

Christmas TV so far: Dr Who. Brilliant. Less continuity heavy, and a great tribute to the Superhero films of the past, especially the first Superman movie. Aliens, suspense, and humour. Something for everyone!

Christmas TV so far: The Toys that Made Christmas. An interesting romp through yesteryear - although Lego is still with us today! Thankfully Mutant Ninja Turtles have gone.

Christmas TV so far: caught up with an old episode of the Vicar of Dibley - the Nativity one. Alice's favourite Christmas song: the one by the Wombles. You do know that Uncle Bulgaria is played by a man? What happened to him? Alice, Uncle Bulgaria is kept in a box. He's dead?! And the classic "King Herod, we love you" line. And many more.

Tried 20 minutes of Witness for the Prosecution. Turgid, and really hard going. Gave up. Watched 10 minutes of Maigret before bed, and absolutely gripping; looking forward to see the rest. Witness for the Prosecution had unbelievable characters. Maigret had a real atmosphere, and characters you could believe were real.

Watched Christmas Top Songs compilation. And there is George Michael, in Wham. And he's gone now, so suddenly. Very sad.

And so to bed... quote for tonight is from Ally Condie:

Writing, painting, singing- it cannot stop everything. Cannot halt death in its tracks. But perhaps it can make the pause between death’s footsteps sound and look and feel beautiful, can make the space of waiting a place where you can linger without as much fear. For we are all walking each other to our deaths, and the journey there between footsteps makes up our lives.

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

2017 Retrospective: January Part 2

2017 Retrospective: January Part 2

Big decisions, Small Mind?

The word lilliputian has become an adjective meaning "very small in size", or "petty or trivial". When used as a noun, it means either "a tiny person" or "a person with a narrow outlook, who minds the petty and trivial things." (Wikipedia)

In September 2015, Amy Vatcher met with Privileges and Procedures Committee to discuss holding the Jersey Youth Parliament meetings in the States Chamber. She argued that it would give an appropriate status to the organisation, which she hoped would become the representative body of the Island’s young people.

She advised that the Jersey Youth Parliament would like to hold approximately 4 plenary meetings a year, to take place preferably on Saturday mornings. The meetings would last around 4 hours

The committee was impressed by the enthusiasm of the representatives and felt that they were aware of the issues that needed to be dealt with before they could be allowed to use the States Chamber. As a first step, the Committee agreed to consult the Bailiff, as President of the States, on the matter before taking a final decision.

However, after the meeting of 13 October, the Bailiff was called upon to give his decision, and the Committee acquiesced in his negative attitude.

His comment: “the use of the States Chamber in this way by external parties could, potentially, diminish the standing of the Chamber”

As one young person said, it gets very tiring to have politicians say “’The youth must get more involved in politics!’ just to have this thrown at our face.”

I don’t think the Chamber’s standing was diminished by this decision, but the Bailiff’s certainly was.

Subsidiarity and Participation

“The teaching of the Church has elaborated the principle of subsidiarity, according to which a community of a higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of a lower order, depriving the latter of its functions, but rather should support it in case of need and help to co-ordinate its activity with the activities of the rest of society, always with a view to the common good.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church)

A blog on the idea of subsidiary, of not centralising that which does not need to be centralised, and looking at the Parish as an example:

"The Parish is an excellent example of that principle. It raises money from the rates to cover expenses, and is run as a very tight ship. Being smaller than the State, it can be more efficient than the States."

"The recent consultation on property taxes, which is still lurking on the Council of Ministers agenda, would take rates from the Parishes and put them in the hands of an official, centralised authority. Instead of people giving time on an honorary basis as Rates Assessors, we would have a civil service pyramid, and rates would almost certainly increase as a result of the paid bureaucracy."

A Loose Canon in Jersey

Was there an open election? I asked.

He tut-tutted impatiently. There cant be an open election. Bishops are seen as part of the apostolic succession.

Not being a churchgoer, I asked for an explanation.

Its Gods will. When Judas Iscariot blotted his copybook he had to be replaced. They let the Holy Ghost decide.

I was mystified. How did he make his views known?

By drawing lots, said Peter.

So cant we let the Holy Ghost decide this time? I asked, looking for a way out of this awkward decision.

Peter and Bernard looked at each other. Clearly my suggestion was not on. Bernard tried to explain. No one, he said, is confident that the Holy Ghost would understand what makes a good Church of England bishop.

(The Yes Prime Minister Diaries)

Gavin Ashenden has now left Jersey, although he still has an occasional piece in the JEP, somewhat toned down from his online persona, as they refused to publish an especially vitriolic attack on Islam.

“In a way, Gavin Ashenden would like to turn the clock back to a more uniform church, where dissenting views would be silenced. Whether those sorts of views should have what appears to be largely unchallenged airtime is another matter.”

In an open blog directed to the Archbishop of Canterbury, he stated: “Your successor as Archbishop stood in the House of Lords to praise the couplings of the homosexuals. It didn’t matter to him that they were biologically sterile and pursued romantic and sexual values that Holy Scripture warned against."

This is language designed to look neutral, but to insult. Would he speak about “praising the couplings of elderly heterosexuals, even though they are biologically sterile”? When put like that, the venomous and polemic nature of the language becomes apparent.

He has recently said that the Church of England: “Overthrew 2,000 years of apostolic teaching, and ordained women into the place of the Bishop and priest, the representatives of the risen Christ at the Eucharist, saying that gender was of no consequence in the narrative of salvation.”

Gender certainly was of consequence in the narrative of salvation. It was men who had fixed ideas and a determination to suppress anyone who threatened them who determined that Jesus should be taken to Pilate for crucifixion, it was men who followed Jesus and ran away in abject fear when the soldiers came. And it was women who followed Jesus and stayed close to the cross, weeping, as he died.

I’m not sure if that is quite the lesson that Gavin Ashenden would like to draw, but there's a very clear lesson in those scriptures he keeps citing.

Waterfront: The Tangled Web.

Bernard: But surely the citizens of a democracy have a right to know.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: No. They have a right to be ignorant. Knowledge only means complicity in guilt; ignorance has a certain dignity. (Yes Minister)

By the sleight of hand of moving the building to the south so that it is now magically outside of the 50 metre rule which is part of the basis for the appeal they think that they will bypass the appeal process completely.

In addition to this extra cost they have also announced through their statements within these planning documents for building 5 that they intend to progress with plans for the next Phase - Buildings 3 and 6. The costs for progressing through all the stages required for planning for each of these buildings amount to about £2Million per building so very soon they will have amassed professional/planning costs of nearly £8Million for buildings 3,4,5 and 6 but still have only UBS as a prelet for a mere 25% of ONE building.

We now know, of course, how they managed to raise the money. They put other land at the Waterfront – that earmarked for a hospital – as security against the loans – and didn’t manage to tell either Scrutiny, the general public, or the hospital development team.

In Camera Debates

"The Official Secrets Act is not there to protect Secrets, it is there to protect Officials." (Yes Minister)

I looked in this blog at the number of debates, and how appointments in Guernsey are debated openly, but secretly in Jersey.

Also the requirement of some debates to be held “in camera” led to one over the suspension of Graham Power to be held “in camera”. This meant that whatever was said could not be contradicted in any way, however, because a transcript of the debate was leaked.

In it, a currently elected Deputy Andrew Lewis stated this:

"As far as the accusation you raise about the Metropolitan Police, when I saw the preliminary report I was astounded. So much so that my actions, I believe, are fully justified. If the preliminary report is that damning, Lord knows what the main report will reveal. So my successor will have an interesting time. The report that I was shown gave me no doubt at all."


“I have read an alarming report from the Metropolitan Police which led me to this decision in the first place.”

The Napier report on the suspension, which took statements from Mr Lewis, but which was published before the leaked “in camera” debate, stated that:

"As previously has been noted, neither Mr Lewis nor Mr Ogley saw the Interim Report [from the Metropolitan police]. Neither did they seek to see it."

This should be evidence enough that “In Camera” debates poison the well of public trust in the States.

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Miracle on 34th Street

One of my favourite Christmas films. Here's a selection of snippets gleaned from other sites about the movie.

Miracle on 34th Street
"For the past 50 years or so I've been getting more and more worried about Christmas. It seems we're all so busy trying to beat the other fellow in making things go faster and look shinier and cost less that Christmas and I are sort of getting lost in the shuffle."

"I don't think so. Christmas is still Christmas."

"Oh, Christmas isn't just a day. It's a frame of mind."

--Kris Kringle / Doris

Valentine Davies got the idea for the script while struggling through the Christmas shopping crowds, trying to find a present for his wife. The commercialism he saw made him wonder what the real Santa Claus would make of it all.

Despite the fact that both Macy’s and Gimbels figure prominently in the story, the studio took a gamble by not getting the companies to sign off before using their names. According to TCM, the studio made the companies aware they were going into production, but refused to share footage until filming was completed. Luckily, both department stores were satisfied with the final product.

The rivalry between department stores Macy's and Gimbels depicted in the film was very real. The two stores were just blocks from each other in New York and major competitors for the same business. The rhetorical question "Does Macy's tell Gimbels?" was a popular phrase used throughout the 1930s-1960s which meant that business competitors are not supposed to share trade secrets with one another.

Despite being a Christmas movie, Fox’s studio head pushed for the film to be released in the summer. “[Darryl] Zanuck wasn’t sure it would be a success, so he had it released in June, when movie attendance is highest, rather than wait for Christmas,” wrote O’Hara in her autobiography ‘Tis Herself. “In fact, the publicity campaign barely talked about Christmas at all.

It received a 'B' rating (morally objectionable in part) from the highly influential Catholic Legion of Decency because Maureen O'Hara played a divorcée.

Macy’s closed early so its 12,000 workers could see the film. This was reported in Hedda Hopper’s May 3, 1947 “Looking at Hollywood” column.

The parade scene was entirely real, and Maureen O’Hara’s autobiography proves it. “Those sequences, like the one with Edmund riding in the sleigh and waving to the cheering crowd, were real-life moments in the 1946 Macy’s parade,” she wrote. “It was a mad scramble to get all the shots we needed, and we got to do each scene only once. It was bitterly cold that day, and Edmund and I envied Natalie and John Payne, who were watching the parade from a window.”

Percy Helton, who played the drunk Santa, was also in White Christmas (1954), where he played the train conductor

Natalie Wood was eight years old while filming Miracle on 34th Street. “I still vaguely believed in Santa Claus,” said Wood, as recorded in her biography written by Suzanne Finstad. “I guess I had an inkling that maybe it wasn’t so, but I really did think that Edmund Gwenn was Santa. I had never seen him without his beard because he used to come in early in the morning and spend several hours putting on this wonderful beard and moustache. And at the end of the shoot, when we had a set party, I saw this strange man, without the beard, and I just couldn’t get it together.”

Edmund Gwenn improvised his reaction to the beard-pull so that Natalie Wood would be surprised.

Natalie Wood shot two movies simultaneously. The production schedules of Miracle on 34th Street and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir had some crossover, which meant mornings had the young actress playing Susan Walker and the afternoons playing little Anna Muir.

One of the memorable moments in the film is when Kris Kringle fills out his employment card. In addition to listing the North Pole as his birthplace and all of his reindeer as his next of kin, Kringle gets clever with his DOB. He writes: “I’m as old as my tongue and a little older than my teeth.” The saying famously comes from Irish satirist Jonathan Swift.

On Kris Kringle's employment card, he's listed the names of Santa's Reindeer as his next of kin. While Donner is used frequently, the correct name as it appears in a hand written manuscript by Clement Clarke Moore is actually Donder, and that's how it appears on Kris Kringle's employment card.

The song that the little Dutch girl sings is "Sinterklaas Kapoentje, Leg wat in mijn schoentje, Leg wat in mijn laarsje, Dank je Sinterklaasje!" One translation is "Saint Nicolas Little Rascal, Put something in my little shoe, Put something in my little boot, Thank you little Saint Nicolas!" The Dutch girl spoke true Dutch, but with a heavy American accent.

The little Dutch girl’s Christmas wish was already granted. When she sits on Santa’s lap, no subtitles clue viewers into their conversation. But when Santa asks the child what she wants for Christmas, she says she wants nothing now that she’s gotten her adoptive mother.

When Dr. Pierce explains Kris' belief that he is Santa Claus, he offers for comparative purposes a Hollywood restaurant owner who believes himself to be a Russian prince despite evidence to the contrary, but rather conveniently fails to recall the man's name. This was a reference to Michael Romanoff, owner of Romanoff's in Hollywood, a popular hangout for movie stars at the time.

Unusually, there were two Christmas films nominated for Best Film at the 1947 Academy Awards--this and Henry Koster's The Bishop's Wife (1947). They join It's a Wonderful Life (1946) the year before as only three Christmas movies to be nominated for this coveted prize.
Miracle on 34th Street won three Academy Awards. One was for Best Screenplay, one for Best Original Story, and the last for Best Supporting Actor Edmund Gwenn in the role of Kris Kringle. In his acceptance speech, Gwenn cheered, “Now I know there’s a Santa Claus.”

In her autobiography, Maureen O'Hara nicely summed up what the film had come to mean to her over the years. "Everyone felt the magic on the set and we all knew we were creating something special," she said. "I am very proud to have been part of a film that has been continually shown and loved all over the world for nearly sixty years. Miracle on 34th Street (1947) has endured all this time because of the special relationship of the cast and crew, the uplifting story and its message of hope and love, which steals hearts all over the world every year. I don't think I will ever tire of children asking me, 'Are you the lady who knows Santa Claus?' I always answer, 'Yes, I am. What would you like me to tell him?'"

Monday, 26 December 2016

2017 Retrospective: January Part 1

2017 Retrospective: January Part 1

The People’s Park

Hacker: Humphrey, do you see it as part of your job to help ministers make fools of themselves?
Sir Humphrey: Well, I never met one that needed any help. (Yes Minister)

People’s Park: Removal From List Of Sites Under Consideration For Future New Hospital: Proposition by Simon Crowcroft

THE STATES are asked to decide whether they are of opinion to request the Minister for Health and Social Services to remove People’s Park from the list of sites under consideration for a future new hospital.

In the end, the proposition never went to the States as at the 11th hour, Senator Andrew Green, having counted the votes against arriving in his email in-box, decided to withdraw the People’s Park from the list of options.

“We listened to the people” has to be one of the most feeble excuses ever heard in politics. It was clear that it was only the votes counting against them that led to the retraction: had they gone the other way, as happened with the Waterfront, the protests would have been ignored.

Second to that as a feeble excuse has to be "I haven't made up my mind yet", after the People's Park appeared as one of four options.It clearly emerged that it was really the preferred option, and later that one other site - the Waterfront - was secured against a loan by the States of Jersey Development Company for their buildings on the finance centre.

I almost expected to hear the Senator say: "I have a cunning plan.." when he announced the site most people had probably wanted in the first place, albeit with a few significant differences which the media mostly ignored, much to the chagrin of the good Senator..

The corroboration rule: how Sir Philip changed his mind

"Passage of time and separation from official records have perhaps clouded his memory” (Press Secretary Bill Pritchard, Yes Prime Minister)

What was the rule regarding corroboration? It meant the judge would give the jury suitable instructions along the following lines:

The standard direction on corroboration evidence in cases of sexual offences, with appropriate adaptations to suit the circumstances of each case, would be on the lines of: "Experience has shown that people who say that sexual offences have been committed against them sometimes, and for a variety of reasons, tell lies. Such false allegations are easy to make and frequently very difficult to challenge, even by an entirely innocent person. So it is dangerous to convict on the evidence of the complainant alone unless it is corroborated, that is independently confirmed, by other evidence . . ."

Sir Philip Balhache, giving evidence to the care enquiry, said:

“If there were evidence that a crime had been committed one would be straining to bring a prosecution. I don't believe the requirement was a barrier that prevented us from prosecuting more cases of child abuse.”

But looking back at the States Minutes....

“H.M. Attorney General [Philip Balhaiche] observed as a matter of principle that the issue of corroboration might be significant in the context of individual cases. In this context he highlighted the current requirement in Jersey Law for a judge to give a corroboration warning to juries in cases where the evidence relied upon that of an accomplice, in sexual cases, and in cases where the complainant was a child. “

"I am not sure that I can give Deputy Le Hérissier any specific information about the number of cases which have led to convictions in other jurisdictions as a result of the changes in the corroboration rules, but logic would suggest that the absence of the requirement for corroboration has made it easier to bring guilty men to justice and I cannot, I am afraid, say more than that."

Quality Advertisers!

“They can stop us calling it a sausage. It'll be called the emulsified high-fat offal tube!” (Yes Minister)

A JEP article on Sandpiper bringing “Burger King” to Jersey described it as a “quality franchise”. I wonder how much advertising revenue came indirectly from that promotion?

Sarah Muntel, a registered dietician, writing for “Obesity Action” noted this:

Burger King Whopper: 670 calories and 40 g of fat
Medium fries: 380 calories and 19 g of fat

“These foods are highly processed, full of fat, calories and sodium. You could easily take in 1,500 calories from just one meal alone. Keep in mind that a general caloric recommendation for Americans is 1,500-1,800 calories per-day and around 50-60 grams of total fat. Choosing a typical fast food meal every day can lead to increased calories which can lead to weight gain and can lead to other health conditions like heart disease.”

You can't get quality obesity like that elsewhere!

The New Rural Economy

James Hacker: All we get from the civil service is delaying tactics.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Well, I wouldn't call civil service delays "tactics", Minister. That would be to mistake lethargy for strategy. (Yes Minister)

I came across this:

Project: A draft Food Security Strategy for the States of Jersey
Client: Department of the Environment, States of Jersey

I have not been able to track down this document which sets out:

• To secure the availability of food
• To secure the affordability of food
• To secure the ability to produce food
• To secure against supply shocks.

As the client is “Department of the Environment”, I ask for sight of this document from the Department of the Environment, or details of when they plan to make it public? Or if it is not complete, the estimated time for its completion and submission to the States of Jersey?

A Freedom of Information request revealed this:

"A draft food security strategy is being prepared and will be integrated within the new Rural Economy Strategy (RES) due to be published in Autumn 2016."

I rather think Autumn 2016 has come and gone and still so sign! Or perhaps for the Department, it is rather like the Moody Blue's song "Forever Autumn"?

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Christmas Venite

For this Sunday, a poem by John V Taylor.

Christmas Venite

Let not my humble presence affront and stumble
your hardened hearts that have not known my ways
nor seen my tracks converge to this uniqueness.
Mine is the strength of the hills that endure and crumble,
bleeding slow fertile dust to the valley floor.
I am the fire in the leaf that crisps and falls
and rots into the roots of the rioting trees.
I am the mystery, rising, surfacing
out of the seas into these infant eyes
that offer openness only and the unfocusing
search for an answering gaze. O recognize,
I am the undefeated heart of weakness.
Kneel and adore, fall down to pour your praise:
you cannot lie so low as I have been always.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

The Fall of Aleppo

The Fall of Aleppo

The Assyrian armies swept the plain:
Brought heartbreak, destruction, pain;
And Persia stretched forth mighty arm,
To bring conquest, tribute, harm;
And of all the centuries passed away,
This is still a burning judgement day,
And lessons learnt: none. Mankind same:
Wars fought for territory, no hint of shame;
Now buses burn, and no one can leave,
And sick and injured, in mercy grieve;
Hungry, deserted, clinging to hope,
Somehow find the strength to cope;
The fighting fierce, a storm of shells,
Creating on earth, these pocket hells;
Bloodstained, always innocent hurt:
A town left in rubble, of dust, of dirt;
The destruction that wastes at noon:
Won’t someone do something, soon?
A pestilence that walks in darkness:
The ruined hospital in all its starkness;
No sanitation: the plague comes by day,
Still the people cannot leave, but stay;
When will there be peace in this place,
And mercy show a human face?
Surely the time is now: need so great:
Tortured land, the time so very late;
Hope in ruins, and the fall of the city:
Burning, burning, come take pity.

Friday, 23 December 2016

St Helier in 1953 - Part 1

Today is a brief extract from Stuart Petre Brodie "SPB" Mais's account of a trip to Jersey in 1953. Stuart Petre Brodie "SPB" Mais (1885–1975) was a prolific British author, journalist and broadcaster, and wrote many travel books. Here is a glimpse of Jersey, just post-war, as the tourism industry was starting to take off well, but before the rise of finance.

The stone-mason who is mentioned in connection with carving a V in the Royal Square was Brittany-born Roman Catholic, Joseph Le Guyadier who also was responsible for an anchor in the granite (to celebrate a British victory in a Naval engagement) in the Sacred Heart frontage.

It seems delightfully unspoilt and charming!

SPM Mais – St Helier – Part 1

We Arrive in Jersey-

St. Helier and Elizabeth Castle

At six o'clock the steward brought round tea and I went on deck to find a grey forbidding morning with little visibility and light rain, while the sea had roughened considerably.

At 6.30 precisely we docked at St. Peter Port and the Guernsey passengers in their anxiety to get ashore at the earliest possible moment were already queueing. I must leave any description of St. Peter Port and Guernsey until my visit to those places.

The most important thought for the moment was food. We had a good breakfast at seven o'clock for 4s. each, of cereals, egg and bacon and coffee. As we left St. Peter Port and came out of the shelter of the island the wind had freshened. We soon began rolling among the white horses, but it didn't affect me at all, in spite of the fact that I invariably get into a panic lest I should be seasick when the sea is rough.

We passed the long line of Sark and looked back at the gap between Herm and Guernsey. Soon I descried the low long coastline of Jersey, and within another three-quarters of an hour or so we were passing close to La Corbière Lighthouse-close enough to watch the sea spray dashing over its surrounding rocks.

We sat in the sun in the smoking-room and watched a small child play gleefully with an enormous balloon. At 8.45 we passed very close to the St. Julian churning her way towards England. She was pitching badly.

I was both pleased and surprised by the wide expanse of fine sands that I saw in the bays that lay behind the granite rocks and cliffs of the island. We passed the bell tower of Noirmont Point and then the wide bay of St. Aubin, whose shores and hills are dotted with handsome white houses.

At 9.15 we were in port at St. Helier moored to the Albert Pier. Here we were met by the porter of the Ommaroo Hotel. There must have been fifty different hotel buses from all parts of the island waiting on the quay-side.

I was favourably impressed by this cheerful town at the outset. The bright green of the hotels by the Weighbridge gave us the immediate feeling that we were going to enjoy our stay-though what their impact may have been on any unfortunates who may have been seasick, I hesitate to speculate.

We drove the long detour round Fort Regent to our hotel which was on the Havre des Pas facing the swimming pool and the low reefs of the picturesque rock-strewn bay.

There were crowds of visitors sitting on the veranda in the morning sunshine and wandering vaguely up and down the front steps. They one and all gave us the distant and rather suspicious surveillance reserved for new arrivals, little suspecting indeed the real sinister purpose of our visit.

After unpacking, we walked along to the town about a mile or so away, first of all past a series of newly painted and obviously prosperous cafes, restaurants and boarding-houses, then along the La Cobette Walk skirting the rocks of the headland, amongst which a man with a horse and cart was energetically gathering seaweed, and so back by the road overlooking the harbour, where we could again see the Isle of Guernsey at the distant quay-side. I was impressed by the number and variety of yachts and other small craft in the nearer inner harbour.

So, already vested in holiday mood, I called at the Tourist Information Office at the Weighbridge, where I was told that the States were sitting, so we decided to listen to this Island Parliament in session.

"The States", which acts as the General Council of the Island of Jersey, consists of fifty-four persons-a Bailiff, twelve Senators, twelve Constables and twenty-eight Deputies. The Dean, as head of the Church, is an ex-officio member but is not allowed to vote. The two Crown Officers, Attorney-General and Solicitor-General, may speak on questions of law, but may not vote.

This Parliament, which is a completely independent body, is presided over by the Bailiff. The Bailiff, whose salary is £2,500 a year, is appointed by the Crown. The office is one to which the Attorney-General of the Island usually succeeds and it is held during "Her Majesty's Pleasure".

The Attorney-General and Solicitor-General, whose salaries are £2,200 and £1,500 a year respectively, hold their positions from the Crown and are responsible for the interpretation and carrying out of the law.

The Attorney-General has the unusual office of prescribing the sentence of offenders which has to be received or modified before the Court can pronounce sentence.

The office of Viscount dates from the tenth century and carries with it the duties of Sheriff and Coroner. The Viscount is an ex-officio member of the States, but is not allowed to vote or speak.

The Queen is represented by the Lieutenant-Governor whose chair in the Legislative Chamber is on the right of the Bailiff's chair but several inches below it. He possesses no vote, is entitled to speak, and in certain circumstances has a right of dissent. The office is invariably held by a military officer of high rank and he receives a salary of £2,500 a year and an official residence. He is assisted by a Government Secretary and several A.D.Cs.

When we climbed to the Public Gallery we found it completely packed out with a company of schoolboys who were reading comics and cheap "horrors" instead of listening. We were taken the Usher to a front seat from which we which we looked down upon the Senators and Deputies of whom there were 46 present.

The first debate in motion was on the proposal for a large Concert Hall that Senator Rumfitt, President of the Tourism Committee

He complained that little or nothing was being done to entertain visitors and that tourism was the island's major industry. "That alone keeps our income tax down to 4s when it might easily rise to 6s. 8d.," he said.

There was vigorous opposition to his proposal on the ground that the Concert Hall as proposed would destroy the natural amenities. His motion was, however, carried by 35 votes to 11i.

The second proposal was about the export of potatoes and tomatoes and too involved for me to follow. Those in favour of any motion say "Pour" or "For" and those against say "Contre" or "Against". I was intensely interested in the debates which were conducted with great good humour.

After lunch we went out to see the town. My first impression of St. Helier was of a clean, prosperous seaside town and commercial port of considerable size - its population is one of 28,000 or about half the population of the whole island. It has one of the most spacious Esplanades I have ever seen. The roadway has a width of from fifty to sixty feet and it runs just above the magnificent sweeping shore of St. Aubin's Bay with fine sands on one side and handsome villas with their pleasant brightly flowered gardens on the other.

The shopping centre with its narrow streets is as habitually crowded as ever I have seen Oxford during the recent war, with shops stocked with a range of goods that take one's breath away by reason of their variety as well as their cheapness. I have known worse occupations than peregrinating these bustling and cheerful streets, surrounded on all sides by comely and shapely young women holiday-makers.

As a pleasant backwater just off this is the Royal Square, where the more peaceful atmosphere of past centuries lies on the large rococo block of buildings that house the Legislative Assembly, the Royal Court House and the Public Library on one side of the square, and the professional and commercial buildings on the other, the whole being presided over by the statue of George II in the centre, arrayed in the incongruous costume of a Roman Emperor with a laurel crown on his head.

A further point of interest is illustrated by this story.

Whilst the Germans were in occupation the granite stone slab paving in the Square required renewing and a stonemason was employed. Without attracting any special attention to what he was doing he managed to pattern a very large and quite indestructible "V" sign within the stonework. When the "Vega" arrived, with relief food supplies, additional letters E G A were given to the "V". Then, as victory came in 1945, the figures 1945 were included.

That plain man's memorial is clearly visible in the stonework, and looking at it I could not help an admiring thought for the man who had put his own thoughts on the ground which the German forces were each day treading. The position of this work is close to the Bank at the west end of the Square.

Other important buildings are the Town Hall, the Parish Church of St. Helier and, a little way off, the French Catholic Cathedral with its almost 200 feet high steeple.

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Mr Bronx: Lessons to be Learnt

Mr Bronx: Lessons to be Learnt

I’ve been looking at the chronology about Mr Bronx, whom I am happy to say, has been reunited with his family for Christmas.

This is well-described in their post on Facebook:

“During this time we have researched so much on this matter and come to realise how much this can occur especially in the UK. We reached out to the Jersey's States Vet who spoke to us and we only asked her to go to the animal shelter and see him however she failed to do so. We were very disappointed. We went to the Citizens Advice Bureau and seeked legal advice, we spoke to other dog professionals such as Rosie Barclay and even took it upon ourselves to bring over an independent qualified assessor which was discussed with Customs who were happy with her credentials. It cost us a lot of money but we wanted to end this nightmare as soon as possible. To our relief he was not deemed and found to be a pit-bull. As you can imagine we were over the moon and extremely happy."

"Since then Customs & Excise decided to bring their own assessor who is a retired Police Officer and now trains Police dogs. He was not an independent assessor and not even close to being as qualified as Kendal Shepard the assessor we brought over.”

“In Customs defence they have been understanding to our situation and of course are only doing their job, however due to never coming across a situation like this they have not been knowledgeable or equipped to deal with this so the uncertainty of what was going to happen and what may still happen has been stressful and a huge burden to our family.”

“Their assessor has deemed him a pit-bull type and now we are going to have to go to court should we proceed to contest.”

Deidre Mezbourian, who had to make the decision on the future of the dog, stated: “In particular, I am grateful to the Customs and Immigration Service, whose officers have received unwarranted public criticism for simply doing their jobs and upholding the Island’s laws.”

An opinion or suspicion by a Customs officer seems reasonable enough to detain the dog - initially. However, they did not take any action thereafter to confirm their suspicions and in effect just placed the dog in quarantine.

When an independent assessor was brought in, they were happy with her credentials – until she pronounced that the dog was not a pit-bull, whereupon they secured another opinion that said that the dog was.

Does that seem professional?

I am reminded of the saga of the underground water coming from France. The dowsers in Jersey have long believed that there were deep underground fissures through which water flowed from Normandy across to Jersey.

An experiment was decided upon: to look at isotopes in the water, which would act as a signature and confirm or otherwise that the water in Normandy came to Jersey. The dowsers agreed, and agreed with the drilling to go ahead at particular locations in Jersey.

When, however, the results confirmed what the British Geological Survey had been saying all along, that there was no underground water, the dowers complained that it was the wrong location, it had been sampled wrongly, and – basically – anything they could to declare the scientific experiment invalid.

Does that seem professional?

The same seems to have happened with the dog. When an assessor was agreed, that should have been the end of the matter, but instead, customs seemed to backtrack on their agreement, and get in another expert – with lesser credentials – to give the result they wanted.

Customs not only brought in an untrained and non-independent handler to make an assessment but defended themselves in court based on what must surely be dubious findings in anyone’s book. It was not Magistrate Peter Harris’ best day either in upholding their decision against that of a recognised expert.

If experts disagree, the very least that one might expect would be to seek another expert, agreed on in advance by both parties, and to abide by that decision. That would seem to be just and fair, and a scientific approach to the matter.

Now the dog has stringent conditions imposed on it, hastily cobbled together from the UK, all because of decisions poorly taken, and an apparent refusal to admit that customs could be wrong.

So professional, just upholding the law, as the Constable of St Lawrence said? Unwarranted public criticism?  
I’ll let you make your own mind up.

But if the dog is ever DNA tested, and shown to have no pit-bull strains at all (a test which the Magistrate should have ordered before making a final decision), I hope some people will have the grace to apologise.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Some Stories we Didn’t Read.

Some Stories we Didn’t Read.

Brexit: the three Chefs go to Westminster

Ian Gorst, Gavin St Pier and Howard Quayle are heading to Westminister for the finale of “The Great British Brexit”. So far, under Theresa May, commentators have seen this as "half baked".

Mel and Sue intend to question the three Chef Ministers on:

  • Reaction in the Crown Dependencies to the referendum on how tasty they see Leavers pies (the best pies in Blackburn).
  • The Crown Dependencies’ existing relationship with the European Unsalted Nuts, and how this would, or is likely to be, be affected by Brexit. 
For instance, would they have to have nuts salted, or no longer have easy access to pistachios, walnuts, cashews, almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, pine nuts, or peanuts.

There are three levels of nuts in the European Union, but the United Kingdom has voted to give up being nuts.

The potentially grave consequences of Brexit are also coming from Scotland, where Nicola Sturgeon has suggested Scotland might seek independence, replacing the Great British Bakeoff with the Greater Glaswegian Fry-Up.

Bob Key calls time after 11 years of fun and games

Chunky of build and ruddy of face, Key earned the nickname of Bob the Builder, and sounded like a brickie, too, with a distinctive Maidstone drawl that can now be heard across Sky Church's multifarious channels. Analysis comes easily to him for he practised it constantly, deconstructing each day’s sermons over an evening beer.

Writing in The Independent, Robin Scott-Elliot described Key as: "rosy-cheeked and red-necked beneath the sun, a touch too roly-poly and always with an eye on the time to tea."

The Dean is leaving to take up a position as part of the Archbishops' Evangelism Task Group, helping as an advocate between St Oggs Cathedral and larger churches.

The Dean has promised the congregation that he is going to return St. Ogg's Cathedral to its primitive roots. He wishes to replace the Bishop's comfortable throne with a large stone and make life less cosy so that people will pay attention to the sermons.

Chief Minister Quizzed Over Private Flights

(Cue: ominous theme music, "Approaching Menace"

The Late Magnus Magnusson is in the Chair. The spotlight is on Ian Gorst, who is sitting in that black chair.

Magnus: Your name please.

Ian Gorst: Ian Gorst

Magnus: Your occupation please.

Ian Gorst: Chief Minister of the States of Jersey

Magnus: Your specialist subject is Collective Responsibility. You have 5 seconds, starting now.

Magnus: How many private flights have been booked by the States of Jersey since 2011?

Ian Gorst: The information required to respond in full to this questions is being collated and quality assured

Magnus: I'm sorry is that a pass?

Ian Gorst: Pass the buck.

Magnus: Can you tell me the name of the policy which let immigration of 1,500 people into Jersey last year?

Ian Gorst: Special Pass.

Magnus: How do States members get free parking at the Airport? (Beeping starts).

Ian Gorst: Airport Pass

Magnus: Mr Gorst, you passed on three, and got three correct answers.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

O come, O come, Emmanuel

O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear

This hymn was originally in Latin, and was composed perhaps around the 12th century. The 19th century translator of so many hymns from Latin, John Mason Neale (1818-1866), said he discovered it in the appendix of the seventh edition of Psalteriolum Cantionum Catholicarum, which was published in Cologne in 1710.

But his original translation was very different from that sung today, and as will be seen is much closer to the Latin:

Draw nigh, draw nigh, Emmanuel
And loose Thy captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here,
Until the Son of God appear;

Refrain: Rejoice! rejoice! Emmanuel
Is born for thee, O Israel!

O Rod of Jesse’s stem, arise,
And free us from our enemies,
And set us loose from Satan's chains,
And from the pit with all its pains!

Thou, the true East, draw nigh, draw nigh,
To give us comfort from on high!
And drive away the shades of night,
And pierce the clouds, and bring us light!

Key of the House of David, come!
Reopen Thou our heavenly home!
Make safe the way that we must go,
And close the path that leads below.

Ruler and Lord, draw nigh, draw nigh!
Who to Thy flock in Sinai
Whodst give, of ancient times, Thy Law,
In cloud and majesty and awe.

This is very close to the Latin. Neil Conway has provided online the Latin and a translation, and the later rendering. Here is his translation of two key stanzas, which differ markedly from the later revision:


Veni veni, Emmanuel
captivum solve Israel,
qui gemit in exsilio,
privatus Dei Filio.

Literal Translation:

Come, come Emmanuel
break the bond of Israel
which mourns in exile
deprived of God's Son

Today’s version:

O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear

Veni, Clavis Davidica,
regna reclude caelica,
fac iter tutum superum,
et claude vias inferum.

Come Davidic Key
unlock the heavenly kingdoms
Make the above safe
and close the lower ways

O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.

There is a much greater realisation of a picture closer to Dante in the original Latin, with the way that leads on high to heaven (“that leads on high”), and the lower ways which lead to hell (“close the lower ways”). That is the picture in Medieval wood carvings and wall paintings,

The Reverend Thomas Alexander Lacey (1853–1931) created a new translation (also based on the five-verse version) for The English Hymnal in 1906, and this appears to be the one we use today.

But the original music seems to have been lost, although it would have been part of a series of plainchant antiphons for advent. The familiar tune called Veni Emmanuel was first linked with this hymn in 1851, when Thomas Helmore published it in English Hymnal paired with an early revision of Neale's English translation of the text. The volume listed the tune as being "From a French Missal in the National Library, Lisbon.

The source for this was uncovered in 1966 by Dr. Mary Berry who discovered the tune in a manuscript at Paris’ Bibliothèque Nationale, being a tune for a processional for a community of French Franciscan nuns. She wrote:

“My attention had been drawn to a small fifteenth century processional in the Paris Bibliothèque Nationale. It was Franciscan in origin and probably intended far the use of nuns rather than friars. Turning the pages I discovered, on folio 89v ff, a number of troped verses for the funeral responsory Libera me in the form of a litany, beginning with the words "Bone iesu, dulcis cunctis.” The melody of these tropes was none other than the tune of O come, O come Emmanuel. It appeared in square notation on the left-hand page, and on the opposite page there was a second part that fitted exactly, like a mirror-image, in note-against-note harmony with the hymn-tune. The book would thus have been shared by two sisters, each singing her own part as they processed.”

“So it would seem that this great Advent hymn-tune was not, in the first instance, associated with Advent at all, but with a funeral litany of the saints in verse, interspersed between the sections of a well-known responsory.”


Monday, 19 December 2016

Guest Letter from Tony Moretta

Bailiwick Express recently reported on the flight of the Estonian Ambassador, and quoted snippets from Tony Moretta's letter. I've now got the complete letter, and have Tony's permission to print it below. I would only say one thing, and that I am fully supportive of his position.

For years people have been saying lots about diversifying the economy from finance, and the number of election manifestos with that in would stretch from Gorey Castle to Corbiere if laid end to end! Finally, we have a chance for a real diversification, not just empty words, and we have a first class CEO with lots of experience along to guide the process, after false starts back in 2002 and 2005.

Estonia, as he says, is a world leader in the digital economy, and if we are to fast-track our own economy, and that's something we really should do, we must have the best possible relationships with that country. Digital Jersey has also appointed the digital policy adviser for the Government of Estonia, Siim Sikkut, as its newest Special Adviser, a smart move. It has also encouraged coding in schools, laying the seed to our Digital future.

13 December 2016

In Response to Recent Coverage, Cartoons and Commentary about Estonia and All Things Digital in Jersey
by Tony Moretta

There has been a lot of coverage recently regarding the decision to pay for a flight to get the Estonian Ambassador back to London. This has led to further coverage, and indeed a ‘satirical’ cartoon, which has questioned not only the decision to pay for the flight, but also the value of ‘digital’ to Jersey generally. While the JEP did run my short statement regarding Estonia, they did not follow up with Digital Jersey to get further industry perspective on the matter, which is why I have felt compelled to write this letter.

Firstly, I would like to deal with the matter of ‘That Flight’ and the value of the relationship with Estonia to Jersey generally. Without question, from an industry perspective, the decision to pay for the flight was the right one. It was the hospitable and smart thing to do, especially given the relationship with Estonia (a country with unarguably the best eGovernment programme in the world) is one that could provide extensive benefits to our economy.

It is also a shame that this one incident has resulted in questions being raised regarding the value of ‘digital’ in Jersey generally. The development of a digital industry, and a digital society, is of interest to a large number of people and businesses in Jersey and needs to be prioritised if we as an island are to maintain and grow a strong economy and create new jobs.

We didn't build Jersey as a successful international finance centre through self-harming levels of introspection and we won't build a strong digital economy that way either. With that in mind it’s important to note that the digital sector has been the fastest growing part of the economy in the UK over the past 6 years and is forecast to overtake the finance sector there. In Jersey we already have approximately 2,700 people employed in digital industry, and another 800 or so in technology related roles within other industries, such as finance. That is why Government has invested significantly in skills and infrastructure through projects like the gigabit fibre rollout, the formation of Digital Jersey and the investment in technology and training in our schools.

It is also why at Digital Jersey we have created new facilities, like the Digital Jersey Hub, and supported the launch of a Barclays Eagle Lab to provide additional resources. Already this year around 40 students have graduated from our Coding Programme & Digital Marketing Course and many have gone on to find new jobs. It is why we have worked with Government to roll out improved services, such as Mobile Parking and Digital ID to support the delivery of Government services online, and have been working with the public and private sector to increase the percentage of Government technology budget that is spent in Jersey, to protect and grow jobs for local people. It is why we are developing a Digital Health Strategy and working to bring together essential information, such as air quality and traffic flow, to ensure we are making future decisions about our island based on data and evidence.

While I understand that criticism and constructive debate is healthy for us all, I would like to see a more balanced perspective presented by all local media. An editorial agenda that encourages Government to invest in the digital sector and citizens to embrace technology, rather than fear change, would be very welcome and would benefit us all. Based on the attendance at our recent career event at the Digital Jersey Hub, and the 4,000 visitors to TechFair, it is clear that many people, and especially the younger generation get it. For the sake of Jersey’s future and the sake of appealing to your next generation of readers, listeners and viewers, I would hope that at some point the local media get it too.

Tony Moretta
CEO, Digital Jersey

Sunday, 18 December 2016


For this Sunday, a poem by John V Taylor, former Bishop of Winchester, from his “Christmas Sequence”. It is a wonderfully textured poem, with meanings to be teased out by the reader. It is not perhaps, something one would expect from a Bishop of Winchester, but Taylor was a poet, priest and prophet.

I've selected as the photo this still from the BBC Nativity where Gabriel comes to Mary. It is done in a very naturalistic way, and yet in some subtle means that it is hard to pin down, gives the viewer the knowledge that this is somehow not an ordinary encounter: the extraordinary breaks in through the ordinary. And something of that quality, I think, is captured in John Taylor's poem.

By John V Taylor

But don't imagine you were the only
highly favoured one. There's no security
against this breaking and entering. We too
have felt the press, that excess
of presence cramming the breathless room
and, afterwards, the millstone of a new
life to be nurtured in secret.
The months mantled as prophets shuffled
past, scanning in sharper outline
the predicted flesh this God had taken
of concept, enterprise, or song.

All we lacked was your strength. Some chose
to terminate the obsession and make
out with mourning ghosts, while those
grown big with beauty crying to be told,
wrestled in sweat and groped to take
hold and thrust it into the light,
knowing before the end that what they
carried was a dead thing. Mother of God,
now and at the hour of his birth,
pray that we see alive between your hands
the poem we did not write.

Saturday, 17 December 2016


This poem came about after a personal encounter with someone this week.


The hour glass trickles strength away
Life is at the borderland of dreams
Now comes the hour, parting way
Now time to drink of living streams

The tide is rising, the ship set sail
And uncharted oceans lie ahead
Now is the journey, quest for Grail
Now is the time of wine and bread

Bells toll from church spire tall
Mist among graves, burial rite
Now is the time of judgement call
Now into dark and deepest night

Now rise like eagles born on wings
And hear the joy when Mary sings

Friday, 16 December 2016

In the News: The Last Months of 1977

In the News: 1977

Some stories from November and December 1977.

St Ouen’s Manor Changes Hands.

All change at St Ouen’s Manor in November 1977, when the Jurats appointed to conduct the financial affairs of Mr. Reginald Malet de Carteret, the disputed owner of St. Ouen's Manor, suggested the possibility of an arrangement between him and his elder brother Philip.

The dispute ended with Mr. Philip Malet de Carteret becoming the Seigneur of St. Ouen's Manor, taking the title which went to his younger brother Reginald on the death of his father. The dispute which has split one of the oldest families in the Island is virtually settled following a Royal Court case concerning Reginald's finances and his need to sell the manor.

In December, nearly 100 vergees of farmland owned by Mr. Reginald Malet de Carteret, who at the time was shortly to hand over the Seigneurship of St. Ouen to his elder brother, was up for sale by tender.

Tax Haven Jersey

In 1976 James Callaghan had succeeded to be Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, on the surprise resignation of Harold Wilson. The Labour government intensified its scrutiny of taxation and tax havens, and a Labour Party sub-Committee was set up to embark on a two-year investigation of taxation - and Jersey was to come under its scrutiny - the first of many such reviews.

Pensioner’s Christmas Bonus

In November, Senator Jim Scriven asked the States to pay a £20 Christmas bonus to Jersey's old age pensioners, and he lodged an amendment to Deputy Bobby Smale's £10 proposal.

Deputy Brian Troy wanted a Christmas bonus to also be given to widows and those in receipt of disability or attendance allowances, as well as to old-age pensioners.

But when the vote came early December, it was decided that Jersey's old-age pensioners would not get a Christmas bonus in 1977.

The possibility of an island-wide strike in protest at the States decision was being considered. But instead, a rally and march in protest at the States decision not to give pensioners a £10 Christmas bonus was mounted by the Transport and General Workers Union on December 13.

About 2,000 Islanders took part in the march from People's Park to the Royal Square in protest at the States decision not to pay pensioners a £10 Christmas bonus.

The Trade Unions stepped in to help, and in December Transport Union official Mr. Rene Liron said he would be handing out £10 notes to old-age pensioners on a first come, first served basis. The money would go to the first 80 old people who arrive at his New Street office by 10 am.

But the pot increased to £1,000, so that at least 100 pensioners received a £10 at the at the TGWU offices in New Street.

As the year drew to a close, moves were being made by States members to secure a regular Christmas bonus for Jersey's old-age pensioners, starting in 1978. This came to pass.

Now, of course, it has been restricted to be means tested, after nearly being scrapped. Plus ca change!

Care Homes under Scrutiny

Old people were also the subject of an investigation when letters calling for help have been dropped from upstairs windows at an old people's home, according to information passed to Deputy Arthur Carter. The claim was just part of a catalogue of stories of ill-treatment and bad conditions in some of the Island's private homes, licensed by the States.

Every member of the Public Health Committee was given a copy of Deputy Arthur Carter's list of complaints about Jersey's private old people's homes. "And if they don't like it, I will give a copy to every Member of the States," said Deputy Carter.

Traffic and Parking problems in Town

There is nothing new under the sun, as parking is lost to the waterfront development. St. Helier had no more parking space now than it had in 1971 said the Constable, Peter Baker. Extra space created by the building of car parks had been cancelled out by the loss of other areas. Mr Baker told the States that more needed to be done and described Jersey’s traffic problems as “St Helier’s Problems”

Meanwhile, plans for a comprehensive road improvement scheme in the town, including a second tunnel under Fort Regent, were scrapped.

I wonder how long it is before the "sunken road" idea currently on the development agenda is also quietly scrapped.

Peak Tourism

In December, Jersey's Tourism industry had "just about reached its peak," the Tourism Committee's president Senator Clarence Dupre told representatives of the British travel trade in London. He told tour operators, transport managers and travel trade journalists that Jersey's tourism figures have this year been five or six per cent up on 1976, with 800,000 British visitors and 300,000 from the Continent.

Back in those days, the Island's population almost doubled in the summer months, and there were plentiful hotels and small guest houses.

Law and Order

In November, it was decided that the two States Police Officers suspended from duty since last May, while allegations of perjury were investigated, were not to be charged.

A man died in November after he was hit by a car near the Bay View Hotel, St. Aubin's Road. This was the sixth road death in the Island this year.

The Assistant Magistrate, Mr. R. J. Short, criticized the management of a Le Riches supermarket for pressing a charge of shoplifting against a 78-year-old woman.

A former assistant head waiter at the Hotel de France was been charged with murdering his wife.

A 17-year-old youth who went to the La Collette area of St. Helier to attack homosexuals, yesterday asked the Royal Court if he could he birched instead of being sent to Borstal.

In early December at least three States departments and the Crown Office were interested in the status of a private school in Trinity which soon became the subject of a CID investigation. A complaint was made to the CID that students at Greylands School, housed in Highfield Hotel on the Route d'Ebenezer, had not been receiving adequate tuition. Police officers were now waiting for the students to provide documentation. -

Later in the month three pupils were removed from Greylands, the private hoarding school in Trinity, and taken into the care of the Children's Department. The children aged 14, 15 and 17 were foreign students staying at the Highfield Hotel, Trinity.

Some of the children at Greylands the private school based in a Trinity hotel, were within the ages of statutory education it was disclosed. The Director of Education, Mr. John Rodhouse, informed the school proprietors that he wished to know about the educational programme of these children if they were attending the school next term

Five people were taken to Police Headquarters in late December for drink driving tests - and most of them had been involved in road accidents.

The States Music Adviser, 41-year-old Derek Walters, was jailed for three months for publishing an obscene libel. Walters, of Waterloo Street, St. Helier, admitted two charges of showing two 14-year-old boys obscene magazines - magazines described in Court as "exceptionally filthy."

A horde of petrol bombs was been found in a derelict cottage at First Tower following CID investigations, and a 14-year-old youth was been interviewed, and the matter has been referred to HM Attorney General, Mr. V. A. Tomes. An early arrest was expected.

And a 15-year-old youth was also charged with manufacturing an explosive device. The youth is alleged to have unlawfully and maliciously manufactured an explosive device with intent to use it to endanger life or cause danger to property.

And Finally... New Year Honours

Two Jersey residents feature in the New Year Honours List for 1978. They were the Chief Officer of the States Police Force, Mr. Edward Cockerham, who becomes the first Jersey police officer to be awarded the Queen's Police Medal for Distinguished Service and Lt.-Cdr. Philip Le Marquand, who is made a member of the Order of the British Empire for his services to the Sea Cadet Corps.