St Mary's, Inverness

The Ministry of Communications

We are experiencing a resurgence in communicating with each other, How welcome are the telephone calls. Thank you for calling me- it is always good to hear a familiar voice. My number for direct contact is 07841758409 and my email address is
It is good to learn from you how you are making out. In a way it is possible that we may now have longer for a chat/messaging than in the past when prevented by the busyness of what we thought were normal times. When we re-assess our lives [surely everyone is doing that?] we are probably discovering that we have found so much joy in simple things- one of the things for me is looking at the different birds that are feeding in our garden. Today I have seen robins, great tits, chaffinches, blackbirds, doves, wagtails, the wren, and today rather fleeting visits from the wagtails. I am beginning to get to know them, and I suspect that they are getting used to me.  We await the arrival of the house martins and the swallows, surely it  cannot be long.
Likewise I am observing the rather slow transformation of the hedges, and the hillside trees – the beech hedge is at last shedding rather faded brown leaves, as the east wind and the new shoots are working together. So when will I see a new green beech hedge? A few weeks perhaps. I will let you know. It is more than likely we will still be in lock down for some months. So, we are getting used to new perspectives. We really ought to share our  insights and our observations. I have had some marvellous exchanges- amusing connections to look at. If you enjoy a sense of the ridiculous, and what is more needed now? A touch of humour, laughter being the best tonic and all that, well then you could try to google/YouTube : two excellent amusements from Gerard Hoffnung : The Bricklayer’s Story. This is a monologue, a dry recital in slightly theatrical English, with exquisite timing. I found myself laughing all by myself, slightly confused as to this private and outward expression of my hilarity. Go on, look it up and have a private chuckle, even a silly giggle!
The other is on YouTube : The Hoffnung Symphony Orchestra. It is a picaresque cartoon about a Conductor and his orchestra, set in the Royal Albert Hall. I enjoyed it so much that I have sent it to a few friends and have been rewarded by shared laughter.
These thoughts about the need for humour and sharing were really prompted by one of my correspondents a theological knight errant, the Don Quixote of Ross-shire who replied to me about my thoughts on Wordsworth’s poem, ‘“Upon Westminster Bridge”. He picked up on the opening lines “Earth has not anything to show more fair”, and he indicated a comedic gloss in the Flanders and Swann entertainment: “Transport of Delight”. Again you can enjoy the experience of the music hall if you google that lot.
You will realise that the telephone and the computer are the main means of my Ministry of Communication. I have appreciated everyone who calls, and I have tried to get in touch with several of you by one means or another. Some of your telephones seem to be permanently engaged,  and I suspect that I may have some out of date numbers. Please get in touch at any time, if only to pass on information about the birds and the leaves, the bees and the trees. It is all part of God’s Grandeur “The world is charged with the grandeur of God”
The poem by the Jesuit priest and poet, Fr Gerard Manley Hopkins, is worth reading; reading slowly, observing the punctuation and rhythm. It is a marvellous evocation of our world, and the way in which we have not always treated it well… and yet, “And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;”

So, my dear locked down friends, in our relative captivity, we can be more in touch with nature, with each other, and with God.
Remember : ‘Only connect’, so keep in touch, each with the other , and great things will be done.

Fr James