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Magazine August 2020

August 2020

The article about August is followed by a quiz. All that is required is the day/year when these events occurred in this month. You might be surprised about some of the answers. The answers will be found at the end of the magazine. The article from 100 years ago is a story titled ‘The Eve of St. Laurence’ by E.E.Dickenson. This is followed by information about the saint and about John Bunyan who are both remembered this month. Traditionally August is a month for holidays. As many will be staying at home this year there is a chance to make a different sort of journey through Sussex. Charlie has been asked to write again this month and he has tried to oblige with a sorry tale of woe and light hearted fun. Val found the article entitled ‘We are survivors.’ Are you one? Fr. Mark and Daniel should be congratulated with the way our services have been put on line and the changes made to the church so that safe distancing can be achieved. Anyone can join him for daily Mass or for a quiet time on Tuesdays and Thursday until 12 noon after the 9.30 Mass. Anything, however small, is welcome for the next magazine by the 24th please. Eva.

The month of August.

This month was originally called Sextilic as it was the sixth month in the Roman calendar. Its name was changed to August to honour Augustus as he experienced good fortune in this month. As previously there were only 30 days in the month another day was added so it would be the same as July as so not belittle Augustus and make him inferior to Julius. The Anglo-Saxons called it Weod monath, Weed month, as it was the time when weeds were rampant. Three gem stones are associated with the month, Sardonyx, Peridot and Spinel. Sardonyx speaks of determination and perseverance. Peridot strengthens life and increases prosperity. Spinel is said to help relaxation and releases worry. Both the poppy and gladioli are associated with August and relate to strength of character, imagination and love of family. As every month there is a change in the signs of the zodiac associated with it starting with Leo and then from the 22nd with Virgo. So what about a bird to associate with this month? I feel the obvious bird must be connected to holidays; a seabird or possibly a special bird of prey e.g an osprey. I have chosen a bird of the pigeon family as a pair frequently visits my bird bath for a drink. They are collared doves and are recent arrivals as a common bird in Britain. They are more delicate than the common pigeon being much slimmer with paler colouring. They are grey-brown above and a pale grey beneath with long tails that are black and white beneath. They have a gentle song which is a triple ‘coo, coo-oo coo’ with an accent on the middle coo. They are largely grain eaters but can be seen eating elderberry berries. Weather lore associated with the month include; “If the first week of August be warm, the winter will be white and long.” “Dry August and warm dost harvest no harm.” Today three festivals are associated with August: The Edinburgh Festival began in 1947, The Royal National Eisteddfod revived in the 19th century, and the Nottinghill Carnival beginning in the 1960s, all of them celebrating the arts and culture. Lammas Day was celebrated on the 1st but was banned by Henry VIII when he split with Rome. It was called in Anglo-Saxon, Hlafmaesse, i.e. Loaf Mass. This was a celebration of harvest as the first loaf baked from the harvest was taken to church and blessed. It was then the Communion Bread and distributed to the congregation. It was a custom for farmers to give a gift of gloves to their workers. Farmers would let one of the first loaves to be baked go stale and then make it into crumbs and scatter them on the corners of their barns to bring good luck. Lammas day was also a time to foretell marriages and a time of ‘trial marriages’. Couples would stay together during the eleven days of the Lammas fair and if they were not compatible they could break up with no ill feelings or criticism. Religious celebrations include the Transfiguration of the Lord on the 6th, and the Assumption of the Virgin Mary on the 15th . From a 100 years ago. ‘The Eve of S. Laurence.’ ‘ “You daren’t!” “I dare!” The speaker of the latter speaker flushed crimson as he realised he had taken on the challenge. Robert Dunstan, coming to a standstill on his one-roller skate, immediately clenched the bargain. “Very well. Tomorrow night father’s late at work and I lock up on Thursdays, you can come with me then and stay all night in the church – if you dare. Ha! Ha! ‘Miss Val’, who daren’t cross the Common in the dark. We shall see!” And the slippery sport on the smooth pavement continued until the vicar’s appearance summoned the choirboys in to choral Evensong. Valentine Mordant was a shy-looking boy of thirteen, with a somewhat girlish cast of countenance. The natural timidity against which he struggled, and which was prompted by a vivid imagination quite unknown to his matter-of-fact companions, made him the butt of their mockery. His name unfortunately lent itself easily to feminine variations, such as ‘Miss Val’ and ‘Maudie’, so that altogether he was an easy prey. Now he half regretted the decision he had made in self defence. But perhaps it was better. One night in the dark church and it would be over; he would never again be called a coward. The great door clanged behind Robert, and Valentine was left alone. He chose a pew near the door, and dragging the long cushion on to the floor tried to make himself comfortable. Surely church was the one place where one need never be frightened, very frightened. The church grew darker and darker. At last even the faint white glimmer of the sculptures reredos disappeared. He repeated all he could remember of the office of Compline, and lay waiting for the day. Presently he fell into a light sleep, but soon he was wakened, conscious of a sudden noise. Was it morning, and was that Robert come to unlock the church? No, all was still pitch darkness – pitch darkness – and yet – was not that a point of light moving over there by the font? A little scratching noise – thieves picking the lock of the poor-box! His first impulse was to turn and fly by the door they had left open, his next to cower where he was and trust to escape their notice, then – he thought of something else. In a flash he forgot himself, and the spirit of the altar boy alone possessed him. They were at the poor-box now, in another moment impious hands would be laid upon the furnishings of the altar, the very chalice and paten themselves would not escape. Before anyone else could be aroused the sacrilege would have been done. It lay with him, and with him alone, to defend the treasures of the house of God. It must be a contest of wits between them, for he had no strength against these men. Quick as lightning he he slashed the laces of his boots with a penknife, and quietly and swiftly on stockinged feet crept up the side of the church. “Did you hear anything?” said one man to the other. “Nought but the wind.” nevertheless they flashed a strong electric lamp in Valentine’s direction, while he held his breath behind a pillar. Long custom enabled him to reach the sacristy door without mishap, even in blindfolding darkness. The door gave straight into the chancel, parallel with the altar. Once inside he dared to light a candle. Taking an alb, amice, and linen chasuble from the cupboard, he rapidly arrayed himself in them, blew out the candle, and passing out closed the door softly behind him. Then he stood and waited on the threshold. They were coming up the church now – he could hear the tramp of their heavy feet. The point of light was coming nearer and nearer. His knees seemed about to give way under him. How could he maintain the rigid position necessary if his scheme were not to fail? How could he stand the shock of the strong electric lamp turned on him? Upon that everything depended. Suddenly the words of the great Constantine came to the trembling boy, “In hoc vincit” and he made the sign of the cross between himself and his enemies. They were now within a foot of the sanctuary. The light flashed this way and that, looking for the door of the sacristy. At last it focused full on the motionless figure. The boy’s red-gold hair shone halo-like in the sudden radiance. The ecclesiastical dress, to which they were unaccustomed, gave him in the eyes of these men the appearance of some being of the other world. With the terror of a guilty conscience they turned and fled. The next thing to do was to raise the alarm. Valentine took a hurried step forward, but catching his foot in the long folds of the alb, fell, striking his head against the stone step. “What have you been doing?” exclaimed Father John. “You look as if you’d seen a ghost.” “No, sir. But I’ve been pretending to be one,” and very briefly and simply Valentine told the story of his night’s adventure. Father John knew his boys well, and, though he did not say so, knew therefore what this victory must have cost. “I’m awfully sorry the alb’s torn, sir,” concluded Valentine, adding suddenly, “It was really awfully queer to see myself in priest’s vestments.” “I hope you’ll wear them one day in earnest.” Valentine went very red and said nothing, which meant that he hoped so to. The customary eight o’clock celebrations had been changed to seven that morning and when Robert arrived at the usual time to unlock the church, he was surprised to find the vicar already there. Father John knew more of what went on behind the scenes than the boys imagined, and much enjoyed recounting to the astonished Robert the story of Valentine’s quick-witted courage . “Do you know whose day it is?” asked the vicar at the end of his recital. “S. Laurence, sir.” “And what do you know about him?” “He was roasted alive on a gridiron,” said Robert, to whom such particulars appealed. “Anything else?” “No.” “Well, S. Laurence would not give up the treasures of the church to his pagan persecutors. That was the immediate cause of his martyrdom. It’s rather striking that our treasures should have been so nearly lost, and so wonderfully saved, on the eve of S. Laurence.” Like many boys of his kind Robert Dunstan really had a good heart. He went up to Valentine and said “I’m awfully sorry I’ve been such a rotter. I’ll never call you girl’s names again.” “Laurence might be better,” said Father John. Who was St. Laurence or St. Lawrence? He was a deacon in the early church and was responsible for handing out alms to the poor. He was born on the 31st December 225, possibly at Valencia and went to Rome. He was ordained one of the 7 deacons by Pope St. Sixtus II. He was regarded as the ‘first’ of the 7 serving in the cathedral and was called the archdeacon. He was responsible for distributing alms to the poor and was in charge of the treasury and riches of the church. Pope Sixtus II was captured and executed during the persecution of Christians by Emperor Valerian. Laurence was ordered to hand over the church wealth but he asked to be allowed 3 days to do so. During this time he disposed of as much as he could. On the third day he took cripples, the blind and the suffering and presented them as the ‘true treasures of the church’. He was martyred on August 10th 258 age 32; tradition states that he was burnt to death on a gridiron. John Bunyan. (1628 – 1688) is remembered on August 31st. He was the son of a travelling tinker and was born at Elston near Bedford. He had rudimentary education and was taught to read and write but was an idle and foul mouthed pupil. He followed in his father’s footsteps and later served in the Parliamentary Army during the Civil War between 1644 and 1648 taking part in the siege of Leicester. He married in 1646 or 1648 and his wife’s dowry included some devotional books. This turned his mind to religion and he joined the Baptist Church in Bedford. He became a lay preacher. He refused to obey royal edicts which banned non-conformist preaching and was imprisoned between 1660 and 1672. In prison he studied the Bible and Foxe’s ‘Book of Martyrs, and wrote many books. On release he became minister of the Non-conformist Church at Bedford, a post he held for the rest of his life. In 1675 he was imprisoned again and during these few months wrote ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’. Most of his other works were religious and allegorical including ‘The Holy City, or the New Jerusalem.’ He wrote a ‘Book for Boys and Girls’, a collection of 40 poem including ‘Upon a Frog’. ‘The frog by nature is both damp and cold, Her mouth is large, her belly much will hold; She sits somewhat ascending, loves to be Croaking in gardens, though unpleasantly. Comparison. The hypocrite is like unto the frog, As like as a puppy to a dog. He is of nature cold, his mouth is wide To prate, and at true goodness to deride. He mounts his head as if he was above The world, when yet ‘tis that which has his love. And though he seeks in churches for to croak, He neither loveth Jesus nor his yoke. Some poems have become popular hymns including ‘To be a pilgrim’, ‘He that is down needs fear no fall’, and ‘Let the Most Blessed be my guide’

A quiz about events that occurred in August; Just fill in the blanks – the day, the year or both are needed.

1) In _ Julius Caesar landed in Britain on the 27th with more than 10,000 men.

2) On the 24th Mount Vesuvius erupted near Pompeii in Italy in _ and although about half of the citizens escaped more than 2,000 people were buried under seven feet of lava and ash.

3) The first roller skating rink was opened in Britain on the 2nd in _.

4) On the 12th the first Model T Ford, the Tin Lizzie, the first mass produced car was launched in _.

5) Elvis Priestley pronounced dead at Memphis hospital on the 16th in _.

6) On the 3rd Christopher Columbus set sail on his first voyage in _.

7) On the 22nd Henry VII defeated Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth in _.

8) The first international air service started with daily flights between London and Paris on the 25th in _.

9) In Joseph Priestly discovered oxygen at Bowood House, Wiltshire, in _.

10) On the 1st the 11th Olympic Games began in Berlin in _.

11) On the 28th Martin Luther King, an American civil rights campaigner, made his famous speak ‘I have a dream’ in _.

12) In _ the first regular detective police force was formed on the 15th in Britain.

13) Princess Diana was killed in a car crash in France on August _ .

14) The Olympic Games opened in London on the 14th in _.

15) The Great Train Robbery occurred on the _ in _.

16) The French monarchy was toppled on the 10th in _.

17) The Berlin wall came into existence on the 13th in _.

18) On the 6th Jamaica became independent after being an English colony for over 300 years in _.

What’s in a name?

Most names have a ‘hidden’ meaning as they are frequently linked to languages that are not familiar to us e.g. Old English. Staying at home this August? Come on an imaginary tour. A tour round Sussex but with a difference. Let’s take a trip along the coast starting in Littlehampton. Its old name was “Hamtun” in Old English showing that it was a village at the headquarters of an estate. “Little was added in the 15th century to distinguish it from Northampton and Southampton. Eastwards to Worthing, a place named after Weorth’s people. Weorth is an Old English man’s name. The “ing” from “ingu” means those who were called after someone. A short trip takes us to Shoreham, whose name relates to the land on which it was built. The village, “ham” was on a “scora”, an Old English word for steep hill. Passing through Hove, a place of shelter, from the Old English “Hufe”, a hovel, we reach Brighton. That was Brihthelm’s village. Brihthelm is another Old English man’s name. The name was abbreviated to Brighton from its earlier name of Brighthelmstone when the resort became popular with the Prince of Wales in the 18th century. Journeying eastward through Newhaven, named after the new harbour built in the sixteenth century, passed Seaford, the ford by the sea (“sae” Old English for sea and “ford” a shallow river crossing) to Eastbourne. Bourne, from the Old English “burna” meaning a stream, shows it was a settlement by a stream. On we travel via Bexhill, a place at a box tree wood from “byxe” (box) and “leah” (wood) to Hastings. This means Haest’s people, the Haestings. Haest is an Old English man’s name and “ings” from “ingas” meaning those named after someone. Now our journey starts homeward returning inland to Lewes, a place at burial mounds from the Old English “hlaw”. Crossing the Downs to Cuckfield, a place in open ground haunted by cuckoos, we journey to Ashington, a settlement in a valley overgrown by ash trees from the Old English “aescen-dence.” Then on we go to Arundel, the horehond dell from the Old English “harhune” and go back to the coast at Bognor Regis. Bognor means “Bugge’s shore”. “Bugge” was an Old English woman’s name and shore comes from “ora” shore. “Regis”, Latin for king, was added by George V as he convalesced her in 1929 after a lung operation. Thus we journey back along the coast to Littlehampton. Exhausted? No doubt you are! [Info. from ‘Home Town’ an A.A. publication.]

Hi There! I’ve been asked to tax my brain again. Believe it or not I do have one. Whether I chose to use it is a different matter! Sometimes ignorance is bliss! I am so glad July is nearly over – three unpleasant things have happened to me. I’m not superstitious but I do hope things come in threes and not fives. I have been to the vets yet again and woke up hungry and found I had lost 4 more teeth. I quickly gobbled the food I was given although it was mushy. Then I had a new harness which rubbed me. I was sore and I made the most of it – I usually do but I am not a wimp: I’m a survivor. Now it is no more and a have a softer collar instead. It’s always pays to to complain! That did not do any good when I was stung by a bee, Luckily swift action was taken – the pain soon went and I slept it off. Now I can go back to church but things are not right – no fusses, no treats and a strange way to enter and go out. I am happier now I have found my cushion – I can doze in comfort especially as there is more leg room. I must say it has been too hot for lively walks. My friend Jake, a spaniel, who was 11 a few days ago, comes to call early most mornings. He pushes his nose through the back gate and barks if I am not there to greet him. Does he really want me or is it the treat he gets? I will leave you to decide. Like me he hates cats, wants to chase foxes and goes into the brambles after rabbits. I haven’t done that recently: more’s the pity as I am on Jake’s long lead. He runs off now and I can only stand and watch. Never mind I can still do my circuit training occasionally in the field but most days its round and round the garden. I have made quite a track! Let’s hope August is a better month for us all and hopefully some of you will get away for a break. Stay safe – I will try to! Your mad friend, Charlie.

WE ARE SURVIVORS!! {For those born before 1940 – – -} We were born before television, before penicillin, polio shots, frozen foods, Xerox, contact lenses, videos, frisbees, and the pill. We were born before radar, credit cards, split atoms, laser beams and ball point pens; before dishwashers, tumble dryers, electric blankets, air conditioners, drip-dry clothes …. And before man walked on the moon. We got married first and then lived together (how quaint can you be?) We thought “fast food” was what you ate in Lent, a “Big Mac” was an oversized raincoat and a “crumpet” we had for tea. We existed before house-husbands, computer doing, dual careers; and when “meaningful relationships” meant getting along with cousins and “sheltered accommodation” was where you waited for a bus. We were before day care centres, care homes and disposable nappies. We had never heard of FM Radio, tape desks, electric typewriters, artificial hearts, word processors, yoghurt and young men wearing earrings. For us a “chip” was apiece of wood or fried potato, “time sharing” meant togetherness, “hardware” meant nuts and bolts and “software” wasn’t a word. Before 1940, “Made in japan” meant junk, the term “making out” referred to how you did in your exams, “stud” was something that fastened a collar to a shirt, “going all the way” meant staying on a double decker to the bus depot. Pizza, McDonalds and instant coffee were unheard of. In our day cigarette smoking was “fashionable”, “grass” was mown, “coke” was kept in the coal house, a “joint” was a piece of meat you had on Sundays and “pot” was something you cooked in. “Rock music” was a grandmother’s lullaby, “Eldorado” was an ice-cream, a “gay” person was the life and soul of the party and nothing more, while “Aids” just meant beauty treatment or help for someone in trouble. We, who were born before 1940, must be a hardy bunch when you think of the way in which the world has changed and the adjustments we have had to make. No wonder we are confused and there is a generation gap today ….BUT BY THE GRACE OF GOD WE HAVE SURVIVED.

Answers to the quiz. 1) 55BC. 2) 79 AD. 3) 1875. 4) 1908. 5) 1977. 6) 1492.7) 1483. 8) 1919. 9) 1774. 10) 1936. 11) 1063. 12) 1872. 13) Aug 31st 1997. 14) 1948. 15) 8th 1963. 16) 1790. 17) 1961. 18) 1962.