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Magazine October 2020

October 2020.

Unfortunately another magazine only on line. Please share it with others if you can. As before there is an article about the month and a historical quiz concerning events which happened in October. ‘On S. Faith’s Day’ has been taken from the Church magazine from 100 years ago. Charlie tells how he gets exhausted doing his duty. The Autumn newsletter from Fundatia is reproduced sadly with out the coloured pictures. There is an article about the use of sensational headlines in reporting. There are more sayings from the Desert Fathers.

Any material for the next magazine by the 19th please.


The month of October.

It was the eight month of the year before January and February were added hence its name from ‘octo’, Latin for eight. The Anglo-Saxons called it ‘Wintirfyllep’ because the full moon (fyllep) at this time marked the beginning of winter. The month is abbreviated to 8bre in France. It is called Wein-mond (Wine month) in Germany.

In the Catholic church it is the Month of the Holy Rosary.

                “But fruits, not blossoms, form the woodland wreathe

                The circles Autumn’s brows. The ruddy haws

                Now clothe the half-leaved thorn, the bramble bends

                Beneath it’s jetty load; the hazel hangs

                With auburn branches, dipping in the stream

                That sweeps along, and threatens to o’erflow

                The leaf strewn banks: – Oft statue-like I gaze

                In vacancy of thought, upon that stream,

                And chase, with dreaming eye, the eddying foam

                Or rowan’s clustered branch, or harvest sheaf,

                Borne rapidly down the dizzying flood.”  Grahame.

Two flowers and two gem stones are associated with this month. The cosmos and the marigold suggest different elements of life. The cosmos speaks of joy in life and peace but the marigold suggests grief but also winning grace. The opal and the tourmaline are the gems associated with October. The opal symbolises faithfulness and confidence and the tourmaline hope and purity.

The signs of the zodiac associated with the month are Libra and from the 22nd Scorpio. Those born under Libra are said to be  peacemakers with a strong sense of justice. Those born under Scorpio are passionate, romantic, charming and loyal but can be stubborn.

I have chosen the starling as my bird of the month. There are two reasons for this. Autumn is the time when flocks, often of many hundreds, can be seen swirling around the sky at dusk before suddenly settling down for the night and covering trees and bushes. These fascinating dancing masses are known as murmurations, possibly because of the noise they make with their wings or chattering. Small swooping masses can be seen locally at dusk but not in such large amounts as elsewhere. Secondly this is a time when the young birds are getting their adult plumage and have a fascinating combination of brown patches and florescent feathers. Many people dislike these quarrelsome birds but they are amusing to watch. It is fascinating to see how many miss out and cannot drink or wash in a bird bath or miss food on a bird table because they are too concerned to keep others away only to be thwarted by those sneaking in behind them. At first glance they appear to be all black but the adult plumage is black iridescent wit green and purple and spotted white especially on the breast. The juvenile is a dull brown with a paler throat. They have a variety of calls, often copying other birds, and seem to chatter to one another. They are rarely solitary except in the breeding season but often then are seen within a group feeding in their pairs. They build untidy nests of twigs and lay about 5 pale blue eggs. They like fruit but are more often seen foraging for grubs on the ground. Wilfred Willett writes in ‘British birds’; ‘To me they seem birds of character, downright and quick when food has to be got, lively and joyous at play. Listen to their jolly whistling and chucklings’.

Two full moons occur this month,  Harvest Moon occurs on the 1st and the Hunters Moon, also called the Halloween Moon, on the 31st.

Folk-lore associated with October;

‘If deer have a grey coat expect a hard winter.’

‘Much rain in October, much wind in December’.

‘A warm October leads to a cold February.’

‘Good October, a good blast,

To blow the hog acorn and mast.’

‘Up to St. Luke’s day (18th.) put your hands where you like; after it keep them in your pockets.’

There is usually a few fine days in the middle of the month often associated with a saint’s day and called after it e.g.

St. Teresa’s summer (15th.) in Lombardy; St. Gall’s (16th.) in  Germany; St. Bridget’s (8th.) on Sweden; St. Martin’s (11th.)   and the little summer St. Luke’s in England.              

Celebrations in October;

Saints days celebrated include:-

                 4th. St. Francis.

                15th. St. Teresa of Avila.

                18th. St. Luke.

                28th. St. Simon and St. Jude.

Other celebrations in U.K include:-

Apple Day on the 21st.

Halloween, or All Hallows Eve, on the 31st.

The origin is believed to been the ancient Celtic festival of Sowhain, summer’s end. This celebrated the end of the harvest and the ‘dark half’ of the year. It was a seasonal marker saying goodbye to warmth and light as the length of daylight shortened. The Celts believed the veil between the world of the living and the world of the dead was thinner at Sowhain and it was therefore the time to communicate with the dead. It was also believed that it allowed spirits (ghosts) to enter the living world and damage crops. The event was marked by bonfires to ward of the ghosts. Later the Irish hollowed out turnips to make a devil’s face to ward off spirits. When many Irish emigrated to the U.S.A. as turnips were hard to find they used pumpkins in stead.

It was also called Nutcracker night in England when it was customary to eat nuts and apples and drink cider round the hearth. A link most likely to Apple Day.

Edgar Allen Poe’s poem sets the scene;

                “Be silent in that solitude,

                Which is not loneliness – for then

                The Spirits of the dead, who steal

                In life before thee, and their will

                Shall overshadow thee; be still.”

An article from the church magazine 100 years ago.

       “On S. Faith’s Day: a sketch in Rhodesia.” C.L.

‘The earth lay parched and dry under a blazing sun, but S. Faith’s Church, cool, dim, and shadowy, seemed indeed a haven of peace. As I stepped within I felt surrounded by an unseen force, the very air seemed throbbing with power. Awed and half afraid I knelt and pleaded “Open my eyes that I may see.” Almost as if from beside me came the words “The prayers of the saints went up before God.” That was the mystery, the whole church was alive with the prayers of the many, who had met there with one desire to draw nearer to their Father. Then came the intercession service, so utterly simple, telling God the father of their wants, secure in His love for them.

On S. Faith’s Eve flowers were everywhere, and at every turn the children of S. Faith were bringing yet more and more radiance and glowing colour. Women were lovingly decking the altar of the martyrs, big girls were twining the pillars, children running hither and thither helping first one and then another – a joyous family gathering. Withdrawn from all this activity were others of His children going one by one to tell their Father of the mishaps of the way, the hurts that had come to them because they had loosed His hand and thought to walk alone, the dark places they had stumbled in when they turned from the light, their fear, their sloth, their many denials. One stood humbled before the utter simplicity of it all. Softly through the arches came the whisper “I ascend to My Father and to your Father.” Ah, that is the message, the Fatherhood of God. No dim, far-off, possibly benignant Being, but a tender, loving Father, here, right in their midst, waiting to hear their sorrows and their sins, rejoicing in their joy, watching over their every thought.

On S. Faith’s Day every corner of the church was filled. The white albs of the teachers and the vivid colouring of the banners scattered points of light above the crowd of worshippers. The Creed became a living thing as it rand out triumphant “I believe in the Communion of Saints.” This was no dim belief, but caused  a living sense of the family life of the Church. To these simple children of Africa the departed saints are their elder brothers and sisters, passed on, perhaps, to some higher room of the “many mansions”, yet still children of the one Father, and as such still interested in the rest of the holy family struggling on earth.

Right through the service the joyous note of praise, and one felt how great must be the joy in heaven as, line after line, the people passed up to the crowning moment of their feast, and to know, each for himself or herself, “I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto Me.”

As the great crowd slipped away one knelt on with a full heart, thanking God that there are still in His family humble souls whose hearts are so on fire with the love of God that through them other hearts are kindled and other children brought to the knowledge of the Fatherhood.’ 

Historical quiz about October.

 Can you supply the right year for each event from the dates supplied?

1)  1st. Henry III was born in _____.

2)  2nd. Richard III the last Plantagenet king was born ____.

3)  4th. The first escalator opened in Britain at Earls Court in ____.

4)  6th. Alfred Lord Tennyson died in ____.

5)  7th. Women could study at Oxford University in ____.

6)  9th. Breathalysers were introduced by Barbara Castle in ____.

7)  14th. Harold II was killed at the battle of Hastings in ____.

8)  21st. Lord Nelson was fatally wounded at the Battle of Hastings in ____.

9) 23rd. The first major battle of the Civil War took place at Edge Hill in ____.

10) 25th. Lord Lucan led the Charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava in ____.

11) 26th. The English football Association was formed in ____.

12) 31st. Martin Luther pinned the ‘95 Theses’ on the Church door at Wittenberg, Germany, triggering the Protestant Reformation in ____.

Select from:- 1066; 1207; 1452; 1517; 1642; 1805;

                      1854; 1863; 1892; 1911; 1920; 1967.

Answers at the end of the magazine.

I’m exhausted!

What a time I’ve had – if its not one thing to tax me its another. Where do I start? Guard duty is tiring! I am invaded by land and air. Good job its not sea as well! Animals and birds do not respect my garden – they just have to go. Those grey creatures with fluffy tails think they can rule the roost. They even sit there and goad me with their chatter. Just when I think I can catch them they leap out of the way – one jump and they’ve gone from fence to big tree. Then they gloat and say ‘I’m safe. You can’t get me,’ and they saunter away. Why do they come? They cannot get to the seed in the bird feeders and they do not have the sense, like me, to eat the food that has been dropped on the floor.

The black and the black and white invaders are easily removed. They know whose the boss even before I bark and say get lost. The ginger- brown one is aggressive. We had a squabble the other day. I chased it from the back and it stupidly turned and spat at me. What was I to do? Turn and be a coward and run away. Oh no! Not me; I went in for the kill. I had the sense to avoid the claws and barking did no good.  It was a stand off and no one won. I was pulled away after a drenching with water did not separate us. Eventually it was driven off – I have not seen it since – the uncouth beast!

Those hopping things are easier to deal with and are a bit of fun. They retreat to the pond – cowards. They never fight. The long tailed creatures just scuttle away and leave me in peace.

The flying invaders are worse. They cause so much trouble. There are black and white ones with long tails – they hear me shout and hasten away. The fat lumbering ones sit on the fence until my barking and strong words make them depart. Its the ones which dive bomb which are the worst. They never land and just squawk from the roof tops. They haven’t the sense to leave me in peace and just fly off when they have had their say.

Such a lot to put up with. I just let the small ones enjoy the seeds and wait to eat the left overs. Its only when they make me wet that I get cross. Fancy wanting to bathe so much that they have to shake before they can fly away.

                                It’s a hard life! Charlie.

Fundatia New Life.

Marius Istrate (Romanian Project Director) writes in the Autumn news letter:- “I know this is a very unusual time for you to receive a letter from Fundatia but I am sure that yo are very surprised by this. But the unusual times in which we are living at the moment is the reason that has made us send an extra-letter to you just to let you know how we are handling the Covid situation.

I will start by saying that Romania is severely hit by this pandemic. Just as I am writing, the officials are announcing another 1400 new cases of infected people and it has been at this level in the last couple of weeks. More worrying is that people living in care homes are more affected, therefore the Romanian Government had to enforce very strict rules including a lockdown of the country for a month.

In an attempt to protect the residents in care homes, the staff have been quarantined at work for 14 days and every two weeks we are being tested for Covid.

We are all ok at the house. At the moment, access of visitors to the house is very limited and we do not go out unless in an emergency. Therefore, it is a constant challenge to keep the boys busy. Even though it is a very difficult time for everyone, we try to keep our spirits up and we thank God every day that we are safe from the virus.

In addition, we have celebrated the birthdays of Sandu, Emil, Fanel and Codreanu with cakes made at the house by Simona and that has brought some fun to the house!

The best thing about this pandemic is that I personally had had more time that I have used to do some repairs around the house:- In our last newsletter I told you about some of our most urgent needs like the side fence that is falling down or the new water pump being needed. We have been able to deal with some of these problems. By ‘we’, I mean, ‘me and the boys’ . . including Codreanu who had a lot of fun helping! We have been able to replace some parts of the fence thanks to a generous donation from one of our supporters but still more needs replacing. Our list of jobs will keep us busy for some time.  . .!

Even though we know that there are problems all over the world, we all try to stay positive at the House and to look forward. Despite the challenges, we find ther is so much we can be thankyou for as we are forced to look at everything from a new perspective. This period of lockdown is certainly something we shall remember for some time to come and we expect that each of you will feel the same. So once again, our thoughts and prayers are with you all and thank you for your continued support.”

Media says it all!

A little girl was leaning into a lion’s cage. Suddenly, the lion grabs her by the collar of her jacket and tries to pull her inside to slaughter her, all under the eyes of her screaming parents.

A biker jumps off his Harley, runs to the cage and hits the lion square on the nose with a powerful punch. Whimpering from the pain, the lion jumps back, letting go of the girl, and the biker brings the girl back to her terrified parents, who thank him endlessly.

A reporter has watched the whole event.

The reporter, addressing the Harley rider says, “Sir, this was the most gallant and bravest thing I’ve ever seen a man do in my whole life.”

The Harley rider replies, “Why, it was nothing, really. The lion was behind bars. I just saw this kid in danger, and acted as I felt right.”

The reporter says, “Well, I’ll make sure this won’t go unnoticed. I’m a journalist, you know, and tomorrow’s paper will have this story on the front page. So, what do you do for a living, and what political affiliation do you have?”

The biker replies “I’m a British Army veteran, a Conservative and I voted for Brexit.” The journalist leaves.

The following morning the biker buys the paper to see if it indeed brings news of his actions, and reads, on the front page. “UK VETERAN ASSAULTS AFRICAN IMMIGRANT AND STEALS HIS LUNCH.”

And that pretty much sums up the media’s approach to the news these days.

More sayings from the Desert Fathers.

                 ’Abba James said: “We do not want words alone, for there are too many words among people today. What we need is action, for that is what we are looking for, not words which do not bear fruit.”‘

                 ‘A brother asked an old man: “What is humility?” And the old man said: “To do good to those who hurt you.” The brother said: “If you cannot go that far, what should you do?” The old man replied: “Get away from him and keep your mouth shut.”

                 ‘Abba Xanthias said: “A dog is better than I am because it also has love, but it does not pass judgement.”’

                Abba Silvanus said: “Woe to the person whose reputation is greater than his work.”

           Abba Sisoes said: “Seek God, and not where God lives”.

                 (From ‘Desert Wisdom’ translated by Yushi Nomura.)

                Grin or Groan?  Covid humour sent to me.

‘So let me get this straight, there’s no cure for a virus that can be killed by sanitizer or hand soap? Or shall I drink bleach?’

‘Is it too early to put up the Christmas tree yet? I have run out of things to do.’

‘When this virus thing is over with, I still want some of you to stay away from me.’

‘If these last months have taught us anything, it’s that stupidity travels faster than any virus on the planet, particularly among politicians and bureaucrats.’

Answers to the quiz.

                 1) 1207;  2) 1452;  3) 1911;  4) 1892; 

                 5) 1920;  6) 1967;  7) 1066;  8) 1805;

             9) 1642; 10) 1854; 11) 1863; 12) 1517.