Thursday, October 27, 2011


Today we reached the end of the High School volleyball season, short in itself (a matter of ten weeks) but extremely competitive at both Varsity and Junior Varsity (JV) levels. For readers in the United Kingdom I best describe those levels in rugby terms: First fifteen and second fifteen. The latter, in a year or two hoping to step into the boots of the former.

As I had an earlier Archdeaconry meeting some twenty miles south, I made the trek to Port Jefferson late afternoon to support both teams. Kate plays in the JV team, but today sat on the bench with a slinged arm due to a shoulder injury after last evening’s match. And simply observing: Port Jefferson seems to be a most delightful town. It is one of the two sea ferry ports that connect Long Island to Connecticut, and around this maritime base has grown up all sorts of small shops, restaurants, and sundry businesses, and even in this evening’s atrocious weather I decided that I would have to return, snoop and explore.

The Varsity team lost 3-0, and so did the JV team. Now I’m not the sort of “Volleyball parent” who would insist that his daughter would have changed the score-line. I’m more restrained. British old school. Play up and play the game, and that sort of thing. But the kind comments and wonderful support of Kate by team parents, plus the single sentence of the coach “We missed her. We lost” brought the season to an end in a gentle, melancholy way.

The ninety-minute drive home was a complete nightmare in the face of a northeast wind and torrential rain. The road south (County Road 112) that connected us with the expressway was awash with rainwater, and even at 40 mph I was aquaplaning, yet staying in control using my skills honed in France on a long, stormy drive, nearly twenty five years ago. We returned home safe.

On opening my emails I read a number of comments, and followed links with regard to St Paul’s Cathedral, and the resignation of Canon Giles Fraser, a man with whom I occasionally correspond, and less occasionally disagree.

Even from a distance, and knowing of the shameful political leadership structures that underpin St Paul’s, it is accepted knowledge that Giles did not jump, but was pushed. But that is the outcome of accepting that finance committees, investment guidelines and various lay bodies have eventual control over the Church. God forbid that the priests get in the way!

I was going to write another essay about St Paul’s cathedral, but a more capable and authoritative priest, voicing my thoughts, got there before me.

I post it here.

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