A New Month, A New Life?


Most of the people who follow this blog will probably know by now that I was rejected by my BAP, and so won’t start to train for the priesthood for at least another 2 years. The ins and outs behind this, and what followed leaves me with a fair few rather catty observations, so for now, I shall not explore that subject further..

However, as the future I had carefully planned for was turned upside down, I found myself needing a job – badly. It was a prospect I wasn’t looking forward to at all. The last time I tried applying for jobs in the UK I had to apply for 386 jobs before I finally managed to find full-time employment. However, now having both a UK degree and some work history to show in the UK, I found myself being rather popular, in fact, I applied for less than 20 jobs and had about 6 invites to interviews. In the end, I was offered, and accepted, a dream job – Operations Manager at Galop – the UK’s only LGBT specific anti-violence charity.

I have been there for almost a month now, and it’s fair to say that I am loving it so far. The job is lovely, and the team is great. Of course, being back in my beloved London is a great added bonus! Another thing to put on the list of superlatives about my current life is that I have ended up worshipping in a church where a close friend is the incumbent, and so I’ve already been back in the cassock twice since I left Oxford.

On Saturday, I will also be back marching at London Pride – the first time ever marching here in London and the first time marching in a Pride since 2004. With the state of the world – and recent events – it is more important than usual to march, and on Saturday, more than ever for me, it most certainly feels like Pride will be a protest, not a party.

Anyway, I will hopefully be more active on the blog now that I will have a life worth blogging about again.

(The picture was taken by me on my recent 10-mile walk from Blackfriars to Canary Wharf – gotta love a summery London!)

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God Save the Queen!

Sermon given at Evensong on the 67th Anniversary of the
Accession of HM Queen Elizabeth II
(6 February 2019)
In the Chapel of the Resurrection, Pusey House, Oxford

Readings: Proverbs 8.1-17; Romans 13.1-11

Father: all those words and thoughts which come from thee – whilst thou bless them and make them fruitful. And all those words and thoughts that come not from thee but from our own vanity – wilt thou forgive. Amen

It is something reassuringly Anglican and English to have a separate service in the prayer book for the Accession of the reigning Sovereign. Today, as we have done in the Church of England for over 60 years, we pray for Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor, Queen of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth Realms.

During her 67 year reign she has seen 12 prime ministers, 7 Archbishops of Canterbury and 7 popes and she has had 237 streets named after her. There are people receiving old-age pension in England today who have never lived to see another queen, and she is probably also the reigning monarch in the world who is married to the worst driver….

However, despite all these interesting factual nuggets, what I was planning to focus on tonight was another of her titles (and no, it’s neither her Maori title of The White Heron, nor her freemanship of the town of Long Beach, California…): Defender of the Faith and Supreme Governor of the Church of England.

When we listen to today’s reading from St Paul’s letter to the Romans, it is perhaps not surprising that the Coronation Rite contains a fair few elements of the Ordination Rite: the hymn Veni Creator Spiritus (or, in English – Come Holy Ghost Our Souls Inspire), the Archiepiscopal laying-on of hands and the anointing with Holy Oil, and part of the Coronation Robes include a stole (worn in the fashion of a Bishop) and a cope.

While this very reading can be read in a very problematic fashion – something I believe Fr Mark dealt with in his sermon last Sunday – what I want to focus on is one single sentence – “for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing”. I want to say that that is exactly what Her Majesty have done, throughout her 67 years as our Queen and Supreme Governor of the Church of England.

Not only is she explicitly called to do so in the coronation rite – when she’s given the sword by the Archbishop, she’s told:

With this sword do justice,
stop the growth of iniquity,
protect the holy Church of God,
help and defend widows and orphans,
restore the things that are gone to decay,
maintain the things that are restored,
punish and reform what is amiss,
and confirm what is in good order.

As recently as in her 2018 Christmas Day televised speech, she gave examples of her reliance on her personal faith to sustain her in her work, and it is there that I think that we as Christians, and perhaps especially as Christians in a setting where we consider our vocation, be that lay or ordained.

In Her Majesty we see someone who has gone through her fair share of hardships, and has drawn her strength to cope with these struggles from her relationship with God. This is not to say that God is a marketable cosmetic – a foundation maker by Royal Appointment, although I suspect she does apply it, or rather immerse herself in it every day. It is, extraordinarily, not expensive to buy – although it demands our whole life to enjoy it to the full. And it is far from a Royal Exclusive – it is, of course, available to everyone.

We find these themes, as you would expect, written deeply into the coronation service itself, but also revisited week by week – even day by day – in churches throughout the land. It’s worth looking up the coronation service that I’ve already quoted from. You will find in there the conviction that as Head of State, the Queen is also – as we have already heard – the defender of the faith – she is responsible at the same time for her people’s material and spiritual wellbeing.: country and faith belong together in the history of this land of ours.

At her coronation, the Queen made these oaths: to govern; to uphold justice and mercy; to maintain the ‘Laws of God and true profession of the Gospel’ and the life of the Church of England. … Then, she was presented with a Bible, described in the service as “the most valuable thing that this world affords … Here is Wisdom; This is the Royal Law; These are the lively Oracles of God.” So, what is this wisdom which I have claimed is the Queen’s secret of success, which we might choose to follow?

She knew at her coronation that God had appointed her to the task, and others had confirmed this – it was neither self‐serving, not a random notion that had come unbidden into her head. Her strength has come from a conviction that God was responsible for putting her in this position – so it was now upon God that she could rely to find the strength, the wisdom, and the perspective to fulfill her duties.
The second reading, of course, underlined this sense of calling – of God’s ordering, if you like, of society. “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except from God.” Now this can be used to justify all sorts of abuse, and has been over the centuries – but only by those who strip the second half of the verse from its context.

Even the King, or the Queen, serves God. Every Friday, in our Book of Common Prayer communion service the priest prays that God would: “so rule the heart of thy chosen servant ELIZABETH, our Queen and Governor, that she (knowing whose minister she is) may above all things seek thy honour and glory” The Queen does not actually serve us, nor does she serve the nation – she serves God, and He holds our best interests, our material and spiritual wellbeing, in his heart.

It is this above all else, I believe, that has given her strength, and the ability, almost without fail, to hold an even keel, a steady passage, throughout her ministry as Queen, as her eyes have been upon Him. For it is, truly, a ministry – an act undertaken for the sake of God. Those who hold public office, and are called to public service, who do so in order to serve the state, or the community, or, heaven help us, themselves or their party, give their lives to serve something which is less than perfect ‐ and thereby run the greater risk of abusing others. Something which it might be wise to keep in mind these days more than ever…

There is no cause other than God who is truly to be trusted with our human destiny. Our Queen has demonstrated that to be so, and demonstrated, I believe, the sustainability, and generosity of spirit that flourishes when it is rooted in the grace and love of God. And so her cue is taken from obedience to God’s command, and the concluding words of our second lesson: Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. We are a nation who are loved by our Queen, as she offers her life in obedience to her calling from God. May we be inspired to do the same.

And so, therefore, let us pray, using slightly revised words of the penultimate verse of the version of the National Anthem found in the Stuckey Coles Club hymnal:

From every latent foe
From the assassins’ blow
God save The Queen
O’er her Thine arm extend
For Britain’s sake defend
Our mother, queen and friend
God save The Queen!

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Rejoice in the Lord!

Sermon preached on the 3rd Sunday of Advent (Gaudete Sunday) in St Bartholomew’s Church, Yarnton. Readings: Zephaniah 3.14-20, Philippians 4.4-7 & S Luke 3.7-18.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice!
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit. Amen.

It is a rather interesting combination of readings today, for once the Old Testament seems to be the more positive and encouraging one – emphasising the saving and caring nature of the Lord, and then, surprise, surprise, an exuberant and joyful Saint Paul, and then John the Baptist calling his audience a brood of vipers…..

I don’t intend to insult any of you here today by comparing you to a viper, so let’s instead focus on the theme of this Sunday – Gaudete.

The name of this Sunday comes from the Latin translation of the introit sung at some High Masses on this day, but we can just as well claim that it comes from the Philippians reading we heard a few minutes ago, Gaudete means rejoice in Latin, and that rejoicing goes through the readings today as a theme, but more about that later…

As we can see, today Father Oliver is pretty in pink – or, well, we are apparently not supposed to call it pink…. The colour is known as rose, some people claim to signify that Christ rose from the dead (He certainly didn’t pink from the dead….). We change colours to signify that this is a Sunday of rejoicing, rather than of penitence, and as you can see on the advent wreath, the candle for the Third Sunday of Advent is rose as well.

So, rejoice. Advent in general is known to be a time of preparation, preparation for the coming of Christ by repentance, abstinence and penitence. Today, however, we focus on joyful expectation, after all, we see both Paul and Luke discuss the imminent coming of Christ. The theologian Henry Nouwen describes joy very beautifully thus: the experience of knowing that you are unconditionally loved and that nothing – sickness, failure, emotional distress, oppression, war, or even death – can take that love away.

It is that joy we are looking forward to, the joy expressed in both the Old Testament reading and in the Epistle. But do we see this joy in the Gospel as well?

Picture the scene. It’s 2000 years ago. You’re a God- fearing Jew who lives in Galilee. You’ve heard stories of a strange, wild but wise man out in the desert who is bringing some new teaching about God. He is baptising people in water. You decide, along with some friends to make the dangerous journey out into the desert to hear him for yourself, what’s this amazing new message he has? You’ve been walking for a good couple of hours and eventually you find the crowd around this man called John. He’s dressed strangely in rough camel skin and is sitting in silence under the shade of a tree. You wait for something to happen. Looking around the silent, shifting and expectant crowd you notice a few Roman soldiers, their armour glinting in the sun and even some tax collectors. You look down – not a good idea to get spotted by these men.

Suddenly, John leaps to his feet, a stern look in his eye and shouts “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” You’re taken aback. How could he be so rude? Strangely though, you want to hear more. You hang on his every word and so does everyone in the crowd. His teaching is so powerful that you wonder if he could be the messiah, God’s anointed one, the one your people have been waiting for. As soon as this thought enters your mind John says: “I baptise you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming: I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire”

Did you spot the joy in the story? Let’s see if we can find it.
Advent is about expectation – in our reading today it says that the crowd were full of expectation. We, in the run up to Christmas are also full of expectation. Where do you expect to find the presence of God?

John the Baptist was sent by God to point to the coming of Jesus Christ. In today’s Gospel reading, Luke gives us some hints as to what the good news about the kingdom is, some ideas of what to expect the world will look like when Jesus is around.

There are 3 clues in this story. The first is in the kind of people that gather around John. Some people there are Jews – who are pretty confident that they’re God’s chosen people. Then we have two other groups that you wouldn’t expect to be there – some tax collectors – unpleasant individuals who often took more money than they were supposed to in taxes working for the Roman government (Having worked as an accountant for ten years, I will not comment on Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs…)

The other group are Roman soldiers from the hated occupying forces. These are the people who are attracted to John, not just religious people but other folk, foreigners and outcasts. So the first clue about the good news is that God’s kingdom is for everyone. Every time I come to church I’m reminded of this fact – we have people here from many nations and backgrounds – and we’re all united by our love for Jesus.

The second clue is in John’s teaching. He tells the people to give to those who are in need and to live in an honest way in order to please God. He doesn’t, as we might expect, tell the soldiers and tax collectors to stop working for the Romans: he’s more interested in the intentions of their hearts. He uses the imagery of growing fruit. John is telling the people that it’s no good going through the motions with God – our lives are made good by the evidence we produce – by their fruit. God isn’t interested in what the world thinks looks good, He looks deep into our motivations. John’s baptism was one of repentance. The word repentance, in Greek, metanoia, means to change your mind or to turn around – to see the world in a different way. Doesn’t John’s teaching sound a lot like the teaching of Jesus?

The third clue about the good news of the kingdom is that something is coming that is even better than we expected. John says, “you think I’m exciting? Wait until you meet the one that comes after me!”So in a desert, a dry place, a place of desolation we hear a voice bringing good news.. The wise men whose arrival we celebrate at epiphany in January went looking for a king in a sensible place – the palace in Jerusalem. Is that where they found God? No, they found a small child in a small forgotten area on the edge of Jerusalem. If we went looking for God today, would we expect to find him in the Town Hall or would He surprise us by being found in a the poorest areas of our town on the edge of the city?

Our God is a God of surprises. Here we have found God in a desert place. We don’t always find God where we expect him to be. But he is here with us, God with us, Emmanuel. This is the joy we find on Gaudete Sunday.

Today we can rejoice because God’s kingdom is coming, here in the desert place, a kingdom where everyone is welcome, where there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave or free, male or female – people who worship a God who can do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine!

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice! In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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An advent sermon…

Preached on Wednesday in the First Week of Advent 2018

The Chapel of the Resurrection, Pusey House, Oxford

Readings (KJV): Isaiah 8.16-9.7, James 2.14-end.

“If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?”

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The writings of James are perhaps not what we want to hear in the middle of this month of over-indulgent shopping, eating and drinking, but there we are – it is in the lessons appointed for tonight, and they are eerily similar to the readings we heard on Monday evening – where James admonishes us to be “doers of the word and not hearers only”, and yesterday he further beat us up last night, reminding us of the one of the ten commandments I personally struggle the most with – “Love thy neighbour as thyself”.

There’s almost as if there would be a thought behind the way the lectionary is put together…

To hear all of this during the busiest shopping month of the year, (the Christmas shopping in the UK last year was worth almost £79 billions!) to me almost feels like a slap in the face.

Even more so, when we see one of the largest economies in the world fires teargas on innocent children seeking refuge. Apparently there was no room for them in the inn…

We need not even look across the Atlantic Ocean… Here, in England’s green and pleasant land, the food bank use has increased with more than 52% since the roll out of Universal Credit in the areas where it has been adopted as general policy, and Oxford has more people per capita sleeping rough than most other places in England.

Almost every Sunday at High Mass in this very chapel, we hear the priest recite the Summary of the Law, in which we find the words “And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself”, to which we all reply “Lord, have mercy upon us and write all these thy laws in our hearts, we beseech thee”.

Does it sound like something that needs repeating?

To me, it actually feels like James wrote his letter to us in present-day western society, rather than in the late first century, and that he sees us in our bleakness and failings in asking what we, ever weekday at noon,  ask the Blessed Virgin to pray for us to become – “That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ”.

It is not exactly as if this call to care for the vulnerable is unique to James either – in Matthew’s gospel, in the story where Jesus puts himself in the position of the thirsty, the naked, the stranger, the sick and the prisoner, He Himself declares: “ Verily I say unto you – Inasmuch as ye did it not to the least of these, ye did it not to me”.

So, having now been beaten hard with Scripture – what can we do then? If it is as James said that faith without works is dead, then what are the works?

Can I suggest that we do what Presiding Bishop Michael Curry said in his sermon at the Royal Wedding earlier this year:

“Imagine governments and nations where love is the way. Imagine business and commerce where this love is the way.”


In my imagination that leads us towards a world where we all manage to keep both faith and works together, not in tension, but as in parts of the same whole.

I can see a world where all of us God’s people, will keep Christ in Christmass not only by keeping Mass in Christmass but also by seeing Christ in our neighbour, by feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the lonely, protecting the oppressed and vulnerable, and sheltering the homeless.

I can see a world in which we prepare for the coming of Our Lord and Saviour not only by buying the most advanced toys, or by cooking the most elaborate Christmas meal or by having the straightest lines walked by the servers at Midnight Mass, but also by doing those good deeds that the same Christ has commanded us to do.

A homily is perhaps not the best place to list all the things you can do, even if you cannot fit in volunteering at the foodbank or at the Samaritans into your busy schedule, but there are many charity shops that will happily accept that Christmas gift from old aunt Joan that you simply don’t like, or many charities selling Christmas cards where part of the profits go to the charity, or indeed many charities that would welcome a penny or two.

However, I think it might be equally as much, if not even more so, about a change of outlook, a heartfelt change of priorities, and so, let us pray:

Lord, when we strive after healing in the world and nourishment for those who hunger, we find you on our side. Whenever we long to see your face, help us not to avoid the corners of our communities where you most often dwell. Stir our hearts that we might seek and find you today in those places where you have promised to be. Amen.

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Ron and Luke – Two Peas in a Pod?


Sermon preached in the Chapel of the Resurrection, Pusey House, Oxford, Evensong on Wednesday, 17 October 2018
(First ES of S Luke)

Readings: Psalmody for the 17th Evening, Isaiah 55, S Luke 1.1-4

Father: all those words and thoughts which come from thee – whilst thou bless them and make them fruitful. And all those words and thoughts that come not from thee, but from our own vanity – wilt thou forgive. Amen.

I have been reliably informed by legal friends that, at cross examination, one is never to ask a question to which one doesn’t know the answer, and, by some preaching friends, never to ask questions you don’t intend to answer. I fear, however, that I might raise a few questions later in this sermon that I will not fully answer, nor always know the answer to, ‘coz thats how wild I’m feeling tonight.

“My song shall be always of the loving-kindness of the Lord” – could anything be more apt for an evangelist? The Greek word “evangelium” (from which comes ‘evangelist’) does, as many of you will know, mean good news – and what better news is there than the loving-kindness of the Lord? Thus – what better psalm to have when trying to preach about one of my four favourite evangelists – Luke, patron saint of both students and butchers?

To give you a bit of background, let me tell you about a young man. He never had the main role himself, but rather was a follower of someone who gave his life for his people, he was always a faithful servant, cheerful, kind and ready to help, and in the end he turned out to be a crucial player in the furthering of the message of the person he’s following.

No, the person I am talking about is not Saint Luke, in fact, it’s Ronald Weasley, classmate of Harry Potter at Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Ron did, indeed, prepare the way for Harry’s defeat of the evil Lord Voldemort, and while initially coming across as scared and selfish, he did indeed almost sacrifice his own life for the defeat of Voldemort and his Death Eaters.

Ron and Luke – two peas in a pod?

So – who was Luke? Many people say that he was a physician, living in the city of Antioch, a historian and the first known icon painter. While it is not 100% certain that he actually wrote his eponymous Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles, they still tend to be attributed to him.

He is also frequently called a “physician of the soul”, something that is perhaps even more apt as his day falls within the octave of the World Mental Health Day, a day instituted to draw attention to mental health and work against the social stigma connected with mental health difficulties. This stigma comes from the prejudices and misconceptions people have about mental health problems and reflects in that people often feel ashamed to mention their mental health struggles.

In the second reading tonight, we hear the author of the gospel declare the certainty of the things “wherein thou hast been instructed”, and surely certainty and literal interpretation of scripture – or indeed any cause – is praiseworthy – OR IS IT?

In the same way as Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters were certain of their mission and that ‘Magic is Might” (the supremacy of wizards and the subordination of muggles – people without magical abilities), you can be absolutely convinced about something, while still not making it necessarily a good thing (such as prejudices about your neighbour). In the first reading tonight we heard the prophet Isaiah say:

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways,
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

As such, on the day dedicated to the advocate of Jesus’ concern for those in need of help and mercy, perhaps it is incumbent on us here to think about our response to those exact people, and how they have been hurt by the Church’s response in the past?. Perhaps it is incumbent on us to be constantly re-examining our interpretation of Scripture? Perhaps it is incumbent on us to consider ways to be true to the essence of our respective traditions – whether we are Evangelicals, Pentecostals, Middle-of-the-Road Anglicans, Lutherans, Anglo-Catholics or Sedevacantist Roman-Catholics, and still be a Church that is inclusive, welcoming and relevant to modern society?

Remember how I said earlier that I was going to raise a few questions tonight that I wasn’t planning to answer? Well, I have actually changed my mind – I will try to answer them, for once volunteering my own opinion on a hot-button topic, something that will shock those who know me….

I think it IS incumbent on us now, more than ever, to start focussing on the things that unites us as Christians rather than issues on female ordination, same-sex relationships, the way we celebrate the sacraments (and if we should celebrate them at all), the amount of lace on our vestments (and if we should wear them at all), papal infallibility (and whether we recognise his authority at all), and the way man-made structures and institutions stops us from living out the good news of the Gospel!

I think it IS incumbent on us now, more than ever, to show that care for people’s’ souls that people ascribe to Saint Luke, and to be a church that is
contemplative – in that we pray, proclaim the good news of the Kingdom as well as teach, baptise and nurture new believers,
compassionate – in that we respond to human need by loving service, safeguard God’s creation, and try our hardest to pursue peace and reconciliation
courageous – in that we try to transform unjust structures of society and that we try to be welcoming and inclusive to people from all walks of life.

Let us pray.

Wondrous God, lover of lion and lizard, cedar and cactus, raindrop and river, we praise You for the splendour of the world! We thank You, that woven throughout the tapestry of earth are the varied threads of human diversity. Created in Your image, we are a plethora of differences. Different and alike, we are Your beloved people. Free us, we pray, from fears of difference that divide and wound us. Move us to dismantle our attitudes and systems of prejudice. Renew our commitment to make this a household of faith for all people that all who worship and minister here may know the grace and challenge of faith. In our life together, grant us minds and hearts eager to learn, reluctant to judge, and responsive to the leading of Your loving Spirit. We ask in Christ’s name, Amen.

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Holiday is over!


Stained Glass Window, Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford

And so, I find myself at the end of my Easter holiday. This week saw both a trip to London to attend a High Mass of the Annunciation at my old home parish and a visit from my sister. It was, as always, lovely to be back in the parish that re-kindled my will to discern a vocation to Holy Orders back in 2014-5, and to see old friends!

My dear sister had a less-than-promising start to her visit to Oxford, as the coach broke down when I went to meet her at the airport, leading to me being 30 minutes delayed. What I didn’t think of when I updated her by texts of my adventures was that not all Swedish PAYG phones work abroad. Hers just happened to be one of those that don’t… In the end, we found each other at the airport, and had a good time together, exploring various shops, markets and museums here in Oxford (including Christ Church College and Cathedral, where the picture above was taken).

It is now Sunday in 0th week, and I have served at the parish church for the last time until June, and led Evening Prayer in the same church wearing full academic robes, for the first (and probably last – it was awfully hot!) time. Term begins in earnest here at the Domus tomorrow morning, and I am rather looking forward to the busyness of it all again – it will be very good to be back on a regular schedule!




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A Week Off Work


Paper dress and mens’ suit from the exhibition Victorian Passions and Pursuits, Blenheim Palace

And so, the first week of the Easter holiday for us interns is over. This week, I have managed both a trip to London and hosting a friend. While I very much enjoy meeting up with my London friends, it was wonderful to have a day pottering around London on my own, with nothing in the diary apart from a haircut. (I usually get my hair cut at a barbering school in London – check them out!) I saw a few churches I haven’t been to before, and a museum I didn’t even know existed. I also managed to re-visit a few favourite haunts, and it was with a happy mind (and full stomach!) I returned to Oxford.

Then, my friend Monika arrived, and we have been busy since she arrived 🙂 Shopping, Oxford sightseeing, churches, Masses (both high and low), a fair few pubs, plenty of walking, and much more. The highlight of Monika’s visit has to be our visit to Blenheim Palace and the nearby town of Woodstock. Blenheim Palace remains to this day the home of the Dukes of Marlborough. It was built in the English Baroque style, and was finished in the 1720s. It is perhaps most famous for being the birthplace of Winston Churchill, but other residents have included an (slightly mad) amateur scientist, an American railroad heiress, and Queen Anne’s Mistress of the Robes.

The Palace is open to the public, but the present Duke still lives there with his family. On our visit we explored the state rooms, as well as the formal gardens, park and pleasure garden with butterfly house. Being a non-driver (at least in this country) I very rarely get to see big country houses, so to have access to one nearby is a treat. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves (despite the fact that we gave the merry-go-round a miss…) and I will most certainly return again!

We continued our tour to the nearby town of Woodstock, which at one point was most famous for its bell foundry, now a small and cozy country town. (The Woodstock Festival, however, was named after the Woodstock in New York State…).

By the time this is posted, Monika has returned to Sweden, and I am catching up on sleep after having walked her to the 5.15am airport coach to LGW…. I am looking forward to another visitor this week – my younger sister is coming for three nights, and after that, we face 0th week, and the start of, what looks like a busy, Trinityterm here at Pusey House.

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