An explanation

Having read last week’s blog post, a few people have asked why I have not taken the matter further. Why did I not stick out for a pay-out?  Why did I not go public?  Have I not let them get away with it?

Well firstly, they may look as if they have got away with it now, but as I said last week, there will be a judgement Day,.

I did not have the strength to go for a pay-out.  There were times I did not have the strength to get on the first train in the morning let alone get confrontational.  And there too is why I did not go public.

There is no ‘statute of limitations’ on my calling those that I could, to account. But what happens?  Money gets spent that should be spent on the betterment of those who should be served.  I could, as I have been told, win easily and then return any money.  And a win would be easy with recordings and transcripts of conversations and emails judged as hectoring and harassing, screenshot and kept safe.

But money would still be diverted from its just cause.  When we are entrusted with public money we have a responsibility to see the public are served appropriately.  There is no point in complaining the government waste money and then engage in similar activities, be they defending your case or having your mates in as consultants so they can earn a bit of bunce and be nice to you when you need payback.

My integrity just would not allow it.


16 October 2021

I’m telling you this as someone who in the past would say you want to kill yourself you’ll bloody well do it, there is no such thing as a failed suicide attempt

A year ago today I tried to drown myself in the bath. I chose that method because I didn’t want it to look like suicide.

It was a Saturday, I came home from work on Friday believing I was taking off a clerical shirt for the last time. The following morning I went to Tesco’s and acted perfectly normally. There was a conversation about the persecution I felt I was under,

but I acted perfectly normally, until 11.24am when I was home alone.

I tried twice to kill myself, neither time was successful (obvs), I have no recollection of getting out of the bath at all.

When my wife came home I was sitting on the bed with just a towel.

As she called ‘hello’ I called back ‘hi-ya’ in a nice jovial fashion, I said nothing.

A year on Tuesday (18th) coming, after a few chats with my wife and two good mates (no disclosure of what I had tried, to anyone) I rang the doctors. The doctor rang me back ten minutes later.

We were on the phone for almost an hour. She talked me into, among much else, medication.

It had its side effects but hey, I’m here to tell you about it.

Please, never judge a suicide. Believe me, something takes over and you just crack on with it as best you can

In my case I failed, to be frank I consider that to be God’s way of telling me to sod off (Not now Tone) but with this in mind the work of the likes of @BlokesClub is vital (in the true etymology of the word)

It’s interesting that those who I consider to be my three persecutors, one of whom I have proven to be a liar, seem oblivious to the parousia

Recent developments

Well, it’s been over a year, but I thought I must share this.  With all that has been said and done in the recent past, with all the words that have been bandied about, and all the accusations that have been made, something has been quietly happening in the background.

I have been preparing parents to have their children baptised for fifteen years.  In the second of three sessions we speak about passing on the faith to our children, how was the faith passed on to us, or how did you come to faith.

In that session, we ask cradle Catholics ‘who was the greatest influence on your faith as a child, and who is it now?’  To those who have come to the faith as adults, we ask the latter part of the question.

Generally, the answer will be a parent or grandparent, sometimes a priest or teacher for the early days.  In most cases, the same answer was given for both parts of the question.  You would get the occasional friend or priest, only once was it a deacon, and it wasn’t me, but for ten to twelve years, the replies were fairly standard.

But of late the same name keeps coming up as a reply to the latter part of the question, the same person who has been equally influential in renewing people’s faith or bringing them to the faith.

Pope Francis.

What did I miss?

I’ve been off Twitter for Lent.  I did sneak back in to send a message to someone on their graduation day, and on another occasion  I retrieved a message from another after it was mentioned, but I managed to resist the temptation to look at my feed, or to post.  And resisting temptation is what Lenten fasting is all about.

There were a few events I’d have loved to Tweeted about, such as

  • Shelagh Fogarty’s   caller Phil, who wants to be helped by an assisted suicide facility.  Shelagh handled him perfectly.
  • Katie Boyle dying. I met her three times, each time I was star struck (but I was a teenager)
  • The prisons’ minister saying we send people to prison as a punishment, we don’t add to the punishment when we are there.  Well said sir.
  •  The ‘A Thousand Years‘ video to mark World Down’s Syndrome day.  We used it in assembly to great effect.
  • Going to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child over two nights.  A Christmas present from our eldest daughter.  It was magic!
  • Having a ticket to see Scott Hahn at The Holy Rosary Shrine in Belsize Park.  I could not use it as I was at Harry Potter.  I had seen him before at Farm Street on 31 October 2008 (He made an impression as you can tell) and I’m delighted the talk can be seen on EWTN‘s Youtube channel.
  • Taking sixty Year Eight pupils to Mass in the school’s local parish a part of the parish mission and some of them repeating Fr Elias’ message “We do what we have to so we can do what we want to”
  • Saying Happy St Joseph’s Day to St Joseph’s College
  • William from The Cedars School winning the first ever Young Croydon Mayor election
  • Stephen Hawking dying
  • Congratulating St James the Great in getting to the final (football)
  • A prospective Head Boy saying at the hustings “A community without unity is not a community”
  • Nick Hewer being on The Great British Bake-Off.  This was one of the funniest programmes I have seen in ages.  Nick’s comic timing when saying “I’ll never do it again” and “You try filling a biscuit” still make me smile.

Finally, a cryptic message.  Professor, if you had not known what my letter was about you would have got in touch.  Thank you for your own personal confirmation of who you are.

Happy Easter!



You can’t please ’em all

The story was reported this week of a Bradford primary school banning  sausage rolls, pork pies and other foods they school deems unhealthy.  Some laud this initiative others don’t, one parent told the BBC schools should ‘stick to teaching kids.

I completely agree with the schools motivation but if my children’s primary or secondary schools had issued such an edict I would not be happy.  But how many conversations have I had about poor packed lunches, not only as a member of school staff but as a parent hearing anecdotal stories on the same matter.

On my first ever school trip as a parent helper another parent tutted at the crisps and Penguin one of the children had to enhance a cheese sandwich and apple.  The same parent was unhappy that another child’s apple was not sliced and a third child had Jelly Tots in a pot of plain fromage frais.  For myself, I saw it as none of my business, but relaying this jolly tale would  prompt stories of other, much more unusual, packed lunches and breakfasts.

I heard of the child who came into infants school with a McDonald’s hamburger for breakfast each day.  Another child was suddenly late for school regularly, chats with mum found out they were getting a bus to Greggs for the child’s breakfast, and the times of the buses from the shops to school had changed, hence the lateness.  When the idea of breakfast at home was suggested mum felt she ‘didn’t have time and coco pops are very unhealthy.’

I also heard of the school that had a rule of no chocolate in packed lunches for trips, but these were replaced by Haribo and worse!  When I started working in schools I was taken aback by the packed lunch that consisted of a family pack of Doritos and a small box of Ferrero Rocher.  

Most school staff will tell you of the post lunch rise in sugar levels when you are on a trip (it’s a fact, believe me) and I think it’s right to say “don’t bring…..”  but a blanket ban on various things, can they do that?  Well, yes, if they feel they have to.

All school rules have to apply to everyone, be it walk on the left, stand when a member of staff enters the room, ‘do up that top button’, or telling parents not to drive into the school (as we saw this week).  Obviously extreme cases will bring exceptions, but you have to be hard pushed not to find anyone, parent or child who will not understand.

The other option would be to single out parents “Dear Mr & Mrs Jones, your children packed lunches could be better, have you considered humous and crudite? Or wholemeal bread?”  You can’t ask selected parents to watch what is put in lunchboxes, this would simply be divisive, so the action taken by the school this week is the safest way of heading towards educating their children in the benefits of a healthy diet.

Such news is not a new departure, just google “school tells parents about packed lunches” there is a plethora of stories.  There is also a plethora of people who would say schools should be telling parents about healthy diet. As we know, you can’t please everyone so the school has to do what the senior leadership team identifies as  appropriate for their intake.

There have been similar conversations about homework.  Primary school homework is often mentioned as a major source of stress for some.  But as some will be stressed by the very idea of sitting down with their nine year old and working on integers or compound nouns, others will relish it.

One of my early Twitter claims to fame was Kirsty Allsop responding to me when she was unhappy about the homework her son was bringing home from his reception class. I’d known reception class homework to be an idea of what to speak to your children about, or what to read to them, or with them.  In a thread on the matter I I tweeted that schools often have to give guidance, Ms Allsop responded to me “so give guidance, not homework”.  The next response was from a lady saying her son did not realise that colouring a sheet  with shoes, shops, sheep etc was homework, neither was showing her what he could read.

If primary school homework is not done, there is nothing that can be done about it, parents get the choice of doing it or not.  Ultimately it’s the same with packed lunches. You will not find any school with a homogenised intake, nor will you find a school issuing edict for the laughs

Silly memories

About 40 years ago an exchange between two of my colleagues had the whole office giggling like idiots for too long.  When David asked a question, Pat, who was the quietest of people responded in a way that took us all by surprise and made us all snigger like naughty school children, to the point where we had to stop answering outside calls for over an hour.

Wanting to know what day of the week it would be David asked “what’s June the third”, to which the never say boo to a goose Pat replied, in an Australian accent “The queen of Bloody Australia.”

I know, you had to be there, and to know how out of character this was for Pat, but all these years later I still cherish the memory.