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31st December 2008 (Wednesday)
VERY BEST WISHES TO YOU ALL FOR THE COMING YEAR.
13th December 2008 (Saturday)
I'm about to start working on the video that Margaret Morton has sent me. In the meantime :
a) The Ashokan Farewell has been added to the SOUNDS FAMILIAR Appendix. I hope that you like this. It's been messing with my head for several weeks now and this may be one way of exorcising it ! More tracks will be added soon, as requested/ suggested a while ago by Patricia Hawkins.
b) My recent 'disappearance' was unavoidable : I needed space to work on a family project that was long outstanding. My late uncle left behind a collection of photos and other documents which I scanned and made available via the internet to my brother and sisters. I used Google's 'Picasa' (free) photo-sharing facility which is pretty simple to operate and has the facility for adding labels and comments to each photo—an essential feature if you are building a library of photos involving your family history.
Scanning old photos and enhancing them is the most difficult part of the process. I have learnt to wipe and dust each item before scanning so as to avoid hours spent cleaning up dust-spots that are greatly exaggerated once viewed on a screen. (And almost unnoticeable when inspecting them off-screen).
If you intend to leave behind a photo collection for posterity (!) you might like to have a quick peek at the 'photo album' that I created. Here is the link :
http://www.picasaweb.google/einsteintwo Click on the album entitled "The Family of Allen & Evelyn West".
7th December 2008 (Sunday)
Go to the REUNIONS Appendix to see more photos from the recent reunion in Scotland—for which we have Margaret and John Morton to thank, once again. Later in the month, Margaret will also be sending me some video footage. I'll check my drawer to see if there's a spare Bene Merenti to send her. And one for John, if possible. Grazie mille.
PS As the man said, the news of my death has been greatly exaggerated. (I needed a break).
27th November 2008 (Thursday)
I'll be back with fresh material on the weekend. In the meantime, apologies being out of touch for so long.
1st November 2008 (Saturday)
There is a newly-created Appendix for Danby Hall—with the inclusion of a batch of recent photos taken by Gerard Lenaghan. (Of the same high quality as before).
Gerard writes :
" . . . last week I happened to be in Yorkshire. I had my camera with me and paid an unscheduled visit to Danby Hall which is back in the hands of the Scrope Family. It brought back pangs of nostalgia, as I am sure it would to any of my contemporaries. ( As much as St Columba’s did). So I couldn’t help myself but to seek permission to do a photo shoot there too! To those of my era, Danby Hall was as significant as St Columba’s so it might attract some attention from past inmates. "
More to follow soon, with material from John Quinn, Patricia Hawkins, Robbie Dempsey and Bernie Osborne. Yes, it quickly stacks up—so, my apologies to those who are waiting for a reply to an email.
(More staffing problems, as usual. We may have to increase the hourly rate to stop people from leaving).
25th October 2008 (Saturday)
23rd October 2008 (Thursday)
Back again with some more photos to show you. Gerard Lenaghan managed to spend a few hours with us during our recent reunion in Scotland and during that time took a superb set of photos. The quality is so good that I found it hard not to include them all—regardless of the fact that some of the views might have been captured before.
Go to the REUNIONS section to view the first 8 photos.
There will be more to come but bear with me as I try to fit things in between various domestic commitments.
THANK YOU GERARD. Will you please be our official 'stills' man on the next occasion that we meet up?
We have had another entry for our Pearly Gates series. This time it's a True Story from Fr George Smith WF, who used it in his sermon at the reunion Mass. (So it must be authentic) :
A Bishop is on his way out and up to Heaven, fairly confident of a good reception but always looking for ways in which to get a better seat at The Table.
Just behind him is a snivelling wretch, dragging his feet and stinking of booze. He is carrying a fire extinguisher, expecting the worst.
The Bishop offers to carry the tramp for the last 100 yards (91.44 metres) and hoists him up on his shoulders. Eventually—after a great deal of drama and huffing and puffing by the Bishop— The Gates appear on the horizon.
As they get nearer, the tramp, through tearful eyes, humbly calls out to St Peter, begging to be allowed to stay, if only for one night.
"One night ?" says St Peter "We have a room waiting here for you that's yours for all eternity. But ditch the donkey before I unlock the Gates."
13th October 2008 (Monday)
By now, most of us who attended the reunion over the weekend will be back home, shuffling about in woolly woofters* and waiting for news of the WFA** that will pay for it. The company was excellent, the accommodation very comfortable, and the evening meals / management of the evening meals was a bit ****.
Our thanks must go to the following :
Chris Benton for all the background/ unseen organising ;
John Morton, for concocting the Mass plan ;
Margaret Morton for recording much of the weekend on video ;
Those who attended, who made the effort, paid the money and were such good company.
** Winter Fuel Allowance
**** i f f y
More of this another time, when people have sent me photos etc.
Just one new item, getting you up-to-date with the work in which Peter Jennings is involved. Go to the NEWS section for this (see left pane).
9th October 2008 (Thursday)
Two more extracts from John & Margaret Morton's video taken at St Columba's 2002/3 are now ready. Go to the VIDEO section to watch them. (see left pane). Apologies, again, for the lack of quality due to the conversion process.
8th October 2008 (Wednesday)
The 'Class of 58' reunion photo is now displayed in the REUNIONS section—with thanks to Pat Menzies.
7th October 2008 (Tuesday)
How many reunions can you fit into a couple of months ? Four is the answer.
1. 12th-15th August : 'The Class of 58' met up at Templeogue ;
2. 11th September : a 'mini reunion' of John Hennebry, Paul Glover and Robbie Dempsey in Kinsale, County Cork ;
3. 24th September : a 'mini reunion'—this time of John Hennebry, Paul Gritton and Robbie Dempsey—at Trinity College, Dublin ;
4. 10th-12th October : at St Boswell's, this coming weekend.
Check out the REUNIONS section (see left panel) for details of these events.
Eugene would be proud to see The Pelicans still flourishing, two years after his untimely death. (7th November 2006)
5th October 2008 (Sunday)
It's been a busy couple of weeks and progress seems to be very slow. HOWEVER, look what Eric Creaney has dug out for us on GALLERY Pages 342-344.
He has given us nearly 40 photos of his time at Broome Hall, replete with characters that have not appeared before—and lots of painstaking annotation.
Bellisimo! THANK YOU ERIC for all your support.
Haven't we been lucky with the material in these past months ? My favourite photo to date is one that Fr Pierre took some time during 1956-58 : that of the St Columba's lads returning home after a hard day's potato picking. (taken from GALLERY Page 321). It's one that I'd love to see framed and hung in the Business Centre that was once St Columba's.
More to come, though with the reunion approaching on the weekend, I'll just managed to squeeze in a couple of small items.
30th September 2008 (Tuesday)
I have been busy preparing some background material over the last week, and I'm breaking off just to give you a copy of a True Story that John Morton sent me this week :
Paddy Murphy died and was sent on his way to Heaven. Upon his arrival, a concerned St Peter met Paddy at the Pearly Gates. 'I'm sorry Paddy' St Peter said; 'But Heaven is suffering from an overload of goodly souls and we have been forced to put up an Entrance Exam for new arrivals to ease the burden of Heavenly Arrivals.
''That's al right' said Paddy. 'What does the Entrance Exam consist of?'
'Just three Questions' said St Peter.
'Which are?' asked Paddy.
'The first' said St Peter, ' Is, which two days of the week start with the letter 'T'?
The second is: How many seconds are there in a year?
The third is: What was the name of the swagman in Waltzing Matilda? Now,' said St Peter, 'Go away and think about those questions and when I call upon you, I shall expect you to have those answers for me.'
So Paddy went away and gave those three questions some considerable thought (I expect you to do the same).The following morning, St Peter called upon Paddy and asked if he had considered the questions,to which Paddy replied, 'I have.
''Well then, 'said St Peter, 'Which two days of the week start with the letter T?'
Paddy said, 'Today and Tomorrow.'
St. Peter pondered this answer for some time, and decided that indeed ………'Well then Paddy, could I have your answer to the second of the three questions?' St Peter went on, 'how many seconds are there in a year?'
Paddy replied, 'Just twelve!'
'Only twelve?' exclaimed St Peter, 'How did you arrive at that figure Paddy?'
'Easy' said Paddy, 'there's the second of January, the second of February right through to the second of December, giving a total of twelve seconds.'
St Peter looked at Paddy and said, 'I need sometime to consider your answer before I can give you a decision.' And he walked away shaking his head. A short time later St Peter returned to Paddy.
'I'll allow the answer to stand Paddy, but you need to get the third and final question absolutely correct to be allowed into Heaven. Now Paddy, can you tell me the answer to the name of the swagman in Waltzing Matilda?'
Paddy replied: 'Of the three questions, I found this the easiest to answer.'
‘Really!' exclaimed St Peter, 'And what is the answer, Paddy?'
'Yes, Andy' said Paddy.
This totally floored St Peter, and he paced this way and that, deliberating the answer. Finally, he could not stand the suspense any longer, and turning toPaddy, asked 'Paddy, how in God's name did you arrive at THAT answer?'
'Easy' said Paddy 'Andy sat, Andy watched, Andy waited till his Billy boiled.'
And so Paddy entered Heaven . . .
(Please note : Paddy was an Englishman who came from deepest Surrey).
(This is the second in the Pearly Gates series. If there are any more out there I will happily collect and re-print them for you).
24th September 2008 (Wednesday)
There's a half-finished new entry in the VIDEO section, covering visits to the site of St Columba's in 2002 and (with a large reunion) in 2003. The footage was taken by Margaret Morton and a narration added by her husband John (St Columba's 1949-50).
More of this will appear shortly. It has taken a long time to get this far with the video but most of the time-consuming difficulties have now been overcome.
I'm not pleased with the quality of these videos but can do little to improve things. The video has had to undergo re-formatting procedures which generally degrade both colour and focus. Having said that, I'm still very glad to have three interviews on record with the soon-to-be 100-year old Mrs Christine Hughes. Many of you will have known her as cook and laundry lady during your time at St Columba's—and her husband, of course, who helped to create the actual building.
My thanks to John & Margaret Morton for their continuing support.
20th September 2008 (Saturday)
It's worth looking back over the Broome Hall photos (GALLERY Page 331 onwards) because I've added several comments that have been sent in by people such as Susanne Scott (now Lamb)—whom many of you will know.
While you're up and running, go to the SOUNDS FAMILIAR page to listen to Ron Kavana's haunting track, 'Reconciliation'.
Next to follow : even more photos from Eric Creaney.
18th September 2008 (Thursday)
The final page of Jerry Buxton's photos is now displayed on GALLERY Page 341.
Thank you, Jerry, you've made an old man very happy—and quite a lot of Dutch contemporaries too, no doubt.
I'm now going back over these 6 pages to see that I haven't made too many errors ! I've been rushing to get these pictures out and have dropped more than a few apostrophes on the way.
17th September 2008 (Wednesday)
1. There's another page of Jerry Buxton's photos ready : go to GALLERY Page 340 to view them.
2. I am indebted to Fr Pierre Aucoin who spotted a reversed photo on Page 339 (second item from the end).
3. I need to present the annotation of these large group photos in an easier format and will give this some thought. In the meantime, please continue with the naming of faces and places.
4. DON'T FORGET : YOU STILL HAVE TIME TO REGISTER FOR NEXT MONTH'S REUNION AT ST BOSWELL'S.
(see the REUNIONS section at left). Chris Benton is the co-odinator. (Find his details in the CONTACTS or REUNIONS section).
16th September 2008 (Tuesday)
The second, third and fourth pages of Jerry Buxton photoss are now ready : go to GALLERY Page 337 to view them.
The website is more than nine years old, and we are still unearthing gems such as these. Who would have believed it ?
14th September 2008 (Sunday)
Hot on the heels of Tom Canning is Jerry Buxton (Broome Hall 1963-64) with his own collection of evocative pictures from those days. You might have thought that we have a surfeit of Broome Hall photos but this selection knocks that on the head. Many new faces are featured—both priests and novices—so see if you can help Jerry with the identification of those he has forgotten.
Go to GALLERY Page 336 to see the first of nearly 50 snapshots of that era.
THANK YOU JERRY—and for the most helpful annotation.
12th September 2008 (Friday)
Robbie Dempsey has sent me details of a 'mini reunion' that he enjoyed in Ireland this week—along with his contemporaries : Fr Paul Glover and John Hennebry. Click here to see the details. Just look at the time spent/money/effort just travelling to the venue to witness how strong these bonds are with our past.
Thank you, Robbie—much appreciated.
9th September 2008 (Tuesday)
The rest of Tom Canning's photos can be seen in GALLERY PAGES 331- 335 . These are shots of Broome Hall that were taken in the mid-sixties.
8th September 2008 (Monday)
The first of many pages of photos from Tom Canning start on GALLERY Page 330 Tom was at Broome Hall in 1967, and most of the photos were taken when he re-visited the Hall in 2005. However, Page 330 relates to a time prior to this. The details are rather sketchy and help is needed with identification of names and places again. In an attempt to pinpoint these details I have got myself rather confused ! See if you can shine a light, please.
Tom has sent me over 60 photos, all of which are now ready for posting to the site. I was hoping to complete the process before Big Bang Day but this no longer seems feasible. So, if we all survive to enjoy another day on Wednesday, you'll find the rest of the collection taking shape.
MANY THANKS TOM.
And finally (or sort of) :
a) I've found a very reasonably-priced B+B at Selkirk (6 miles from St Boswell's) if you want to attend next month's reunion and cannot get a bed at the Dryburgh Abbey Hotel.
b) I spoke to Bernie Ahearn on Friday and after wishing me all the best for BB day, told me the following true story :
Jock McTavish is outside the Pearly Gates, hoping that the long wait is purely a formality.
St Peter finally shows and asks for details. "I'm Jock McTavish, frae Galashiels, and I came first in Religious Knowledge during my stay at St Columba's."
St Peter disappears back into the warmth and gets on the blower to God. "It's Jock McTavish from Galashiels, asking to come in. What do you think?"
" Galashiels, you say? Isn't that in Scotland ? Tell him to b***** off. I'm not making porridge for one every day."
4th September 2008 (Thursday)
Page 52 of the HISTORIES section now has some articles taken from The White Fathers magazine of August 1958, kindly lent to us by Robert Clyde. It is no coincidence that these extracts are exactly 50 years old. Recently a reunion was held for the 'Class of 58' survivors(!)—more of which will be coming soon.
With regard to other reunions :
1. There is still time to find accommodation to attend the event at St Boswell's next months (10th-12th October), details of which can be found in the REUNIONS section. And have you seen the Messageboard entry posted this week by Chris Benton?
2. I am a little disappointed that no photos have been submitted of the May reunion that was organised by John Morton—who deserves our thanks for taking responsibility for hotel bookings etc. (A frustrating job at the best of times, as some of you will know).
Someone must have taken one group photo, at least. (I myself took all the up-to-date photos of Bishop's Waltham but was too distracted to take any more).
1st September 2008 (Sunday)
Jerry Buxton has also named the bagpipe player in the photo on GALLERY Page 254.
31st August 2008 (Sunday)
Jerry Buxton has identified a few more people on GALLERY Page 202, the third
and final page of a selection contributed by Kees Neeft.
You might wish to look at these again, to see if this helps to name a few others.
I'm sorry that there hasn't been any new material posted for the past week or so.
We've had a spate of visitors and other domestic pleasures—and it'll be a few days
before normal service is resumed.
(Plenty of goodies to come, by the way).
20th August 2008 (Wednesday)
1. Peter Vale-Humphreys has been busy identifying people that feature in Fr Pierre Aucoin's collection of photos—so go to
GALLERY Pages 320-329 to see the changes. Thank you Peter for this sterling effort.
2. We have Olivia O'Dolan to thank for urging her brother Patrick to take a photo of the new road sign to the 'White Fathers' caves'
at Blacklion. This photo has been inserted into GALLERY Page 182 and there is a link to it in the Blacklion Appendix.
3. Recently, Fr David Cullen wrote a letter of thanks to Robbie Dempsey, who had sent him more books for his library at the Prayer Centre. As usual, David took great care to let Robbie know how things are progressing and I would urge you to read it by clicking here.
10th August 2008 (Sunday)
"The writing on the wall" on GALLERY Page 326 is generating some correspondence. What do YOU think ?
9th August 2008 (Saturday)
The final page of Fr Pierre's collection of photos is now displayed on GALLERY Page 329. This is another set of breathtaking landscapes and shots of St Columba's College. And, as with all of these photos, as fresh as if they had been picked today.
Here we have another substantial contribution to our website, for which we must thank a man who has held on to these photos for 50 years and has taken the time and trouble to pass them along to us. Multi grazie, Fr Pierre !
8th August 2008 (Friday)
Gallery Page 328 has some wonderful shots that Fr Pierre took of the countryside surrounding St Columba's. No wonder people have such an affection for the time that they spent there.
This should whet the appetite for the reunion in October. (October 10th & 11th—see the REUNIONS section for details).
About two more pages of Fr Pierre's photos to come.
7th August 2008 (Thursday)
The next page of Fr Pierre Aucoin's collection of photos can be seen by going to Page 327 of the GALLERY.
I have had generous support from Fr Pierre regarding names and places, who has worked with Peter Vale-Humphreys, Frank Smith and Robbie Dempsey to complete this part of the jigsaw. So, it's worth starting at Page 320, again, to see what has been revealed.
On behalf of all the staff, many thanks to you all.
6th August 2008 (Wednesday)
Just time to let you know that there's another page of Fr Aucoin's photos ready : GALLERY Page 326.
I have had lots of help from various people with regard to individual's names etc and have managed to include some of them today. More to follow tomorrow, hopefully.
5th August 2008 (Tuesday)
Yes, I'm working one day ahead at the moment, just in case I don't get time to post the current crop : Page 325 of the GALLERY .
(A further page of Fr Aucoin's collection).
Please note : I have added this link to every page of Fr Aucoin's photos to help you identify 'names and faces' :
To help with identification, click here to see a list of names from this period.
4th August 2008 (Monday)
Go to Page 324 of the GALLERY to view the fifth page of Fr Aucoin's collection. (The last of the Sports Day photos).
3rd August 2008 (Sunday)
We're on a run here : go to Page 322 & 323 of the GALLERY to view the next TWO pages of Fr Aucoin's collection.
2nd August 2008 (Saturday)
Aren't these photos superb ? Go to Page 321 of the GALLERY to view the next page of Fr Aucoin's collection.
1st August 2008 (Friday)
Fr Pierre Aucoin's outstanding collection of photos that he took during his time at St Columba's begins on Page 320 of the GALLERY . There are over 80 images to process, so please be patient over the coming weeks—but what a treat. Those who were present at St Columba's during that era are lucky indeed to have their young lives chronicled in this way.
If you feature in this extravaganza, please email Fr Aucoin to thank him for his contribution.
23rd July 2008 (Wednesday)
1. A photo of Bud Greene and Peter McKenzie has been added to GALLERY Page 316. (Our thanks to Bud).
2. GALLERY Pages 318 & 319 now display the latest photos from Eric Creaney—with plenty of opportunities to identify old friends and colleagues. Thank you Eric.
22nd July 2008 (Tuesday)
Page 51 of the HISTORIES section is now ready. I have selected articles from the batch of WF/WS magazines that were lent to me (so long ago) by Pat Menzies—hoping that these choices adequately represent the nature of missionary work during the late sixties / early seventies. Wherever possible, these extracts are accompanied by copies of the original photos.
I am sure that Pat will be pleased to see the return of his magazines at long last. This is the longest period in which I have ever held on to material and I am grateful for his contribution and patience.
In my in-tray at the moment are the following items : a dvd from John Morton, a photo from Bud Greene, a 1968 edition of the WF/WS magazine from Robert Clyde and 117 photos from Fr Pierre Aucoin WF, a dozen or so photos from Eric Creaney and a cd-full of photos from Fr David Cullen WF that arrived this morning.
And we thought that material for the website would probably dry up soon!
All of these items will be dealt with 'asap' after a short break that I am taking at the end of the week. This is NOT the annual shut-down that I have referred to in previous years : most of the staff have expressed a wish to take their holidays later in the year to take advantage of out-of-season prices. So, if you ring the office during my absence and nobody answers, please let me know on my return.
18th July 2008 (Friday)
The death of Brother Bernard Black (Brother Amadeus) is recorded on Page 13 of the OBITUARIES section and full tributes have been added to the recoords of Fr Houlihan and Fr Ball.
My thanks to Patricia for pointing me in the right direction for these last two : these tributes often appear on the White Father's International website several months after a death has been recorded. It is well worth the wait : see today's additions.
15th July 2008 (Tuesday)
Peter Jennings (St Columba's 1959-60) was interviewed today on BBC's Radio 4 programme 'PM' to discuss the proposed beatification of Cardinal Newman. Go to the NEWS section to listen to it.
13th July 2008 (Sunday)
Please excuse a 'senior moment' (or sin of Omission) : I did not complete Page 50 of the HISTORIES section. The entries for August-September 1969 were omitted, for some peculiar reason. This has been corrected, so click here to read this section.
12th July 2008 (Saturday)*
Eric Creaney writes (yesterday) :
" I have had a good read through the latest obits,especially John Conway's as he spent some time at Blacklion while I was there and I cannot listen to anyone singing 'She moved through the Fair' without thinking of him. "
11th July 2008 (Friday)
Regular visitors to this site will know that Fr David Cullen writes us an email every few months to let us know how things are progessing in his mission at The Prayer centre. It would take a hardened heart not to be moved by the plight of those he is helping, but it is not all gloom and doom. He uses the money we send with great care and it is inspiring to see the way in which he kick-starts an opportunity for needy causes with such small amounts of money.
So, please, click here to receive his latest news and if there is anything left in the coffers please send it to Pat Gibbons, our Treasurer.
10th July 2008 (Thursday)
Mike Byrne has come up with lots of names and venues for the recent photos he contributed. Go to GALLERY Pages 314 & 315 to view them again and see if you can fill in any gaps.
Once again, MANY THANKS Mike for taking time out during the busiest part of your year. (School's out soon !)
8th July 2008 (Tuesday)
The OBITUARIES section now holds nearly 80 tributes—and these 4 were added today :
Robbie Dempsey has been to a lot of trouble to get hold of the tributes to Frs Stanley Lea and John Conway. These were originally featured in Petit Echo and Fr Roland Champagne WF traced them for us.
Go to Page 13 of the OBITUARIES section to read the latest additions.
However much we are pleased to have this number of tributes on record, there are many significant gaps. I'd be grateful, therefore, if others who are able would follow Robbie's example and track down some of the missing obituaries.
7th July 2008 (Monday)
The new material is now ready. It is taken from 5 copies of the WF/WS magaines that date from the late sixties to the early seventies.
I chose to transcribe the 'Round and About' section from each magazine. These articles presented readers with an update on the latest 'Missionary Movements' and, as such, provide a fascinating insight into WF history of the time. Many well-known and well-respected missionaries are featured in these selections, so I hope that you will find a lot that is of interest.
I am very grateful to Pat Menzies for the loan of the magazines. He has waited a long time for me to process this material and I thank him for his patience.
Go to Page 50 of the HISTORIES section to see this latest addition.
Please note : I am keen to get hold of pre-1999 copies of the WF/WS magazines. If you have any that you would be willing to lend me, please go to the APPEALS section to find out which editions are still 'missing'. (THANK YOU)
3rd July 2008 (Thursday)
It would appear that many email addresses we hold for you are no longer valid.
Please look in the CONTACTS section to make sure that your details are up-to-date.
For your convenience I will now 'date-stamp' any changes that are made to people's records.
I am currently working on some material that is a rather time-consuming, so please bear with me. This should be ready for display within the next few days. (In the meantime, thanks to Pat Menzies, Eric Creaney, Bud Green (via Olivia O'Dolan)—and hang in there, Patricia please!
25th June 2008 (Wednesday)
Eric (Creaney) sent me 3 more photos, which I have now added to Page 317 of the GALLERY.
THANKS, ERIC—another very useful addition to our website.
24th June 2008 (Tuesday)
Eric Creaney has done it again : go to Page 317 of the GALLERY to scan the year-listings that he kept from his time at Totteridge (1962-63). Can you use these records to identify faces on this and other pages in the GALLERY (and elsewhere) ?
I've recently had the strangest experience. You know how it is when you start reading a work of fiction : you give each character a 'face' from your personal memory-bank of faces, however illogical and regardless of how the author describes them. So when I recently bought "The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women" by Eric McCormack—a fictional autobiography—I found it impossible not to imagine the main character as Eric himself.
Eric who used to sit on the same Refectory table at The Priory.
Yes, Eric McCormack, now a much-acclaimed author living in Canada.
If you knew Eric, why not click here to read his biography ? Even better, read one of his books.
23rd June 2008 (Monday)
Have a look at Page 316 of the GALLERY to see a 'miscellany' of photos recently received (two from Vincent Martin).
21st June 2008 (Saturday)
For those of us—particularly our Irish friends—who have affectionate memories of this style of ballad : John McCormack singing "Macushla". This is now added to our 'Sounds Familiar' Appendix.
19th June 2008 (Thursday)
Page 49 of the HISTORIES section is complete.
I will now be returning all of Jim Youdale's collection of memorabilia, with many thanks for such a wide-ranging and interesting set of items.
Note : Don't forget that there is a useful index to the HISTORIES section—available as soon as you click on "HISTORIES".
17th June 2008 (Tuesday)
I've made a start on Page 49 of the HISTORIES section : 5 items taken from The Pelicans magazine, Christmas 1955.
I owe so many people a response to their emails that I will have to take a short break soon—once I've finished this section. In the meantime, thank you for your patience. (Patricia Hawkins de Medina, Olivia O'Dolan, Maurice Billingsley, Robbie Dempsey, to name just two) .
16th June 2008 (Monday)
Page 48 of the HISTORIES section is now complete and includes further articles gleaned from The Pelican magazine, Christmas 1955.
12th June 2008 (Thursday)
Two more articles from the 1954 Pelican magazine on Page 48 of the HISTORIES section (written by Paul Goodstadt and Charlie MacLaren PLUS an update from Fr David Cullen in the APPEALS section. (Please read the latter— he's an extremely busy man who takes great care to let us know what is going on at his mission and the way in which our donations are spent).
10th June 2008 (Tuesday)
Several months ago, James Youdale sent me a large amount of material which included 7 copies of 'The Pelican'—the in-house magazine produced (mostly) by students from The Priory and St Columba's. This has given me a welcome opportunity to look afresh at these publications to see if I missed any little gems that reflect the spirit of times past.
My early attempts to transcribe material from this source were always constrained by the shortage of affordable website space and the slow download speeds that most people were experiencing. The choices that I made were more selective than they need be today, now that space and internet-speeds are less of an issue.
My first 're-discovery' is an item entitled 'Music' by Pat Tierney—from The Pelican, Christmas 1954, now displayed on Page 48 of the HISTORIES section . It's a reminder of how fortunate we were to be part of such a rich musical tradition and guided by very talented and dedicated music masters.
And those of you who knew James O'Toole, John Lynch, John Lyden and Desmond Boyle may be pleased to listen to the songs that they sang 2nd November 1954 on the occasion of Brother Modeste's Golden Jubilee.
2nd June 2008 (Monday)
Some of you will be amused to find the two extra photos that I have added to GALLERY Page 314—particularly Michael Byrne, Michael Goodstadt and his brother Paul. What a link !
1st June 2008 (Sunday)
I've been waiting for Michael Byrne to help me with names and dates for the recent batch of photos he gave me. I wonder, now, if I have his 'latest' email address.
So, why not have a look at GALLERY Pages 314 and 315 to see if you recognise any of Michael's contemporaries at St Columba's during 1960-62 ?
Also, would you please check that your email address etc is correctly recorded in the CONTACTS section. Some time ago, Tony Smyth drew my attention to several out-of-date listings that he had come across. As you can imagine, making sure that these records are bang-up-to-date is quite a job—and one that can only be done with your help.
31st May 2008 (Saturday)
Vincent Martin has sent us 2 photos from his time at St Columba's : 1956-58. They include several faces that you might recognise which Vincent is unable to identify. Can YOU be of any help, please ? The photos feature a few people whose names haven't cropped up before, by the way.
Go to Page 316 of the GALLERY to see these photos, or click here.
Thank you, Vincent. I will add your contact details to the CONTACTS section and hope that you will soon hear from some of your contemporaries.
30th May 2008 (Friday)
As most of you will know, Bravenet provide us with a free Messageboard facility. It is very simple to use and the service has been very reliable over the years.
Bravenet wipe messages after a certain period of time, however, and although this might seem reasonable enough, the loss of these entries is really felt when you want to delve back into the past for postings that you'd like to read again. As a consequence, I started to save all messages before they disappeared, and we now have over 8 years of messages stored in our own archives.
Each year's messages are saved in a separate file and in a convenient form for fast scrolling and searching. This week I completed the transcription of the year 2007, so you might like to go to the Message Bank Appendix to have a quick run through the postings (and witness how fast time flies nowadays!).
25th May 2008 (Sunday)
You'll find another page added to The Priory Appendix : item 10, "Galley Down and The Jubilee."
To my embarrassment, I was unable to direct someone to Galley Down recently—so I've made up for this with maps and satellite photos. And I've taken an extract about Galley Down from Peter Finn's ' History of The Priory Bishop's Waltham ' .
Of course I wouldn't have known the whereabouts of the old Jubilee Pub, anyway, except that it was conveniently located near to Galley Down. So if you fancy a nostalgic pint when you next visit BW, print off the directions that you'll find in today's new addition.
23rd May 2008 (Friday)
Take another trip to The Priory Appendix (left) to see a couple more maps and 20 photos of the centre of Bishop's Waltham village. Hopefully, there will be something of interest in these 3 pages to most ex-Priorians.
I am aware that this recent addition might seem to be a little self-indulgent. As I have said before, however, I would like to provide similar material for all the Houses of Study—for which I would need your help—because I feel that many people would like to be able to re-visit their early experiences in this way. Also, I am keen to ensure that the website is not slanted towards one particular House.
It may be that those who have the greatest interest in 'Maps and Photos of Bishop's Waltham' are those who live 'abroad'. Let me know if you share this view.
So, go to item 9 of the The Priory Appendix to view this latest material.
21st May 2008 (Wednesday)
Go to The Priory Appendix (see left panel) and click on item 8, "Photos & Maps of The Priory", to see some stunning up-to-date aerial views.
This will be of real interest to ex-Priorians, but I hope that others will look at this new page and feed me with ideas for producing something similar for, say, Blacklion or s'Heerenberg.
Next : some recent photos that I have taken of the village of Bishop's Waltham, which I hope will please those of you who live too far away to re-visit the scene of the crime.
14th May 2008 (Wednesday)
At Mass on Sunday, in Our Lady Queen of Apostles Church, Bishop's Waltham, we were treated to a beautiful rendition of Bist du bei Mir by one of the parishioners—a young lady who is in the middle of training to be a professional singer.
I thought that you might like to hear it again, so I've included it in Sounds Familiar Appendix (see left panel) along with the German and English words :
13th May 2008 (Tuesday)
Maurice (Billingsley), a regular subscriber to The Tablet, thought that the following article would be of particular interest to those of you who attended GAP or Fribourg* : "THE FRENCH Church has officially recognised Notre Dame du Laus, near Gap in the south-eastern French Alps, as a site of an appearance by the Virgin Mary, the first it has approved since it recognised the Lourdes apparitions 146 years ago . . . "
To read the piece in full, go to the GAP Appendix (see left panel).
For which, many thanks, Maurice.
12th May 2008 (Monday)
The weekend reunion at Bishop's Waltham was blessed with excellent weather and good company. I took hardly any photos myself (too busy talking) and would be grateful if people would sent me some of theirs asap.***
More details of the reunion will follow.
Before I forget, Bernard Melling will be gracing our screens next month on BBC3. ( If you miss this item there will probably be an extract shown at the next BAFTA awards).
As promised, the second page of Michael Gallagher's photos is ready (Page 313 of the GALLERY) but I would suggest that you re-visit the first page (Page 312) because the items have been considerably re-arranged.
Many thanks are due to Michael for supplying them in digital format and fully annotated.
***I went around the town / village taking photos of various building and views that I thought might interest people who have not been back since their days at BW. These will apear on the site some time this week.
11th May 2008 (Sunday)
Ooops! Sorry about that. Multi grazie, Fr Pierre.
8th April 2008 (Thursday)
I've managed to get one page completed of some slide conversions that Michael Gallagher has kindly sent us—though there hasn't been time enough to display them in a logical order. Go to Page 312 of the GALLERY to see the results.
On my return from the reunion I will produce the second page and re-sort these photos.
In the meantime, many thanks to Michael for taking the time and trouble to get these slides converted—very much appreciated. We now have some photos of the novitiate at Fribourg.
Have YOU got any more pieces of the jigsaw for us ?
5th April 2008 (Monday)
If you can hear a lot of snuffling noises, it's only me. I'm been rummaging about inside the machine during the last week, tidying up, trying to get up-to-date with my emails and having a good clear-out.
You may have noticed that I've added music to various pages, in the hope that you'll find this a pleasant addition. If you have any favourites from the old days, please let me know.
Some new material is on its way, hopefully before I leave for next week's reunion. Will I see you there ?
28th April 2008 (Monday)
I unfortunately missed the announcement last year of the death of Fr Patrick Houlihan WF. Please go to Page 12 of the OBITUARIES section, where I have set the record straight.
26th April 2008 (Saturday)
You will find an entry on Page 12 of the OBITUARIES section marking the death of Fr James Barry WF. The record shows that he served nearly 30 years in Africa, returning to the UK in 1977.
23rd April 2008 (Wednesday)
I have just typed a postscript to Fr Dave Cullen's recent letter, and I've be grateful if you would read it. It's about a school that he is helping to build and the reasons why it is so urgent. (Heartrending. Click here).
You may have known Fr Gerard Burton if you were at The Priory in 1955-6 when he was serving as parish priest to the local community. He died around Christmas-time at the age of 95. Go to Page 12 of the OBITUARIES section to find out more about his long missionary life, or just click here.
22nd April 2008 (Tuesday)
I can safely say that things are back to normal now. Yesterday's hiccup was due to the fact that Hotmail had lodged an important message from our 'web host' into my Junk folder—which I avoid looking into because all sorts of nasties can spring out and do untold damage to the unwary. Needless to say the message was informing me that I had overstayed my welcome and that I would be cut off unless I paid the next annual instalment!
As you can see, we are now back on speaking terms. We got cut off but, thankfully, they didn't wipe the website (as happened before).
I should never have sacked my secretary.
Fr Dave Cullen does a wonderful job in keeping us up-to-date with all the news at his Prayer Centre at Chipata (Zambia). His thank-you letters are an inspiration, though how he gets the time to write such comprehensive reports we'll never know. Read the latest by going to the APPEALS section, or by clicking here.
18th April 2008 (Friday)
Please go to the REUNIONS Appendix to read John Morton's final update.
regarding the programme for
17th April 2008 (Thursday)
Peter Finn has asked me to draw your attention to the recent 'Houses of Study' item that he sent me in late March. Important amendments have been made to the specific roles of Oak Lodge and St Edward's, Totteridge.
Go to the 'Student Listings' Appendix or Page 48 of the HISTORIES section to see these changes.
**Have you download the PicLens plug-in for your browser yet ? As you may already know, it's an amazing way of displaying 'Images' that have been selected via Google. (Described as a 3-D presentation facility). So far, it has worked without a hitch on my Firefox browser —and was a doddle to install. If I were 25 years younger, I would work my way through our 3,500+ photos and enable each one to be projected on to this 'moving wall' of images.Fabulissimo. (See www.piclens.com)
16th April 2008 (Wednesday)
Oh the agony and ectasy of upgrading your computer !
I managed to get into a terrible mess without help from anyone. Eventually, my son Morgan travelled over from Norwich with St Jude to give me a hand and now things are running smoothly.
This is a wonderful machine that looks as if it's built to last until the final payment.
Back soon, then, with some more material.
*Thank you for all those the Get Well cards.
4th April 2008 (Thursday)
I have decided to keep with my old machine until the new one is operating safely with all its new software and hormonal rushing about. So, we start with an item that Olivia O'Dolan sent me several weeks ago. I must apologise to her for the delay—and thank her and Fr Brendan Shannon for their efforts to identify all the faces that appear in the large group photo on Page 311 of the GALLERY.
I grateful to you all for the patience that you show when you have to wait an age for your material to appear on the site. Now that I am retired (and invisible to anyone under the age of 25, particularly shop assistants), I am making up for lost time with my house and garden. Sometimes this takes priority over the website in-tray—but I promise to surface a bit more frequently, once the new computer stops chewing the furniture.
27th March 2008 (Thursday)
Peter Finn's database of ' WF students within the UK Province ' has long been an invaluable tool to me for re-creating student lists for the various 'Houses of Study'—as well as helping us all to dredge up names of long-lost contemporaries. Peter has now produced a comprehensive/definitive list of dates for each House and this can be accessed via the 'Student Listings' Appendix or Page 48 of the HISTORIES section.
We can't thank you enough, Peter.
P.S. The correspondence on Page 309 of the GALLERY continues.
25th March 2008 (Tuesday)
By popular demand, two old stalwarts for the Sounds Familiar Appendix (see left) : "Here I am, Lord" and "Shine, Jesus, shine".
Would you please look at the 'Paris' photo on Page 309 of the GALLERY and see if you agree with Maurice Billingsley regarding Luigi Morel ?
And also have a look at the latest entry by Chris Benton in the Messageboard ?
22nd March 2008 (Easter Saturday)
An Easter Bonus for you : the third (and final) page of photos from Vincent O'Neill. (See Page 310 of the GALLERY).
This has been a very interesting set of images from the past—several new faces and places from the late sixties, with plenty of response already from some of Vincent's contemporaries.
Very many thanks, Vincent.
20th March 2008 (Maundy Thursday)
There's a second lot of photos from Vincent O'Neill on Page 309 of the GALLERY, but you might wish to look at Page 308 as well, to see the comments that people have added in response to my recent loss of memory . . . .
Chris Benton has left an entry on the Messageboard which you ought to read.
If I don't see you, have a good Easter.
17th March 2008 (Monday)
Do you remember Vincent O'Neill ? Blacklion 1966, Broome Hall 1968 ? Vincent has sent me 25 photos from that period, the first of which can be seen on Page 308 of the GALLERY. Some of them include people such as Gus Dorky, of whom I have no record. (see above)
If you were a contemporary of Vincent's and can help to identify Gus and Martin Whillis, I'd be grateful for any further information that you may have.
Peter Finn's database of WF students (compiled while researching his book., ' The History of The Priory ') has been an extremely useful tool to me. Unfortunately, some people's details were not available at the time and we need your help to complete the records. Peter has kindly sent me a further/updated datbase and this is proving to be a great help.
15th March 2008 (Saturday)
Mike Mearns has done it again : he's found another batch of photos from his days at St Columba's, The Priory and Blacklion. These are now displayed on Page 307 of the GALLERY.
Mike has provided me with another opportunity to encourage you all to send me your photos regardless of their size or (apparent) quality. His snaps were taken on a Brownie 127 and were of the standard 2.5 x 1.5 inches (6 x 3.7 cm), i.e. tiny. Even so, once scanned and 'tidied up', the resulting photos were pretty reasonable.
Thank you, once again, Mike. I'm looking forward to meeting up with you at the September reunion in Scotland.
10th March 2008 (Monday)
There's a message from John Morton in the REUNIONS APPENDIX (left) and a most welcome discovery on the Messageboard.
4th March 2008 (Wednesday)
Progress may seem a little slow at the moment because I've been working on an Appendix for Broome Hall—with a lot of help from John Byrne who has been feeding me with information about ex-Philosophers / Novices not included on the original Broome Hall 'student' list.
It's wonderful to get this level of help : these records are important and I want to make sure that they are comprehensive, fully-inclusive and, above all, accurate.
THE BIG QUESTION : Can YOU spare the time to verify, validate, affirm, confirm, double-check, audit, corroborate, substantiate, authenticate or generally agree that the 'student listings' from your era are okay ?
*The revitalised Broome Hall listings can be viewed by going to the STUDENT LISTINGS Appendix, or directly by clicking here.
27th February 2008 (Wednesday)
I've added one more photo to Page 240 of the GALLERY : Maurice Cunningham's visit to his old friend John Byrne, earlier this year.
23rd February 2008 (Saturday)
IMPORTANT : Please click here to go to the Reunions Appendix to read John Morton's latest update of the Bishop's Waltham event.
22nd February 2008 (Friday)
It was (more than) forty years ago today that Sgt Pepper taught his band to play AND a one-night-only pantomime was presented at Blacklion.
If you go to Page 47 of the HISTORIES section you'll find an introduction by Robbie Dempsey and the actual script (with full cast list).
I'll leave it to Robbie to explain the background and just thank him and his wife Jacky for helping me to get this on record. Jacky re-typed the whole script and presented it to me as a WORD document, which made my job of transcribing it a great deal easier.
THANK YOU JACKY AND ROBBIE—a great effort on our behalf and an intriguing piece of history to add to our website.
More to come !
18th February (Monday)
I have slightly re-vamped the GAP Appendix, in line with the other Appendices relating to specific WF Houses AND added an item about the recently elected Bishop P. Claude Rault—known to several of you who spent time at Gap and elsewhere.
This may seem a little bit of a minority interest to many of you but, as we have discovered before, it's surprising how these smaller links grow shoots.
Has anyone seen Fr Pat Fitzgerald and John Fowles of late ? I am worried that I am getting out-of-touch with people who deserve more than the occasional card at Christmas. I started the New Year meaning to answer / write 5 emails a day BUT that only lasted a week or so. So, if you're listening, I haven't forgotten you.
(And the others!)
17th February (Sunday)
Maurice Billingsley has discovered some more photos—from his time at The Priory, Totteridge and GAP. See them displayed on Page 306 of the GALLERY.
Maurice is a generous contributor to our website and this latest material is most welcome. THANKS AGAIN, Maurice.
12th February (Tuesday)
URGENT MESSAGE from Chris Benton : " We need to know who is having dinner with us at the Dryburgh on the Saturday evening. Naturally, everyone including 'day trippers' will be most welcome to join us but we do need to know 'numbers' ASAP so that we can decide if the big room is needed and booked.
I would like to let the Dryburgh know final numbers by the end of this month if poss. "
7th February (Thursday)
Go to the GALLERY, Page 305, to see the final page of Jim Youdale's photos.
Still more of Jim's contribution to come, but I must now make my emails a priority. Apologies, in advance, to all those people who have been waiting for several weeks.
6th February (Wednesday)
I have extraced data from Peter Finn's list of 'British and Irish Former Students of the White Fathers' and created an Appendix for Monteviot. (see left). Also included are James Youdale's photos of Monteviot and others that were already in the GALLERY. As explained earlier, I am not able to provide even a brief history, but hope that someone will come forward to help with this.
5th February (Tuesday)
GALLERY Page 304 is now showing pictures of Monteviot House —thanks, again, to Jim Youdale. I've included an appeal for some more information about the place because so far it hardly gets a mention on our website. Are you able to help?
Have you noticed how this is turning out to be a very busy year already ? The May 11th reunion at Bishop's Waltham seemed a long time away when it was first mooted and so did Easter . . . .
31st January (Thursday)
You'll find a new Appendix devoted to St Columba's if you look at the lefthand panel. It contains some new material—such as a list of all the staff that served there during its 27-year history—as well as items that have been covered elsewhere in the site.
I hope that you understand the reasoning behind the creation of the Appendices that are devoted to the various WF Houses : it's an attempt to bring together material that is spread across the site and to have a facility for creating a more comprehensive and cohesive history of each of these cherished (or hated!) places in which we spent our early lives. It has only been possible to do this now that we have accumulated such a wide variety of material over the years.
Obviously, each of these Appendices are a 'work-in-progress' and I will draw your attention to anything that has been newly added to them.
January 31st is a dreadline day which looms large throughout the year in the UK : it's the last day on which you can send in the dreaded Tax Return to the Inland Revenue without incurring a £100 fine (or more). Why don't we all wait until the last post on January 31st, so that they suddenly get inundated with huge amounts of work, after several months of sitting on their hands and/or plotting other ways of making life difficult for ordinary citizens ?
30th January (Wednesday)
Robbie Dempsey has been busy again on my behalf—keeping the GALLERY Indexes up-to-date. As I've said before, it's one of those unglamourous admin job that make the website so much easier to use. Thank you, Robbie; your support is much appreciated.
Also, he tells me that he is going to do his best to attend the reunion at Bishop's Waltham (May 9th-11th). All the way from Dublin!
I have many emails to answer. Thank you all for being so patient. I am about to copy one on to the Messageboard, by the way.
(Lots of stuff in the pipeline, by the way, but the pipe is very long).
25th January (Wednesday)
If you haven't visited the Messageboard today, please do so.
John Morton is drawing attention to the May reunion at Bishop's Waltham.
He is concerned about the unavoidable delay that has occurred in the arrangements
—and worried that people might think that this year's reunion has died a death.
Far from it, of course : Terry Butler, the indefatigable parish representative
of Our Lady Queen of Apostles, has been under a great deal of pressure due
to the lengthy illness of Father Buckley, the Parish Priest.
Until recently, Terry has had little time to finalise arrangements for
the 10th Anniversary of the blessing of the 'new' church.
Our Pentecost reunion is tied into these celebrations and so John has had to delay making any announcements.
23rd January (Wednesday)
The third and final page of Jim Youdale's photos of Blacklion can be found on Page 303 of the GALLERY.
Much more to come.
19th January (Saturday)
Jim Youdale's photos of his time at Eastview are now included in the Eastview Appendix (see left panel)—and can also be viewed
in the GALLERY on Pages 299-300. (This is just the start of the large collection of photos etc that Jim has kindly sent me).
On Thursday, John and Margaret Morton travelled down to Bishop's Waltham with Zelda MacBride, to meet up with Terry and Anne Butler.
The aim is to plan the reunion at Bishop's Waltham ( May 9th-11th) and investigate accommodation which can be recommended to those who hope to attend.
Our thanks to them for the time and effort expended on our behalf.
12th January (Saturday)
Another new Appendix, this time dedicated to Eastview, the White Fathers' house in Ottawa, Canada. Jim Youdale kick-started this for me when he sent me a copy of the scholastics' list current during his time there. May I ask all those who can help to make this a more comprehensive history to do so as soon as possible, please ? I am grateful to those who have already supplied material (Jim, Tony Smyth and Bernard Joiner) but there still are many gaps to fill.
I am off to visit John Morton this weekend and am pleased to hear that he and Margaret are working away with preparations for a successful reunion at Bishop's Waltham this year. They hope to be able to finalise details of this event very shortly.
11th January (Friday)
Page 46 of the HISTORIES section has now been concluded with the addition of a Christmas panto programme from way back in 1956 at Blacklion. This page is just the start of Jim Youdale's fascinating collection of photos etc. Much more to follow.
8th January (Tuesday)
I hope that this still counts as 'early January (as I promised). The Chairman of the CBI, worried that the long Christmas break might be detrimental to the economy, admonished us all to 'hit the ground running' on our return to work. DON'T try this : I grazed my knees quite badly.
To start the New Year we have a new Appendix : 'The Priory'. I started this just before Jim Youdale sent me that large package of goodies, and have been worried that it would start to stagnate in the In-Tray, along with about 32 emails to answer. (They've starting to smell, my wife claims).
The Priory Appendix includes some interesting lists. Have you ever tried to remember who taught you Maths, for example, or the names of the Brothers who worked on the farm? It's all there, courtesy of Peter Finn's excellent History.
I've also included an illustrated version of Brother Paddy's Priory reminiscences that is certainly worth re-reading.
Have you ever noticed the 'Previous Updates' at the top of this page ? It's quite interesting to browse through them — if only to notice how the days are slipping away!
(Did I say 'Happy New Year' ?)
3rd January (Thursday)
This is just to reassure you that I have rounded up all the staff and we should be operational again within a few days.
HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL.