Wednesday, 15 July 2015

600 Years of Syon Abbey 1415-2015

Two exciting local events organised and promoted by the local community to celebrate 600 years of Syon Abbey:


An open-air ecumenical celebration of the 600th Anniversary of the Foundation of Syon Abbey in 1415

All are welcome to join in celebrating this important and historical occasion.

Hosted by His Grace
The Duke of Northumberland
Led by Cardinal Vincent Nichols

Sunday 19th July 2015 from 3.00 to 3.45pm

The site will be open from 2.00 to 5.00pm. Music from 2.15pm

Medieval recital by candlelight

‘From Magna Carta to Agincourt:
Music from England 1215-1415’

The Lovekyn Consort present a selection of songs and instrumental music from the period reflecting themes of devotion, disillusionment, love of nature and political loyalty from Medieval England, using voice and copies of Medieval harp and flute.


Sophie Brumfitt Maisey – Soprano
William Summers – Medieval Flute
Mike Parker – Medieval Harps

St. Bridget’s Church, Memorial Square
Twickenham Road, Isleworth TW7 6DL

Thursday 23rd July 2015 – 8.00pm

The Pain in Spain

I’m currently somewhere in the middle of the second of two summer holidays, having spent last week with Caroline at Thorness Bay on the Isle of Wight. This week I’m at the Infiniti Beach Resort at Vera Playa in Spain’s Almeria province with my daughter Rosie, having been wrongly informed that there was no availability at my preferred port of call – the Clube Praia da Oura in Portugal, my regular Iberian haunt.

No matter, IBR is a beautiful place – a quaint holiday village a few hundred yards from the wide and relatively unpopulated beach at Vera. The resort itself is tiny by comparison with CPO – the apartments are to a similar standard but boasting two medium-sized pools and a small bar/restaurant which closes at 9pm, in contrast to CPO’s bustling portfolio of facilities and activities, pool parties, ballroom dancing and big screens.

The town itself reminds one a little of the Mid West, at least the one of popular televisual mythology. Wide streets and hazy, arid horizons overshadow bars and small stores which spill out onto the road. Trading and social interaction, mostly indigenous but some of it English, combine to lend character to Vera which is quite unlike anything I have experienced in the course of my admittedly limited travels.

But my short Spanish adventure has been hampered by the advent of a debilitating malady which began to afflict me during the latter days of my Isle of Wight holiday but which has asserted itself with a vengeance over here. Attempts to self-diagnose have thrown up such options as sciatica, proformis syndrome and a slipped disc, but whatever it is it is damned painful, and make attempts to walk even the few hundred yards to the beach or into town a real ordeal, and a thing to be dreaded whenever I contemplate a move, no matter how slight or unambitious, from the settee in my apartment.

Perversely, it has also made me consider how lucky I am that my pain is not (I hope) permanent – that I can, usually, walk good distances without pain in spite of advancing years. It has forced me to remember that for many, pain is a regular fact of life and that not having to endure it is a privilege, not a right.

Sometimes it takes a little suffering of our own to enable us to understand the much greater suffering that others have to put up with in their lives. I hope I will remember Vera Playa for the pool and the palm trees, the beach and the bars, and not for the itinerant pain which travels with impunity from my hip to the base of my spine and back again, stopping to rest at various points in-between. The doctor will tell me more, I hope, when I get to see him on Monday.