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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Friday, May 12, 2006
    A very rare weekend off in seven day's time, and the dilemma is, do I spend Saturday at Liverpool Cathedral celebrating the life of one of our city's great philanthropist-campaigners Josephine Butler, or down in Little Gidding at an event marking the 70th anniversary of T.S. Eliot's visit there, and the launch of the T.S. Eliot Society in England.

    Deciding factors may be: (a) Anna Briggs who will perform her one-woman play A remarkable life, all about Josephine Butler, at the Cathedral on Saturday, will give our Iona Community group a preview the previous evening; (b) the church at Little Gidding only holds 45 people (at a squeeze) so I may be too late for a ticket; (c) it's a 3-hr haul down the A14 to Eliot's blessed Huntingdon beauty spot and I'll be driving to Oban on Sunday.

    I shall not be put off by Butler's observation that "It is not difficult to find misery in Liverpool", because I know she was talking about the conditions in the vast 5,000-people workhouse situated where the RC Cathedral now stands.

    It may come down to how much I'm moved by Eliot's persuasive verse to consider that of all the places / Which also are the world's end, some at the sea jaws, Little Gidding is the nearest, in place and time, / Now and in England. Or by his equally persuasive observation that whichever journey I opt for, the end of all our exploring / Will be to arrive where we started / And know the place for the first time.

    Or I may just have a lie-in before a fortnight of early starts on Iona.