Ladydale Diary Thursday within the Octave of Pentecost, 2020

The fox is back and the ducks and chickens are once more in lockdown. The latest incursion by the vexatious vixen or the doggone dog-fox (its sex is unknown) occurred at shortly after 9 o’clock this morning, which is a little over three hours ago as I write. I had not opened my office window, its being too darn hot, so I didn’t hear the sound of distressed chickens and ducks which is my usual early-warning system. Fortunately for Whiskey, our top-of-the-pecking-order rooster, I caught sight of the fox in hot pursuit, out of the corner of my eye, as I worked at the standing desk by the window (my watchtower). My screams through the quickly opened window caused the fox to abandon its mission and sprint into the safety of the fairy wood to the west of our house. Evangeline was on the case and promptly shepherded the ducks and chickens back into the safety of the pen. As I look down on my captive audience, I can see the ducks enjoying the relative coolness of the pond while most of the chickens are out of sight of both me and the sun, cooling off somewhere in the shade.

Over Pentecost weekend until Tuesday, we had our friend Lorraine Murray staying with us. She usually comes for Easter but the lockdown dashed those plans. Lorraine is a gifted writer for both the Catholic and secular press, as well as being the author of several books, mostly mystery stories, such as Death of a Liturgist, set in a fictional parish in Atlanta, but also of a book on Flannery O’Connor and another on her own conversion story, Confessions of an Ex-Feminist. She used to visit us with her husband, Jef Murray, a gifted artist who specialized in Tolkien and Lewis-inspired work and whose paintings and sketches have illustrated many editions of the St. Austin Review, which I edit and for which he was for many years the artist-in-residence. Sadly, Jef died of sudden cardiac arrest a few years ago. He was only in his fifties and was apparently in good health, which is a sobering memento mori for those of us who are within months of leaving our fifties behind us.

This week has seen the usual round of radio interviews and I’ve been busy writing articles. I was asked to write an article on “Chesterton and the Eucharist” for Alfa y Omega, a Catholic magazine in Spain, which, having done so, inspired me to write an expanded version for an American journal, probably Catholic World Report, on “Chesterton and Corpus Christi”. I expect both articles to appear in time for next week’s Feast of Corpus Christi. In addition, I wrote an essay for Catholic World Report entitled “Minds that Hate” on the hot and heated topic of the racially-charged riots plaguing the nation, and an essay “Arguing with George Orwell” on the difference between patriotism and nationalism, an argument I’m tempted to continue with a follow-up essay next week.

In last week’s Diary, I expressed the hope that I might be able to begin writing my book this week, having almost finished the research. Alas, this is not likely to happen. I’ve had very little time to make progress with the research this week, though I hope to finish the last of it tomorrow, enabling me to commence writing the book next week.

Outside of office hours, Evangeline is still reading me Freddie Goes to Florida by Walter R. Brooks in the evenings before prayers. Leo has had me up in the middle of the night on more than one occasion, and at weekends, as always but as seldom recorded in the Diary, I play ball with him throughout the day, as well as a game called Hop, Hop Hooray, which is one of the few games that engages him. On Tuesday evening, when I was home alone with the children as Susannah drove Lorraine home to Atlanta, Evangeline and I came to a quid pro quo arrangement whereby I agreed to watch the first episode of the 1960s sitcom Green Acres if she agreed to watch the first 30-minutes or so of Peter Jackson’s Fellowship of the Ring. It’s the first time that I’ve persuaded her to watch the Jackson films, primarily because she’s fearful of the nightmares that my follow. I’m hopeful that dipping her toe into the Shire might assuage her fears. We shall see. 

Time to go. I have a chiropractor appointment this afternoon, the consequence of a whiplash injury received in Washington DC last year, and thence to the gym.

Wishing my friends in the Inner Sanctum a blessed Trinity Sunday. Goodbye and God bless.

Join Me in France without Leaving Your Home

In late July I was scheduled to give a series of lectures at Chavagnes International College in France at the College’s annual week-long summer conference, at which I have spoken in the past on several occasions. This year, due to the pestilence, the conference will not be taking place in France but online. It has also been scaled back to a one-day event. I will be giving a talk on Oscar Wilde. Why not consider joining me for what promises to be an engaging day-long online event. Here are the details: 


Join Me in the Footsteps of the English Martyrs and English Writers

I am excited to be partnering with Franciscan University in a pilgrimage to England next March which I’ve designed to follow in the footprints of the English saints and martyrs, as well as visiting sites of interest connected to Shakespeare, Chesterton, Tolkien, Lewis and other great writers. Please consider joining me. Here are the details: