Advent II: The Record of John

Advent II is all about John, the record of, crying on Jordan’s banks, etc, etc. Or it is as per our music schedule today. Though we have it on good authority that week two of Advent is actually sponsored by Frobisher Bay; the only winter-adjacent folksong about whaling to go masquerading as a Christmas carol this afternoon. (They’re working on a better tag line.) Note, we’re not complaining. We have great affection for Frobisher Bay, beloved of the St Andrews Madrigal Group forever and ever, world without end. Amen. Or it was when we were attending their concerts.

If you don’t know what we’re nattering at you about, you’re in for a treat. You can listen below, and we envy you hearing it for the first time!



On the subject of real treats, the calendar gave us one today in the shape of Cream of Earl Grey. We aren’t wild fans of garden variety Earl Grey (it tastes of soap!) but we love this particular blend. It’s creamier and smoother than ordinary Earl Grey and there’s less bergamot. A bit of milk can bring out the creaminess, but we like it black to better luxuriate in the flavours of the tea. We’ve even stockpiled a bit extra for breakfast tomorrow, we like it that much.

But we said today was all about John, and notionally, it is. As per certain schools of thought, each Advent Candle gets a designated theme, and Advent II is almost always John (three is almost always Mary, unless you have deferred John until Gaudete Sunday – but that gets complicated fast). We don’t do candles over on Huron St but we do do good music, and today’s lot included an old favourite that gets nicely reduced to nonsense here.

We’ve said before all good faith needs a bit of levity mixed in, so here’s On Jordan’s Banks the Baptist Cries….with emendations.

On Jordan’s Bank, the Baptists cry.
If I was Baptist, so would I,
They drink no beer, they have no fun,
I’m glad that I’m an Anglican.

This is what choristers resort to when they are made to sing multiple Advent carol services, nine lessons and late masses, if you were curious. And lest you worry we discriminate, this is coming to you from a teetotal Anglo-Catholic, so it’s odds on that somewhere there are indeed gin-drinking, fun-loving baptists. We hazard we even know one or two.

But from the ridiculous to the sublime, here’s a pet Advent Anthem to leave you with. It, too, is about John, and is our go-to example of what you miss out on if you only play Christmas music through December.


Why the Flood Came

Today we revisited the coffee cake tea of two days ago. But at some point in the afternoon we paused in our writing -some of it creative, much of it for UCAS -and made a pot of what the Calendar calls ‘nutty and spice.’ It seems to be equal parts nuts and spices, and emerging from that semi-somnolent place writing induces, it was just what we needed. It tastes of crisp autumn weather, never a bad thing this time of year because often by the time we make afternoon tea the sun has set and it’s easy to forget that so lately as November the sun set in the afternoon.

We’re cheating a bit this evening, because UCAS exhausted our creative energy sometime around the third pot of tea. As we approach that terrifying rush for Christmas, here’s a piece of liturgical humour from the Advent church newsletter that we thoroughly appreciated on reading;

Why the Flood Came 

Originally from the parish magazine of All Saints’, Worlingham

And the Lord said unto Noah; ‘where is the Ark which I have commanded thee to build?’

And Noah said unto the Lord; ‘Verily I have had three carpenters off ill. The gopher wood supplier hath let me down -yea even though the gopher wood hath been on order for nigh twelve months. The damp course specialist hath not turned up. What can I do, O Lord? ‘

And the Lord said unto Noah; ‘I want that ark finished after seen days and seven nights.’ And the Lord said unto Noah; ‘it will be so.’

And it was no so.

And the Lord said unto Noah, ‘What seemeth to be the trouble this time?’

And Noah said unto the Lord; ‘ Mine subcontractor hath gone bankrupt. The pitch which Thou commandest me to put on the outside and the inside of the ark hath not arrived. The plumber hath gone on strike.’

Nora rent his garments and said; ‘The glazier departeth on holiday to Majorca -yea even though I offered him double time. Shem, my son who helpeth me on the ark side of the business, hath formed a pop group with his brothers Ham and Japheth. Lord, I am undone. The gopher wood is definitely in the warehouse. Verily and the gopher wood supplier waiteth only upon his servant to find the invoices before he delivereth the gopher wood to me.

And the Lord grew angry and said unto Noah; ‘what about the animals? Of the fowls after thier kind, and every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort have I ordered to come to thee to keep alive. Where, for example, are the giraffes? And where are the clean beasts, the male and female, to keep their seed alive upon the face of the earth?’

And Noah said; ‘the van cometh on Tuesday and yea, it will be so.’

And the Lord said to Noah,;  ‘How about the unicorns?’

And Noah wrung his hands and wept, saying; ‘Lord, they are a discontinued line. Thou canst not get unicorns for love nor money.’

And God said; ‘Where are the monkeys and the bears and the hippopotami and the elephants, and the zebras and the hartebeests, two of each kind, and of the fowls of the air by sevens and the male and female?’

And Noah said unto the Lord; ‘They have been delivered to the wrong address but should arrive on Friday, all save the fowls of the air by sevens, for it hath just been told unto me that fowls of the air are sold only in half dozens.

And Noah kissed the earth and said; ‘Lord, Thou knowest in Thy wisdom what it is like with delivery dates.’

And the Lord in his wisdom said; ‘Noah, my son, I knowest -why else dost tho think that I have caused a flood to descend upon the earth?’