Monday, December 1, 2008

Advent ruminations...

New season, new church year, new month...same old heaps of paper in the office, though!

I was watching one of the innumerable instalments of Monarchy on PBS the other night, and reflecting that Her Majesty toils through just such heaps of paper every blessed day of her life, and then it hit me...

SHE, as we all know, receives her papers in the notorious Red Baize Boxes (or are they leather?).

Plainly this is all that has stood between me and perfect efficiency, all these years: a lack, actually a Total Dearth, of Red Baize Boxes.

HAD WE BUT THOUGHT to provide them, when I was ordained, the whole ministry-thing would and must have turned out very differently. And better.

In the meantime, we celebrated Advent Sunday yesterday here at Most Holy and Undivided; our friends from the High and Lifted Up and Fill-ed With Smoke parish downtown were present in large numbers, making this our "second annual" get-together for this service. All sang lustily, and there was a fine sufficiency of good things to eat and drink afterward. Gemuetlichkeit ensued.

We sang all the old Advent warhorse hymns, including one of the few things Anglicans mercifully salvaged from the bygone Red Hymn Book of loathed memory -- "There's a Voice in the Wilderness Crying," to the Hugh Bancroft tune. I've looked in vain for a youtube link to share with you.

Back to the paper-heaps.

P.S. OK, to clarify, "baize" is a coarse woollen cloth rather like felt or "poker cloth": or what is sometimes called "Melton cloth" which is an old-fashioned kind of thick woollen version of what we now call "fleece." Maybe the red boxes are leather-covered after all. I am open to correction on this!

P.P.S. Then again, they may be blue. Can't count on nuffin' these days.


Patrick C said...

HRH looks very happy in that picture!

Terri said...

Oh my goodness, now I know what I need too - will solve all my challenges.....(now off to find red Baize Boxes)...(if only, she wonders, she knew what red Baize boxes are...)

We have our Advent Evensong this upcoming Sunday night - should be lovely!

Auntie Knickers said...

I was just reading in Little Women where they put green baize on the floor for their amateur theatricals; and I believe green baize is also referenced frequently as a covering for the door leading to the servants' quarters. Why then do you suppose the red baize is so much tonier? And what the heck is baize anyway?
When I saw the Queen once (in a motorcade, from the hillside near my high school in Germany, 1965 I think) she was wearing yellow, also!

Patrick C said...

Actually, just thinking here, that probably should have been "HM looks very happy in that picture..."

Mary Beth said...

You crack me up!

Do you mean...her papers on her DESK go in those boxes?

That would solve my every woe!!!

Gotta get me some!

ccw said...

I had no idea but clearly I need some of these boxes.

Jim said...

They are definitely red.

And my vague recollection is that they are, in fact, leather.

There seem to be quite a lot of them. Many cabinet ministers seem to have the same document delivery system as the Queen. (There was something in the Saturday Times (of London, of course!) to the effect that a method, much favoured of civil servants, of backstabbing a minister is to slip a shocking suggestion into his dispatch box. If he fails to notice it, it can then be circulated to other government departments as approved for discussion. The other department then slips it to a friendly reporter who can produce SHOCK HORROR headlines about the "minister's" proposals.

There are two on the table in the centre of the House of Commons in Westminster, too. Since there are no desks in the Mother of All Parliaments, ministers speak from the dispatch box, using it as a kind of podium.

But I think that the real secret of HM's productivity is that Someone Else is in charge of the janitorial supplies.