Saturday

Coming Out



For breakfast this morning we once again awoke to find our currently lingering house guest snoring loudly on the bathroom floor. Like the staccato bark of gunfire, as it followed the traitorous black and tans as they ran away from the Fianna guns, he chirruped his hoarse nocturnal cough of an alcoholic evening into my tastefully tiled Porcelanosa floor. Floating in a languid pool of what can only be described as a potent mixture of both Indian madras and his own warm tepid pish, he reminded me of an earlier time. Be that as may, my loyalty to him still resisted all attempts to waver. He was there when I decided to pop my cherry and finally come out... I like to cook, there, now the world knows my worst kept secret. Sadly, I received not a single comment (at this point in the current post I reserve the right to manipulate the truth on this subject, because I can!) from the last post suggesting a mode of transport for the wee man himself. Personally I take this as a direct sign from his Ghod that the little singing fella was born to walk. Who am I to intervene with the divine? Instead, we gave him a small gift to provide him with something even closer to his heart. Aye, shoe lifts and a dozen bottles of something warm and gold. Some leopards very rarely change their spots. At least he remembered to keep the receipt for the tax man.

At some point over the next few weeks before we finally say cheerio to the auld ways, I plan to sit down with the Map fella to pen a more intimate post about many unanswered questions. No time like the present for a wee snifter though, eh? I was toying with a few brief lines and a simple farewell to redemption, but then I havered on the edge and transcribed a rough manuscript that would choke a small donkey. No connection to any short singers in Limerick intended. In the end I shall keep my latest thoughts in the image of masel and my pal. Relatively easy going, if not a tad simple. For this first flinty wee increment I have changed no names, dates or places to benefit those who wish not to appear in person. No, I have merely chosen not to include any relevant information in the first place. There may be a wee smidgen of dust about on my kitchen counters that has gathered in the last few weeks, but the knives in the drawer are still nicely honed and sharp.

Complicity is a mask that eventually distorts your face. I've turned left a few times when I should have turned right, but I've never been a man that took anything from anyone that didn't deserve to lose it. As a misguided youth, I believed in taking only from the criminally rich, who had extorted it, usually through violence, from the innocent hard working man, and then repatriating it back to those who deserved a leg up back in the day. Yes, I do mean me. There are many men who once purchased anything that they wanted with their wealth, but sadly, could never afford the high cost of looking a working class man full in the face. They paid my wages until I discovered the love of a good woman. Many healing experts, divination magicians, shaman, catholic human spirit restorers, not to mention religious sorcerers, do-gooders and other devout black crows straight out of the seminary in Rome have attempted to relieve me of my blackened soul by beating the divil from within me. The truth is, I need to keep the pain of my deeds inside of me to remind me why the smell of freshly shovelled earth, honestly toiled, always smells better than the cloying stench of piles of 'acquired' bank notes. They say there are no atheists in foxholes, but that is pure shite, I have shovelled my share of earth on more than just a few.

The old adage is true, behind every successful man is a strong woman. I found mine at the age of eight when herself ridiculed me as I reached out my hand for her brothers lunch money. Hell hath no fury like a belle fae Belfast! I have never loved another woman like it since. The lady herself educated me to the fact that there is no greater taste than that savoured on a Friday night after a hard week amongst those who earned it honestly. The joy of books and culture followed and was soon to be my secret passion, just behind a rather nice peaty forty year old single malt.With that said, the weight of guilt is sometimes far out-weighed by the feel of a large, heavy sports bag full of illicit cash nicely tucked away from a certain adventure in the 1980's. Eventually I found that breaking hearts and hard reputations exceeded the daily grind of breaking bones. Over the last 35 years I have unfortunately suffered the pain of both gunshot and blade. The blood on my own hands often made it increasingly difficult to clean up my past. No greater pain ever befell me more than seeing the hurt lines etched on my good lady's face as I occasionally meandered from my own genuine path of redemption during the final years of my youth. I was never one to heed advice from those riding in Mercedes, when in realty they were more suited to riding the all night bus.

Between us we have raised our children to be both moral and correct. Bad seeds do not always grow to be bad crops. They have escaped the curse of a net, snare, or any other thing that entrapped and entangled simply by being shown the values of not disappointing their father who himself set such poor standards. No infernos or fiery lakes will consume them, nor will they turn to pillars of salt or have their eyes plucked out by Ghod's ravenous ravens sent from the kingdom of heaven. Thankfully they will never have to tap keys to signal the end of a redemption period, nor will they have to bear the burden of bursting into flames when they pass a nun in the street. Hallelujah, eh? It's not always been easy to inculcate into them that what is for them will not go by them, especially as life in your twenties is easier to enjoy with a few notes tucked into your pocket. Life is never going to be a bowl of cherries, that much we can all be sure. It is only when you look back on a life half lived that you realise that redemption, like guilt, is merely a quicksand to the feet for those who spent a happy childhood without shoes.

Chefs Cherry Pie & Cream


For the Cream:
250ml single cream
1 tablespoon caster sugar
The noyau from the centre of two dozen or so cherry stones (see below)

For the pastry:
340g plain flour or "00" type flour from Italy is nice
A pinch of salt
A smidgen of caster sugar
170g very cold unsalted butter cut into 1cm cubes
100ml ice water
egg, lightly whisked with a splash of milk for brushing

For the filling:
500g stoned sour cherries (stones reserved)
150g caster sugar
2 Tbsp corn or potato flour
A pinch of sea salt
1 tsp kirsch (optional)
The noyau from the centre of a dozen cherry stones

For the Chef:
At least a good bottle of malt, poured naked into the glass, absolutely no ice or additives, unless you are born outside of wedlock or outside of Glasgow.

Method:
Butter a 9" pie plate and set aside.
Begin by getting your beautiful sour cherries from a friend or supplier you have found on the west coast of Scotland, taking them home, and quickly pitting or stoning them as they have a very short shelf life. The little hand-held contraptions I prefer, are the German-made cast aluminium ones with a coating that keeps the metal from reacting. They are sturdy and easy to use. Once you have stoned all of the cherries, you can freeze the fruit or use it right away. If you are lucky enough to have a glut of them, use what you need to make a pie, and freeze the rest.

Lay the cherry stones on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and place them in a 180°C oven for a few minutes to just dry them out. The main purpose of this is so that your hammer or mallet doesn't slip while you are pounding them open. Place the dried stones in a neat row three inches from the edge of a tea towel. Fold the 3" length down over the stones and use a hammer or mallet to give each stone a swift blow. If you have ever mastered the art of swinging a lead pipe in a dark alley, then you will find your skill will finally come in handy once again. Find a rhythm and get cracking. When you have finished, lift the cloth back and carefully select the noyau from the crushed shells. Set about 12 aside for the pie. Take about 24 of them and place in a bowl. Add a tablespoon of fine sugar and crush them up a bit with the back of a spoon. Pour the single cream over this and cover and chill for at least 6 hours. Take the time to enjoy yet another half bottle of the gold.

Now, after your wee nap, make your pastry. Place the flour, salt, sugar and butter cubes into a mixing bowl with the paddle attachment and knock it around for a few minutes to break up the butter. A pie pastry should be shorter than the pastry for a galette, so the butter can be mixed in until it resembles a coarse meal. While the mixer is on, drizzle in the cold water and immediately turn it off when the pastry starts to come together into a ball. You must move quickly at this point, as though the polis are urgently chapping your door. Gather the dough together and then divide it into two. Wrap each ball in cling film and them chill for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile you can make your cherry filling. Combine all of your ingredients except the noyau and let this sit for a couple of minutes to leech out all the juice from the cherries. Finely chop the noyau.

Preheat your oven to 200° C. The pastry should be ready to roll, so lightly flour a surface and roll to about two - two-and-a-half millimetres thick. Line the pie pan, sprinkle with your chopped noyau, and pour in the filling. Set this in the fridge to chill while you roll out the top half of the pastry. Roll out as above, but using a paring knife, cut one-and-a-half centimetre wide strips. Pull the pie out of the fridge, and arrange in a lattice. Brush with the egg wash, and place in the oven. Bake for about an hour, or until the pastry is golden and the filling is thickly bubbling up through the lattice.
To serve, strain the cream into a jug and pour over hot slices of pie. I always serve mine with a bottle of something fruity and red and most definitely with good friends.

69 comments:

  1. Is maith sin.

    Sláinte!

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    Replies
    1. Cad a chaill mé fear beag?

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    2. Is dóigh liom rud éigin ag teacht chun deiridh, nó tús nua? : ¬)

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    3. See you pal? Now don't get me started. Thanks for letting me steal that photie, I'm honoured. Love ya.

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    4. I didn't let you steal anything. I merely added it to your account. The repayments go up as from Monday and my associates will visit you a week on Friday to collect the interest. My regards to herself and the girls.

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  2. Wvil is to live the wrong wayaround.

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    1. Hmmm... out of the three comments you dribbled into my inbox, only this one was legible(ish) Are you drunk holy man? Shame on you!

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  3. Bloody hellfire. For one moment I thought this was going to be too sticky a post for me to enjoy. I thought you was away?

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    1. No, not away yet, just had to annoy my sons by proving that when it comes to construction, daddy still knows best.

      Life in the oul dog yet, eh?

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  4. i do like a man who can handle a good bashing of the stones...

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  5. The rumours are greatly under exaggerated sweet pants.

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  6. Like a dog it sits and washes itself as it gazes into the water edge. I am a writer. I use my words. I try real hard to use my words for good. On April 28 I lost some of my words. On April 29th I found that God hates my persecutor.

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  7. A writer eh? I'm sure that glossy xtian doctrinaire novels are a sure fire winner for every monomaniacs Christmas stocking. I wish you well with your book. Being biblical, will I find it on the shelf under fiction?

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  8. Leviticus 19:31 reads "Do not turn to mediums or spiritists; do not seek them out to be defiled by them. I am the Lord your God." Leviticus 20:6: "As for the person who turns to mediums and to spiritists, to play the harlot after them, I will also set My face against that person and will cut him off from among his people."

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    1. Noahs Diary: Day 206 - 'Massive leak today, not looking great. Regretting bringing the woodpeckers, big time.'

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    2. A smile is worth a thousand words when it comes from the heart.

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  9. Keep all my decrees and laws and follow them, so that the land where I am bringing you to live may not vomit you out. You must not live according to the customs of the nations I am going to drive out before you. Because they did all these things, I abhorred them. But I said to you, “You will possess their land; I will give it to you as an inheritance, a land flowing with milk and honey.” I am the Lord your God, who has set you apart from the nations.

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    1. Uh-huh, I agree with you, whatever it was that you said. Which reminds me...

      Noahs Diary: Day 598 - I think the four headed giraffe/elephant/unicorn hybrid has really lost the plot. Earlier, I overheard him discussing a complex plan to oust me and start an uprising with some of the orange donkeys in the hold.

      In other news, the mushrooms were a nice change for dinner.

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    2. I heard there was only one commandment... "Don't be an asshole." Seems you may have missed that one dear Pew.

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    3. Poor pew, only people's rage to keep him warm of an evening due to his constant blather with Ghod.

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  10. I'm laughing here, I just can't work out who is the biggest antagonist between the two of you's.

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    1. I'm glad you are amused Tony oul son, I'm over here trying to calm the unicorns from stampeding the goblins and the elves after hearing Pews interpretation of the babble.

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  11. Cursed are you above all livestock
    and all wild animals!
    You will crawl on your belly
    and you will eat dust
    all the days of your life.
    And I will put enmity
    between you and the woman,
    and between your offspring and hers;
    he will crush your head,
    and you will strike his heel

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    1. Crushing heads and striking heels eh? And I'm the bad guy? Nice morals it would seem fae your enmity loving pal, but then looking for morality in the bible is like searching your poop for sweetcorn.

      Of course, you may find some, but is it really worth it?

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  12. You are evil and you must PAY the Lord.

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    1. Are we talking amortisation here or will a regular loan via the holy bank be on the cards? Perhaps my old skills in debt collecting would be appropriate if I default? What percentage of interest are we talking about, because frankly I am losing interest in your inane babbling for one night. Oh look... a flying saucer, something else for you to blindly follow while I just pop into the kitchen and retrieve myself another cold one, eh?

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    2. This will end in tears :(

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    3. You are my best friend and must PAY my tab! (And the cabbie, sorry, I'm a little short right now.) :¬)

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    4. Since the incident with the nail polish and the sequins I am your only friend. Whatever possessed you to think that you could mix your showbiz career with a night out at the dog track? Oul Padraig Donnelly will never be quite the same again after his third heart attack!

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  13. On a lighter, friendlier, less Wvil note....

    Thanks for the pie recipe. I'm on vacation for a while and may just try that one out!

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    1. Enjoy both your vacation and your pie dear lady, remember to use plenty of cream on both!

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  14. Oh lordy, ol' Pew's getting all hot and bothered under the collar now isn't he?

    I am going to have to type out that recipe (cuz I know I can't copy from your blog) but I love cherry pie!! I had no idea you could eat the centre of the stones. (Someone's gonna take that one and run with it, I can just feel it.)

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    1. There are many things that taste nice if only you give them a try hen. Wait until you come across my sausage surprise.

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    2. I'll give anything (within reason) a try, Chef. And sausage is one of my faves... nice, fat juicy sausage.

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    3. She's getting very brazen! :¬)

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    4. Woman cannot live on bread alone son!

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    5. "Getting" brazen, Map? Hardly. ;-)

      Besides, a big fat juicy sausage really is a favourite of mine. Especially slipped into a warm bun.

      And get your minds outta the gutter, you two! We like to barbecue bratwurst in these parts and serve it on a toasted roll... with hot mustard and sauerkraut.

      xoxoxo

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    6. Why am I imagining hordes of naked Icelandic women spearing sausages and yodelling in Canadian accents after reading Pony-dolls vociferous attack on my short wee pal? Apologise to the lady at once sir!

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    7. Which Canadian accent are these Viking women yodelling in? We have a few here. And I don't think Vikings yodel anyway, unless trying out for Canada's Got Talent. Or is that the Swiss?

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    8. I apologise profusely! You are not 'getting' brazen, you had acquired that wonderful trait long before myself and my taller pal came upon you!. :¬)

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    9. Och, now see what you have started old son? Pony-doll is now lashing out at me because of you! I don't know if I dare go hame the neet in case a dozen Vikings are with her seeking retribution.

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    10. Map, apology accepted. I have to uphold my brazen-ness, which can be a challenge at times. Sing me a song and buy me a drink and all is good. *mwah*

      Oh dear Chef... I don't need a dozen Vikings, honey... I can seek retribution all on my own. But... let's let bygones be bygones. Hit the kitchen and cook me a meal... and finish it off with that cherry pie. Then I'll be a happy girl. :-)

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    11. Maybe it'll be a dozen female vikings eh? I'll bring a 12 pack. (Of beer, BEER!!) :¬)

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  15. The Israelite woman's son blasphemed the Name, and cursed. Then they brought him to Moses. His mother's name was Shelomith, the daughter of Dibri, of the tribe of Dan. And they put him in custody, till the will of the Lord should be clear to them. Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Bring out of the camp the one who cursed, and let all who heard him lay their hands on his head, and let all the congregation stone him. And speak to the people of Israel, saying, Whoever curses his God shall bear his sin. Whoever blasphemes the name of the Lord shall surely be put to death. All the congregation shall stone him. The sojourner as well as the native, when he blasphemes the Name, shall be put to death.

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    1. I find it rather odd that people say Jesus used to be a carpenter.

      I've got all of their records and I can't recall him singing on any of them.

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  16. Some very fine, sweet and tasty things have a rough, hard exterior.
    It's always worth the work to get to the good stuff!
    Glad you're back Chef!
    xxx

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    1. What a pleasant surprise to find nice comments for a wee change. I was beginning to lose heart with such a pugnacious religious zeal doing the rounds.

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  17. Don't encourage the poor old soul.
    The photo is excellent and had me salivating.

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    1. Pat, wait until you taste my lamb cutlet crown roast served with carrot mash and dark red gravy.

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  18. You know what they say. Once a king, always a king.

    I had to Google "boltholes." Was curious to see if it had any connection with the title of this post. It doesn't.

    I left a clever quip on your last post but it never appeared. I presume mine isn't the only comment that's still floating around in the ether.

    I'm always happy to see some blather in the comment section from The Holy One. I actually clicked over to his blog. I can't decide if he's being serious or if he's a bad actor doing a character immersion study. Could be either.

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    1. UB, Culinary king is as close to the British monarchy as I care to be. Far too many late nights murdering princesses in French tunnels and giving funny handshakes to bowler hatted men in leather aprons for my liking.

      A bolt hole, as you are now aware, is a place where one can relax without being bothered by the bothersome. There are many young guns looking to enhance reputations in Glasgow pubs for my liking these days. Growing old gracefully without pushing up the sod for a while longer suits me just fine.

      Many clever quips were left on the previous post, but the 'let's give Map a hard time' option was more amusing for me not to reveal. Yeah, I know, I'm bad!

      As for the Pew fella, well, let's just say that he pens one or two other fundy blogs, his good cop bad cop style is as thin as a bingo callers smile. Now here is a man who likes to comment far more than he should. One day I might reveal the stuff that I do not rubber stamp.

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  19. Replies
    1. No problem hen, but in exchange I want your secret to having green fingers when it comes to hard to keep blooms.

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  20. And Peter said to them, “Repent those who mock and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

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  21. Pew, once more I read your carefully constructed words. They are a constant reminder to me and many others of what's truly important in life.

    Alcohol.

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  22. Lovely recipe....except I can't get cherries here...will substitute the local plum which is unlike any plum I ever tasted in Europe.

    However the conjunction of the bottle of malt and 'arrange into a lattice' will, I know, be my downfall.

    Pity about your redemption...I strongly need to convince my brother in law of something and reasoned argument isn't getting anywhere.

    Perhaps I should set pewfodder on to him...

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  23. Helen, there are not many cherries left in Europe, loose morals and nothing much on TV has seen to that I'm afraid. Troublesome relatives I can help you with. The ingredients you will need are as follows.

    Large claw hammer
    2 rolls of duct tape
    1 boat anchor
    Dark clothing
    Pliars
    Bone saw

    Just pop these in plain view next time you invite him around for a wee chat. You might be surprised.

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    1. That means inviting the bugger to Costa Rica.....even if I paid his airfare he'd be too wary to come within grappling distance....he's stupid, but not that stupid unfortunately.

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    2. I see your point. Point him in my direction, I'll have him on the back foot in three shakes of a lambs tail.

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  24. pie. i got lost in the pie, sugar! i will read the post, but i keep staring at the pie. *sigh* now i'm hungry. xoxoxox

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    1. Savvy, there will always be a place for you at my table hen. Help yourself to more pie and pour us both another glass of something strong eh?

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  25. This lack of spiritual awareness is what appears to lie at the heart of so much atheist nonsense. The idea, for example, that the existence of God needs some material proof is a simple lack of conceptualisation of the spiritual, which to many of us is just a natural part of life. The idea that religion is consent to a set of propositions – and that casting doubt on those propositions is therefore a ‘disproof’ of religion – is equally nonsensical, because it lacks not just sense; it lacks senses.

    The idea that faith is an assent to an unprovable proposition is a misreading of the very meaning of faith: we have faith in God because we know we can rely on God, just as we have faith in mathematics because we know it is reliable, not because it is a set of propositions, or despite, in the case of mathematics, even its demonstrable incompleteness. Someone ignorant of mathematics cannot understand that; so the atheist cannot understand faith. Exclusion of faith from the decisions of a council makes as much sense as the exclusion of mathematics.

    The knowledge of God in which we rejoice and under which we live is something which brooks no rejection. It is an aspect of human completeness; and without it no human activity can be complete. Even the American-style separation of Church and State carries the implicit acknowledgement that neither is complete without the other; that they are complementaries.

    For those with a full set of senses – including the sense of the spiritual – praying before taking decisions is simply a matter of engaging all the faculties, spiritual as well as material, in the process of reaching the best balanced and informed decision. It is inherent to the decision-making process of any body, if that body is to take the right decisions.

    Atheists, reject stridently the faith they do not understand, without the basis of understanding to reach a decision as to whether it should be rejected. As noted in the Psalm, they thus doom themselves to foolishness; to incompletely based decisions, shutting out essential parts of human understanding and nature.

    That is their tragedy, but insofar as they are determined to spread their tragedy to the rest of us, that is also their danger.

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    1. Uh-huh, all very interesting if you can get past the first paragraph without nodding off. Some people turn to God, me, I turn to whisky. I don't see any difference, my life is still being guided by a spirit.

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  26. I have never baked a cherry pie! Perhaps it is high time I did!

    As for well-aged single malt, the other blue evening found me, I am sorry to say, drinking it straight from the bottle Do Not Pass Go...

    x

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    1. Blue evenings are the prelude to creative writing, for taking stock and liberating the odd tear on occasion. Sometimes sitting at the bottom of a deep hole we see only darkness, we forget the deep richness of our own colours as others truly see us. With you hen, I see lilacs and pretty pink roses, you light up the darkness with your smile. Such a shame to hide that smile behind an oul fellas whisky bottle, the shadows do you no justice.

      Do make that pie Leah, taste the sweet things in life and enjoy the journey the recipe takes you on.

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Thank you, the chef is currently preparing an answer for you in the kitchen. Do help yourself to more bread.