Boxing Day Entertainment by the Kenilworth Lions at Kenilworth Castle and Abbey Fields

The English love to do fun – and some might even think silly – things on Boxing Day.20161226_113145

Perhaps this is a relief from all the stress of preparing for Christmas. It’s also the opportunity for people to gather together in the fresh air and enjoy themselves with traditional English entertainments.

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Here are a few fun things that took place in one of my favourite places, Kenilworth, on Boxing Day – at Kenilworth Castle and Abbey Fields.

The events were organised by Kenilworth Lions who not only give people a lot of fun and enjoyment, but also provide tremendous support to local charities through their fundraising.20161226_111614

The entertainments included Morris dancers, Punch and Judy Show, and the best dressed dog contest at Kenilworth Castle…20161226_112701

 

 

……..and the annual duck race along the brook through Abbey Fields – an event which attracts a huge crowd.  We followed this with another very popular local activity – a walk through the fields behind Kenilworth Castle, through the area once covered by the Great Mere, filled with pleasure boats, out to the former site of Henry V’s “Pleasance in the Marsh” and back again to the Castle….

May I take this opportunity to wish you  a happy New Year and for all of us the chance to play our part in making the world a more compassionate, caring and loving place for us all, one in which people may come together in a spirit of mutual tolerance, acceptance and good will, so in many more countries people may enjoy being together as shown on the pictures in this blog post.

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Supernatural Power versus Rationalism: Sorcerers and Sceptics at Warwick Words Summer Festival 2014

Last night  I went to a fascinating discussion between two authors at the final event of the Warwick Words summer festival. The talk was held in the beautiful 15th century Great Hall of the Lord Leycester Hospital, Warwick.

Andrew Taylor and Ian Mathie (photo credit warwickwords.co.uk)
Andrew Taylor and Ian Mathie (photo credit warwickwords.co.uk)

Ian Mathie, author of Sorcerers and Orange Peel, spoke about his travels in remote African communities over many years and his experiences of spiritual power among the witchdoctors, some of which he believed could not be explained in rational terms. He was being challenged by the sceptical James Andrew Taylor, biographer, former TV journalist and author of Walking Wounded, an acclaimed biography of poet Vernon Scannell.

Each author gave his point of view upon the existence of the paranormal and the supernatural, then the debate was thrown open to the audience. I was interested to note that several among those who spoke from the audience had extensive experience of Africa, and that the general feeling among them seemed to be open-minded/sympathetic towards Ian Mathie’s point of view. I had expected many more sceptics. One questioner asked “What is reality?”

Andrew Taylor said reality was what he could experience with his senses. Then the questioner pointed out that our view of reality changes all the time; our reality in 2014 would have been considered unbelievable one hundred years ago; microscopic reality is unknown to the majority of us; and we are unable to say what new “realities” may become commonplace to those who live a hundred years in the future, that we now consider impossible.

Andrew Taylor made three intriguing points. He said:

1)  he would only consider something to be “reality” if it was repeatable in laboratory conditions.

2) he considered “magic” to be lazy; the way things are achieved in the “real” world is far more complex  and interesting.

3)  everything Ian Mathie had witnessed in traditional communities in Africa, which appeared to be achieved by supernatural power, he would say is all down to “the power of suggestion”.

I later asked Ian Mathie whether he saw anything equivalent to “the local witchdoctor” or “wise man/woman” anywhere in our contemporary English society.

He said no – and this is because most of us in our western culture have such a reductionist, rationalist outlook upon the world, that we are not open to such supernatural power.

I too have been drawn to Africa in a number of ways over the years, mostly through books, without ever having visited the continent; and I learned that Ian Mathie had met Laurens Van Der Post, as I too have done. See my blog post on Van Der Post here.

In my forthcoming psycho-spiritual suspense novel A Passionate Spirit:

1)   one of my principal characters wields such supernatural power – in the heart of a contemporary English community.

2)  the test of the reality of her power is met; she repeats her apparently supernatural acts over and over again.

3)  her power is not taken seriously by those who we might consider most likely to be alert to it – in our society.

If you are interested in these things –  the existence of supernatural/spiritual power, versus the rationalist outlook of our Western society – or have experiences or views about it, I invite your comments.