Monday, 26 September 2016

How everything changes.

It is easy to get stuck in life. The root cause is not the thing we think is trapping us- it is that our thoughts repeat upon themselves.

We get up, go to work, meet the same people and go home to the same bed so it is not surprising we find ourselves thinking the same thoughts.
A photo posted by Richard Ford ( on
I propose moving to a new town for a week and surrounding ourselves with positive people who are committed to solving their own problems. We will find ourselves thinking new thoughts for the first time in years and then- seemingly by magic- we will have the solution.

This Secret Pilgrimage.

If we were to visit Oxford, Cambridge or the City we would have great difficulty in driving safely. This is because we would find tourists wandering about in a kind of trance state, photographing everything but seemingly unaware of their immediate surroundings.

Places such as this induce trance in recent visitors and creativity in those who stay longer. Wherever we see beauty we find genius and wherever we find genius we see beauty.

I have just returned to Oxford myself and feel strangely changed by the experience. A tourist visits a place to escape from his troubles for a while a pilgrim hopes to return a different person. This makes me a pilgrim without knowing it- and it makes all the other tourists pilgrims too.

We may track the rise and fall of nations by counting pilgrims. There were a fair number of North Americans seeking a re connection with their past but these were outnumbered by central Europeans (mostly Polish) who come to the UK to work but who still have an explorers curiosity. Most noticeable of all were the Chinese. I predict a great future for all these countries.
A photo posted by Richard Ford ( on
This secret pilgrimage has been going on for centuries so we cannot credit it to clever marketing or the Morse TV show.

It points to something real, thatt has no name but whatever it is can make or break empires. The Soviet Union produced nothing of the same power and neither did the Cultural Revolution of China. Both are now gone.

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Badger and Blade.

A gentleman is not his possessions. His worth is not determined by the opinions of others.

This makes him free.. and dangerous. He cannot be insulted and truth to him is more important than money.

A photo posted by Richard Ford ( on
A gentleman should always be ready to leave his home at a moments notice and never return. The value of his life is not bound up with his possessions.

He keeps essential supplies at hand so that he is always packed to leave. I keep this tweed toiletry bag in the bathroom.  It keeps me organised and means I can grab the essentials of life and be out the door in moments.

Blade and badger brush are essential for the full British Empire experience!

A single pack of blades can last a month at a push and shaving soap lasts even longer.

I use Real Shave Company products in the kit. A gentleman is not afraid to run when it is needed but he is never poorly shaved.

Thursday, 8 September 2016

#Flaneur. All Hallows by the Tower.

I am fascinated with the medieval mind. I find this easier to access through location than any other means. I enter a place and just sit.

School history discourages this sort of thing. They would have us believe that everyone in the past was just like them- trendy leftists.  Every women was a feminist and every intellectual was secretly reading the guardian on the side. All of Shakespeare's plays were feminism in code and so on.

Students are discouraged from visiting source materials these days. Everything is processed with all context removed. This is a crime against young minds but we can undo the damage as adults. To do this we must read original documents and visit the places that were important to the people.
A photo posted by Richard Ford ( on
Due to having half an hour to spare this morning I dropped in to what is rumoured to be the oldest of all City Churches (675AD). All Hallows by the Tower. The tower in question is the Tower of London.

All Hallows was run for a while by a gentleman who was something of a Men's Rights Advocate- 'Tubby' Clayton who's home I also photographed. 'Tubby' created something called 'TocH' which was a charity set up for men who had been scared in the First World War. TocH would simply create a means by which men could come together and share the experience at their own pace. It was marked by a respect towards men and their own unique way of healing that is now absent from our culture.
A photo posted by Richard Ford ( on

A copper tower against a leaden sky.

The church does not look like much from the outside and is (like all City churches) a hodge-podge of different ages.

The first thing that strikes the visitor is a stark simplicity in contrast to the usual rich City ornamentation. You may see the various City crests in the windows but this is all.

The church was well used with various alcoves for prayer and listening services but I did not wish to intrude with my camera. The listening service is a hangover from the days of Toc H but I have no need of such things when I have a blog.

Below the church is a crypt containing Roman artifacts found beneath the existing church. Christianity grew by colonizing the spaces and symbols of other religions and the Romans used the same methods. Very often we find a Christian church on a Roman temple that may have been built on a pre Roman site. In these cases some form of religion may have been practiced on the same spot seven thousand years ago. This is an appealing and romantic notion and it is important not to get too carried away with it.
Spaces such as this were built and maintained through a system of corporate sponsorship coming mainly from the Livery Companies. This is why we see such a profusion of crests and medieval symbols. Think of them as the corporate logo plastered over sporting events except that medieval society thought more long term than we do now.

Finally we see evidence that men were once understood and respected in Toc H far more than they are now. Men rib and tease one another and a shell shocked Tommy would be put at ease by a postcard such as this.

If anyone were to do the same thing today they would probably be sued.