Page 4, 5th August 1949

5th August 1949
Page 4
Page 4, 5th August 1949 — By Water Bus to Longitude 0 Degrees L ONDON's water buses

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People: Dick Stokes


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By Water Bus to Longitude 0 Degrees L ONDON's water buses

were doing a roaring tourist trade on Saturday when, at long last, I did a trip I have been promising myself for many moons from Charing

Cross to Greenwich. As ordinary means of transport the little motor boats seem to have failed. More ,stopping places (including Westminster) and more frequent service is the answer I think. Except for "The Tower " no one got on or off at any of the stopping places, even the exquisitely-named " Cherry Orchard,' though any spot less reminiscent of a cherry orchard could hardly be imagined.

Derricks, cranes, and unnecessarily decrepit warehouses and tumbledown sheds festooned the banks. nameless heaps of assorted rubbish pushed into the stream on which bunches of derelict barges, war-time improvisations in concrete, with gaping holes in their sides jostled. lashings of loaded and half-loaded lighters and flats.

London's Back Window DESPITE all this and a black oily colloidal mess that was supposed to be the flowing tide, elegant only when beaten into foam, the trip is a healthy and restoring experience for the tube and bus " commuter." It is like looking in through the back kitchen window of the brave-fronted metropolis. The lights of Piccadilly wouldn't lend colour to Eros but for the horror of the bankside powerhouses. Here grain ships with vacuum unloaders over the side, coal ships gay in their new allegiance to the South-Eastern Electricity Board. make it obvious that the "Great Wen " lives only by sucking produce from a thousand and one sources. How can one fail

to be moved by the romanticism of tall ships talking to one another by means of gay little bits of fluttering hunting, by forests of tapering masts in the docks and basins, and by the ensigns and ports of registry of ships lying at the wharves: Rotterdam, Oslo, Brussels, Copenhagen.

The Barges OF all that moving on the not-sobroad bosom of Father Thames on that afternoon, and they included a three-masted barque under auxiliary power, three stand out as memorable. There were, first of all, the three Thames barges with red sails all set moving out with a little wind and a lot of skill from their moorings below Tower Bridge to midstream ready for their voyage. Members of a doomed race of sailing ship, which used to be counted in their thousands in the chalk and cement traffic a quarter of a century ago. manned by sturdy individualists. who have left their mark in strong language and stock simile; they moved the deckhand of my water bus to a touching lament.

The Monster THEN there was the shock of the huge square crane-like steel structure in midstream, as if a section of a wharf had floated out. Awesome in its height and weight, magical in its seeming lack of buoyant base, as it turned and we turned, it seemed to spin giddily. A toy tug was pulling it along. But wonderment was dispelled by the inevitable freely-given information from a loud-speaking passenger that it was " only a coal unloader," in fact, " a sucker-up of coal from lighters." Hammer and Sickle

THEN there was the spanking ship making down river resplendent in new paint which alone of all the vessels we had seen seemed to be made for the " idle rich," so obviously were her passengers sunning themselves stretched out at ease on long deck chairs on the promenade and boat decks. White-coated stewards moved among them, one was sure, with ices and iced drinks. The well-deck was packed with long sleek cars. While I was working on the Cyrillic alphabet of the name on the stern and deciding the boat was Russian, the large red hammer and sickle medallion on the funnel more blatantly proclaimed that here was, in fact, a bit of the " paradise of the workers." It passed our water bus somewhat haughtily.

Farm Street's Centenary [OTTER writes : " I can imagine .1 few invitations which would cause me with greater pleasure to break a short holiday than the one sent me by the Fathers of the Society of Jesus to join in the centenary celebrations of Farm Street last Sunday. Nor was I disappointed. There was the satisfaction of seeing the Cardinal presiding at the Solemn High Mass as of old—and 1 am told that he insisted on carrying out this function despite the inevitable

strain. There was a really grand sermon by the Bishop of Lancaster who caused a goodly ripple of laughter when he explained that Russia's protection of the Society when suppressed was just another example of Russia's fondness for saying ' No.' And, afterwards, there was the most sumptuous of lunches with Fr. Devas sitting at table and also watching us all from' his brother's handsome portrait of him on the Sodality Hall wall.

An Election Pointer ?

"A CERTAIN amount of kindly " banter as between the Jesuits and their fellow clergy was natural on such an occasion, and Fr. Devas told the story of how touched he was once when, having helped a secular priest, he noticed a picture of St. Ignatius on the priest's mantel piece. He commented on it, and the priest told him of his particular devotion to the Founder of the

Society. Later he mentioned the fact to his brother, the Franciscan. ' That's odd,' said his brother, when I was there it was a picture of St. Francis on the mantelpiece.' I also noticed the interesting fact that the , only M.P. oresent was Dick Stokes. the Catholic Labour stalwart. Is this a Jesuit pointer to the results of the next General Election?"

Making a Priest p ICTURE POST has made a good job of its feature on "The Making of a Priest " with some eight excellent pictures of the actual ceremony of ordination displayed user four pages. One shows Archbishop Am,go during the imposition of hands, and of course there is a picture of the ten ordinands prostrate before the altar. The article is well done and tells the story I had not previotisly heard, of a recent exorcism of a room in a seminary.

Three successive occupants of the room, perfectly normal young men, committed suicide and the presence

of evil was suspected. The first priest exorcist found the evil so potent that he fled precipitately. A second priest successfully carried out the exorcism and the room is now a shrine.


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