Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011


Walking down the High in Oxford this morning I noticed that the window of a shop selling beauty products was dominated by a display of "Frankincense." Now being a not inexperienced thurifer I looked further and found that this was a product which was being marketed as the thing to care for the skin, with a range of creams and potions, not to mention publicity material, telling the potential purchaser that Frankincense is the way to keep wrinkles at bay and maintain youthful looking skin.

I have no wish or desire to express doubts about the veracity of such claims, but did just wonder if wielding a smoking thurible accounts for my own extraordinarily youthful appearance (sic) - and you can take that with a pinch of Prinknash's best or even some Rosa Mystica.....


Could such claims lead to an increase amongst the vain (or the wrinkled) who will seek to become servers at Mass? Will sacristy suppliers become the means to remain young and beautiful?

At least it's a change from the Health and Safety mafia claiming it is carcinogenic.

No comments: