Thursday, 28 November 2013

Assembling evidence and things

Today I went along to an assembly at the primary school two of our grandchildren attend. This was a “musical assembly” by our grandson’s class. The year 4 children (8-9 year olds) have been having lessons with a peripatetic music teacher. Half of them have been learning to play brass instruments and the other half to play recorders. All of them have been learning songs, including one about their granny who rides a motorbike, plays computer games and goes to the gym (“she’s hard”) and is, therefore, not to be messed with. Great fun! 

Our little chap was playing the cornet. He has been telling me how hard it is to play the note “c” but all of the children seemed to cope quite well and appeared to enjoy it. The recorders were as squeaky as they always are when played by small children but considerably better than those played by beggars on the streets of Vigo. 

 I’ve been to a number of primary school assemblies before but this was the first one I have been to at this particular school. What was interesting this time, for me anyway, was that it was purely a celebration of the achievements of this class of 8 to 9 year olds. We didn’t have any prayers of hymns. Quite refreshing! 

Especially so as I have been seeing increasing signs of religion taking us back into a previous era of holy relics. Back in 1939 Pope Pius XI died. He had asked to be buried in the grottoes under the Vatican, where lots of other popes had been buried. As they were digging around there they discovered a funerary monument with a casket built in honor of Peter and an engraving in Greek that read “Petros eni,” or “Peter is here.” 

Apparently the remains found in the casket were given to one of the basilica workers who stored them in a shoe box in a cupboard. Later it seems someone said there was a “convincing” argument that the bones belonged to Peter. It’s amazing what people will put in shoe boxes! None of the stuff we have in such boxes is half as controversial as old bones! 

And then it transpires that no Pope had ever permitted an exhaustive study, partly because a 1,000-year-old curse attested by secret and apocalyptic documents, threatened anyone who disturbed the peace of Peter’s tomb with the worst possible misfortune. However, the current pope, Francis, who so far has seemed like a sensible chap to me, has decided to risk the curse and recently put the bones on display. Not only that, but loads of people turned up to try to catch a glimpse of them and even to pray to them. 

CNN, the news people, appear to agree with me in assessing Pope Francis: “Pope Francis generally comes off as so hip, so completely at home in the 21st century, it's tempting to forget he's also a deeply religious believer and therefore sees the world fairly differently than most of his fellow celebrities and pop culture icons.” 

I don’t know about “pop culture icons” but I did think that by the 21st century people would have stopped being impressed by bits of ancient bodies and even giving them miraculous powers. 

Personally I’m rather more impressed by these bones, belonging to a prehistoric leopard and discovered accidentally in 2009 in the province of Lugo in Galicia. 

And, while we’re on the topic of things historical here’s a little something for our friend Colin in Pontevedra. He’s often written in his blog about Christopher Columbus (known to the Spaniards, of course, as Cristobal Colón) coming from Poio, Colin’s bit of Pontevedra. A book by someone called “El Enigma del Gran Almirante” by Josefina López de Serantes supports that theory. Here is a link to an item about this from Galicia’s VTelevision.

Interesting stuff!

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