About this blog

This is a window into the weird world of Anglicanism, as experienced on a Cathedral Close. Has anything much happened since Trollope's Barchester Chronicles? You will still see the 'canon in residence' hurrying across to choral Evensong, robes flapping, as the late bell chimes. But look carefully and you will notice he is checking the football score on his iPhone as he runs. This is also a writer's blog. It charts the agony and ecstasy of the novelist's life. And it's a fighter's blog. It charts the agony and ecstasy of the judo mat. Well, the agony, anyway.

Sunday 16 September 2012

What to Wear to an Installation

What to wear to an installation?  Clearly a lot will depend on what kind of installation you are attending.  If you are plumbing in a new gas appliance then overalls and steel toe-cap boots would be appropriate.  If, on the other hand, your husband is about to be installed as Dean of Liverpool, then that would be an eccentric sartorial choice.

With this in mind, I surveyed my wardrobe, which as you know has not been added to during 2012.  Or not by me.  Kind friends have given me the occasional garment, and for this I am very grateful.  It was one such gift that I chose to wear yesterday afternoon.  But first the anguish, the tears.  You need to hear about them.  (And I apologise to anyone who has visited this blog to find out what the archbishop was up to in the rope aisle of Laird's DIY, we will get back to him in due course.)

Back in the dying days of December I cunningly purchased a very smart silk wrap-over dress, just in case I ever had occasion to wear it.  All through the long months of clothing boredom I have resisted wearing this dress.  But then alas, a couple of weeks ago I tried it on and consulted a trusted adviser who was visiting from Australia (not for that sole purpose, admittedly) and she decreed that it was very nice, but not dramatic enough for the occasion.  Liverpool cathedral is the largest Anglican cathedral in the galaxy.  Subtle and understated just doesn't wash.  Why, the new dean himself had to get a brand new russet cassock!  And no girl of spirit likes to be upstaged by a mere cleric.

So on the advice of my Australian consultant I wore the fabulous coat dress I wore on Easter day (see left).  I teamed it with my black body con dress, a pair of black Jasper Conran tights (rather snagged, but people should have been concentrating on the prayers not my legs) and some stupid black shoes which required  me to take a couple of Ibuprofen at the end of the day.  I did not wear a hat.  There's no point spending a fortune on a haircut and then wearing a hat.  Besides, it was windy.  I would have been snatched up like Mary Poppins and assumed into heaven.

Well, it was a lovely day.  Mr Dean (clerk in holy orders, right trusty and well-beloved of the queen--you've got to love those Letters Patent) is the 7th Dean of Liverpool, which means he has special powers, rather like the 7th son of a 7th son.  He can levitate and bi-locate, and cause the bells to ring by thought power alone.  He has many rights and appurtenances too.  We don't know what they are, but we will be insisting upon them.


  1. I wore jeans and converse and also wondered what appurtenances means, let me know if you find out. Welcome to Liverpool! Jane (random member of the Cathedral congregation and mother of a chorister) :)

  2. You'll be pleased to know I didn't notice the snagged tights (or the shoes) but I thought the coat played.

    Incidentally, don't tell the Cathedral ringers about the thought powers of the Dean. They are a feisty bunch, and since most of them are my ringers, too, I'd never hear the last of it.

  3. So sorry that Presteigne (in the form of Ian and Hilary Marchant) was so poorly represented at the ceremony; we'd have loved to be there. But thought you might like to know that you were quoted in this Sunday morning's sermon at St Andrew's parish church in Presteigne: "I think Catherine Fox has it right in her column in the Church of England Newspaper..."

  4. World famous in Radnorshire! Shame you couldn't make it. Come another time, it's fabulous.

  5. What a lovely invitation; we will, thank you.
    Incidentally your fame is now consolidated by the fact that you get a mention in "The Rector Writes" in this month's Parish Magazine. Thought you ought to know - probably best to pack the dark glasses next time you come to Radnorshire.

  6. All I can say is that Lichfield´s loss is Liverpool´s gain in both persons.
    Phil, currently baking in Tenerife (till April) and missing easy internet access.

  7. Tenerife, what a drag for you. Be brave.