What Advent means to me

CAFOD blog

CAFOD volunteer Trevor Stockton, from St Anthony of Padua parish in Wolverhampton, reflects on the significance of Advent in his life, past and present.

Trevor Stockton speaking at a Romero Mass in St Chad's Cathedral, Birmingham Trevor Stockton speaking at a Romero Mass in St Chad’s Cathedral, Birmingham

Advent was a word I didn’t know about until I started going to church in my teens. The period before Christmas and Christmas itself really took on a new meaning for me thereafter.

Before then, as a child in a working class family in the 1940s, Christmas was simply all about having a few treats that we didn’t get all year round. Having an ordinary stocking filled with nuts, dates, a tangerine and other similar luxuries was amazing.  A few, and I mean a few, simple presents followed by a family Christmas meal made the day. There was no television and the day continued with playing games. So, the weeks before Christmas were spent…

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The Wedding Dress Wait

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What would you choose?

I’ve been watching Say Yes to the Dress (don’t shoot me) as a background programme for when I’ve been editing. I don’t know if it’s a bride-to-be or girl thing, but I love seeing the preparations and choices other brides are making. The world is such a varied place, with so any different ideas, and there is nothing more novel than the preparations they make for that day.

In a recent episode, one bride looked shocked in fittings because her dress was not as she remembered. There must not be anything more scary [temporarily, of course] than to look at a dress that has been made – often by hand and with immaculate detail – for you alone and not be convinced that the dress is actually something that wows you. Or, that it doesn’t wow you as much as it had done.

Tastes change, of course.

It’s a petty issue, yes; after all, a wedding is about bringing two different families and cultures together to create a new family. Nevertheless, one doesn’t want to have those rabid thoughts. One wants to *love* the dress.

This is particularly a worry for me, as I knew I would never be one of those weepy bride-to-bes when I wore The One. In fact, after coming back for a second look, I even chose away from a dress that my Matron of Honour tear up. Yes, I could’ve kept looking, I could’ve scoured and searched until my feet fell off and my heart died, but there was also that rational feeling of everything fits together with what I would be going for. It’s not the perfect dress, but that doesn’t exist within my price point, if at all, and I’m willing to make these compromises for this dress. I look forward to wearing it on my wedding day.

Not to mention the blushing.

Yet, now one and all are faced with that gaping maw of months as fabrics are picked, dresses are sewn, details are embroidered. (Or whatever the process entails.) Now, we wait with nothing more to do.

Or tonnes to do. However you look at it.

Quick Takes: Truth Tables, Fantastic Magic, and SPG Hit

Seven Quick Takes is hosted by This Ain’t the Lyceum.

Seven Quick Takes


As we near advent now, it is time to reevaluate our goals and our behaviour, and orient ourselves towards the Lord and His genesis into human life. Christmas is such a pivotal time for Christians because of the birth of Christ.


This song by Steam Powered Giraffe has been going through my head, the life-affirming self gratifying song about owning one’s issues:


I’m trundling along in the university term now. At the time of writing, I’ve just finished week 7 out of 10, which means that we’re both winding down in ideas and digging deeper. On most classes, we know enough now to start exploring the topics beyond the weekly reading.


In Semantics today, we discuss the inclusive and exclusive ‘or’. That is to say, differences in the use of ‘or’ in sentences such as ‘tea or coffee?’ and ‘milk or sugar?’. At first glance, you wouldn’t think of how ambiguous English is, but, actually, there are so many things that ESL speakers her wrong because they aren’t used to English intuition.

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I’m going to see Fantastic Beasts tonight. I’m excited to see it, as there is no book as a basis. I was never much of a Potterhead, though the films started my reading career when I was younger, but I am looking forward to seeing how the worldbuilding has evolved since its 2-dimensional start in Philosopher’s Stone to the nature of being a witch or wizard in the roaring 20s.


Editing has been rather good this week, thanks be to God! I’ve been making headway rewriting chapters 15 and 16, including things that whether Cathy is a klutz or not, and her slight obsession with the furnace exploding.

The extract below is such a new addition, heightening Cathy’s distrust of Petite Victoria.


Cathy simply stared. By dint of habit, she listened to the whole utterance before drawing conclusions. The science of listening and interpreting.

“I saw it, let us say, in your eyes the moment you stepped up to my plinth. Not only because you listened and spoke to my people, but do-gooders all look the same. Expressive, bleeding-heart eyes, always reaching onto tiptoes to reach for the next astral body.”

She didn’t stretch. Cathy bit her tongue. Arguing back would do her no good. The woman guided a hand through Cathy’s elbow, and the force of it dragged her along the path.


Photo of the Week: Steampunk Octopus

So, of course, today had to be one of the (albeit paltry) photos I took during the Saturday I spent at Steampunks in Space at the Leicester Space Centre. I had a good time. I learnt about making gin cocktails, caught up with friends, didn’t buy anything from the market (yay!), and of course, did a customary wander of the space centre’s exhibits.


This particular octopus, Bluey, was made by my fiance. He [the octopus, not The Fiance] is hiding behind his bow tie a bit! You can find more of Chrono Creation’s stuff and like his page here.