Prince Philip.

I can remember exactly when I heard the news of Prince Philips death, lunchtime bbc r3 and my instant and enduring reaction was joy for his release from an old age. News reported how sad it all was, but surely no, from an extreme old age he needed release, you cannot get better from it, a time for us all to be happy at such a lifetime of achievement.

What a life!

Within hours my response was to regard him as ‘Action Man’ as no-one else I can think of merits this description. And so toward the end of the funeral to hear the Naval ‘Action Stations’ sounded was most fitting to this Philip ‘man of action’, but also this ‘from beyond the grave signal’ sends from Philip a call to get us all into gear, our butts into action and make the most of our lives, to step up and do better; to help motivate and assist.

His incredible intellectuality, experience and outreach I doubt we’ll ever see again.

HRH Prince Philip was very much a practical man and as we have heard these last few days extremely all encompassing in his interests and passions, a voracious reader of all manner of things, a high level thinker regarding God and Faith, passionate before it ever became mainstream to voice ecological concern. This man puts 007 to shame regarding vigour and pure energy and as handsome as any Bond figure. My reading of the man is his self deprecation, a mixture of Naval ‘get on with the job’ and an appreciation of his early precarious start. Soon after the funeral had finished, after four o’clock had passed we were able to listen to a close friend that stressed Philips focus on the need to be passionate, to have enthusiasm, to (with luck) hold passionate interests and to pursue these interests with vigour and therefore without it the world is dull and goes nowhere. Hence for instance his Award Scheme, his discussion and conference projects, a driving force for ecological and climate concerns, a great body of work.

I agree entirely with the importance of enthusiasm and intellectual curiosity, many times through my marriage years I expressed exactly the same sentiment, in fact knowing fine well if I were to lose the drives and enthusiasms then I too would be snookered. My own bereavement and subsequent revelation of things hidden hit me hard, in fact the hardest struggle of all has been to continue to work, forty years working alone and I sense the skeleton is picked near clean, yet each day I battle to do better. Other people, the right people would help me greatly.

I didn’t see the funeral as no tv in this house, but had radios playing around the house so as not to miss anything. The overwhelming image in my mind is when one leaves the formalities and the Service and it hits hard for the first time one is travelling back home alone, your other half will never return, never be seen again.

Action Stations! … this so-called modern world wastes so many peoples potential talents, kids are hooked on iphones, books are never consulted for the knowledge and experience contained within; everything is a fleeting image seldom retained, little depth, all a novelty, endless unsupervised frivolity of a so-called ‘social’ media. The only good point I can think is the succinct and valuable wiki page that allows one to grasp and recall a topic easily. Hence ‘Action Stations’ is the briefest yet most powerful signal that can be imagined, what an incredible prompt for us all, it reaches to the past, it reaches forward to the future.

Action Stations also allows Philip to connect instantly and pay tribute with all those men and woman no longer here that gave their lives in action.

And so the other big emotional thrill was hearing the old seafarers hymn which I actually have here on the Owen Brannigan ‘Noyes Flud’ LP, a live Aldeburgh recording of 1962, obviously written by Benjamin Britten, something unusually I immediately bought a second copy of as I know it will get played a lot, keep the best unused and stick to playing the inferior. Anyway to hear “For those in peril on the sea” etc immediately got me, on the Brannigan LP it features side 2 during the storm and Noah and his family sing to God to keep them safe; the girlfriend when she used to call heard me sing this many times, also a great tune to extemporise upon. My ancestors on both sides having strong sea connections, Royal Navy, inshore fishermen, sailmakers etc. This is why as I have maintained all my life we must all do our best, to make an effort as we are all part of a long thread and connection with our ancestors, we must never let them down.

Postscript, recently I’ve lost contact with a girlfriend of two years and the catalyst for this sudden cooling was her fifteen year old grandson utterly being unable to show any interest in anything I can offer or say, in other words in his presence and indeed his own family I cannot think of anything to say! This frustrates me mightily. I had set him a couple of worksheets a year ago at the start of the lockdown that would widen his horizons, something I gave careful thought toward ie to reveal new reveal topics, tricks with geometry and simple maths, improve sketching skills, buzzwords he would never encounter at his state school and yet this careful effort of mine, a lot of thought on my part, hoping to introduce a love of learning which in the duration of a year resulted in absolute zilch, nothing. One can often tell what others think by how their children or grandchildren react. I cannot help draw the parallel with the funeral of Prince Philip in that his whole life was developing himself and others, their knowledge, their conversation, their exploration of the physical and intellectual, yet with this particular family which are certainly not short of money they have not the wit nor realisation of what Philip stood for and actively promoted. I’m sorry to say as with many others they life in a bubble of pap, consumer junk and ephemera, Hollywood, Disney, iphones, etc etc.

Eternal Father, Strong to Save – Wikipedia

Psalm 107 – Wikipedia

Here I copy and paste from wiki …

Use in funerals[edit]

This hymn has been played or sung at a number of funerals for those who have served in or been associated with the Royal Navy or US Navy.

In 1979, it was sung at the funeral of Earl Mountbatten of Burma, a member of the British royal family who served in the Royal Navy from 1916 to 1965, including as First Sea Lord from 1955 to 1959 and Chief of the Defence Staff from 1959 to 1965.[17]

It was sung at the funerals of Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Richard Nixon, and played by the Navy Band at the funeral of John F. Kennedy. Roosevelt had served as Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Kennedy was commanding officer of Motor Torpedo Boat PT-109 in World War II, and Nixon served in the Navy during World War II in the Pacific Theater.[18] The hymn was sung by the congregation and choir during the funeral of Senator John McCain at the Washington National Cathedral on 1 September 2018[19] and at the funeral for former President George H. W. Bush at the Washington National Cathedral on 5 December 2018,[20] as both were US Navy officers (specifically Naval Aviators).

On 17 April 2021, it was sung at the funeral of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.[21] Prince Philip served in the Royal Navy from 1939 to 1952 and was Lord High Admiral of the United Kingdom from 2011 until his death.

Eternal Father strong to save
Whose arm has bound the restless wave
Who bids the mighty ocean deep
It’s own appointed limits keep
O hear us when we cry to Thee
For those in Peril on the seaOh Christ whose voice the waters heard
And hushed their raging at Thy word
Who walkest on the foamy deep
And how amidst the storm did sleep
O hear us when we cry to Thee
For those in Peril on the seaEternal Father strong to save
Whose arm has bound the restless wave,
Who bids the mighty ocean deep
It’s own appointed limits keep,
O hear us when we cry to Thee
For those in Peril on the sea.Oh Christ, the Lord of hill and plain,
O’er which our traffic runs amain.
By mountain pass or valley low,
Wherever, Lord our brethren go,
Protect them by Thy guarding hand
From every peril…

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