As a British citizen living in Ireland for the last 11½ years, I’m not eligible to vote in either. I can vote in the Irish general election, I can vote in European elections, and I can vote in local council elections. But only people who are citizens of Ireland (and who are resident in Ireland) are able to vote for the President and in referendums.
Hopefully, however, it’s going to be the last of the elections that I won’t be able to vote in. It’s about 7 months since I applied for my Irish citizenship, and I’m ever-hopeful that I’ll become naturalised and get my Irish passport (and the right to vote) within the coming months.
Since moving to live in Dublin in April 2007 there has been an average of one referendum per year. The one on Friday, about repealing the offence of blasphemy, will be the 12th referendum. During this time the people have Ireland have voted on such important issues as the rights of children, same-sex marriage, and abortion. But also, they’ve voted on the European Treaty of Lisbon (twice), reducing the minimum age of the president, and judge’s pay.
There’s talk about other referendums possibly taking place next year to address topics such as an archaic reference in the constitution to “women in the home”, allowing Irish citizens living abroad to vote, and maybe even reducing the voting age to 16.
Hopefully, by then, I’ll also be able to have my voice heard in these matters!
They use the courier Nightline for their deliveries, which on the face of it is a good idea, because Nightline have an advantage over other courier services. They have the Parcel Motel network of storage lockers, so if you’re not at home to receive your parcel, it can be held in a locker to be picked up at your convenience.
My order with Virgin Media went through at 10.00am on Friday, but for some reason Virgin didn’t dispatch my equipment until the following Monday evening.
An email I received from Nightline said that I could track my order online, or redirect the parcel elsewhere if I wan’t going to be in to accept the delivery. So on the Monday evening I tried the redirection process to send it straight to my local Parcel Motel, but every time submitted the request I kept getting an error in Nightline’s Parcel Pilot system. After a few attempts I abandoned it.
I tried again on the Tuesday morning to redirect to Parcel Motel, and it actually worked, and was recorded as a “Motel Redirect” in the tracking system. Unfortunately Nightline didn’t check their own records because they still took it out in their van to deliver to my home. It subsequently got returned to the depot, and the tracking system now says “Nightline delay, due next business day”.
So much for Virgin’s promise to have the equipment in my hands within 2 days!
So having asked to redirect to Parcel Motel, I received an second email from Nightline on the Wednesday saying it would be delivered to my Parcel Motel locker (they even listed the address of the locker location) between 2.00pm and 4.00pm.
I checked the Nightline tracking, and it said that the parcel was delivered at 3.30pm. However by 5.30pm I still hadn’t heard from Parcel Motel about how to collect the parcel (I need a PIN to access the locker).
So I called Nightline (018835400), and they said they couldn’t help and said I needed to call Parcel Motel on a different number (0768886677).
I called Parcel Motel, and kept getting cut off. It seems that unless your call gets picked up within about 20 seconds then you get a message saying “no agents available” and the call is dropped. Anyway, I eventually spoke to a person on the 5th attempt at calling, and they confirmed to me that it wasn’t actually delivered to Parcel Motel at all. The online tracker was wrong.
It seems that Nightline ignored the redirection request (for a second time) and actually delivered themselves to my neighbour.
I had hoped that my application would be one of the simple ones. I’m a British citizen, married to an Irish citizen, and I’ve resided in Ireland for over 11 years, have never been in trouble with the law, and have worked consistently and paid my taxes over the time.
Updates on progress
The naturalisation process itself seems to be fairly opaque. Once your application is in, you don’t hear from INIS until your citizenship is confirmed – months or years later. And if you enquire about the progress along way, you are given a fairly generic response.
I emailed them 5 days ago to ask about my application, and this morning got this stock answer:
Your application is currently being processed with a view to establishing whether it meets the statutory conditions for the granting of naturalisation, such as good character and lawful residence, and will be submitted to the Minister for decision as expeditiously as possible.
At the moment to get any update you either need to send an email and wait, or you can phone them during fixed hours per week – Tuesdays and Thursday, 10.00am to 12.30pm – and I’ve read that it’s hard to get through on the phone.
It seems to me that it would be better if they had some kind of web portal, where naturalisation candidates could input their reference number and get a status update on the progress of their application. It would probably save a lot of time for the people currently answering emails and phone calls!
Next citizenship ceremony
The next citizenship ceremony has been announced to take place in Killarney on Monday 26th November 2018. That’s just under 8 weeks from now.
The invites for the ceremony go out about 4-5 weeks beforehand, so I only have a few weeks left to get my naturalisation approved (and also pay the €950 fee) to make it to this ceremony. At the moment it doesn’t look likely.
If I miss this ceremony then I’ll probably have to wait until April or May of next year, as they only have them a few times a year. On some occasions they have multiple ceremonies on the same day to deal with the 3,000 to 4,000 people getting their citizenship.
There’s an average of about 12,000 adults a year going along to these citizenship ceremonies (children getting citizenship don’t need to attend), and it would make more sense to me if they had them more regularly. My suggestion would be have ceremonies at different location around the country once per month, which would still mean welcoming 1,000 people at a time!
When designing a blog it’s easy to think only about how the site looks on the big monitor attached to your desktop computer. After all that’s the tool we use to maintain our blogs.
But if ever you needed evidence that you need to prioritise mobile devices, take a look at these statistics from another site of mine:
The table shows:
78% of pages are viewed using smartphones
14% of pages are viewed via desktop computers
8% of pages are viewed using tablets
Almost 4 in 5 of all visitors are coming to my site using a smartphone. That could mean that they’re viewing my site in a completely different way than I am on my desktop computer.
For instance, all the links to other pages and advertising that shows as a column on the right of the page on the desktop are instead at the bottom of the page on mobile – and so it’s a lot less prominent to those visitors.
In order to address this we need to adopt a mobile-first attitude to design. We need to think about how a site looks on a smartphone ahead of the desktop.
A good responsive design will help – but we also need to check how the design moves content around once the screen size shrinks. That’s why I’m beginning to check everyone on my smartphone just as often as I use the laptop.
Throughout the Anglican Communion there is a tradition of singing the Psalms in services using Anglican Chant. This involves combining a 4-part harmony chant with the pointed words of a psalm.
Structure of a chant
The musical structure of a standard Anglican Chant in the format of: 3 bars / 4 bars / 3 bars / 4 bars. This is called a double chant, because it is used to sing 2 verses of the psalm. It’s also possible to see single chants that are half the length of a double chant in the format: 3 bars, 4 bars.
For each group of 3 or 4 bars, the first bar normally has a single note, the last bar has a single note, and the middle bars have two notes each – making up 20 notes in total for a double chant, or 10 notes for a single chant. More advanced chants have what’s called passing notes that add additional movement in each bar – see more on passing notes later.
Here’s an example of the format of a double chant:
Structure of the psalm text
In order to fit the psalm text to the chant, the text is “pointed” (or notated) in a certain way, so that you know which text to sing with which notes:
Here’s an example of a pointed version of Psalm 23:
1 The | Lord is my | shepherd; * therefore | can I | lack | nothing. 2 He shall feed me in a | green | pasture, * and lead me forth be- | side the | waters of | comfort.
You’ll notice that the words are broken up with pipe “|” symbols (or sometimes alternatively the single quote ‘ symbol). These give an indication of when to change note when singing. Each pipe “|” corresponds to the bar lines in the chant, and so the text is pointed in the same 3 bar, 4 bar format.
Putting it together
The 3-bar section (delimited in the music with a double bar line) is used to sing the first half of the verse, and the 4-bar section is used to send the second half of the verse. A colon or semi-colon normally shows the middle of the verse.
A single chant is used to sing one verse of the psalm
A double chant is used to sing a pair of verses of the psalm
For each verse, the first and last bar of the 3-bar or 4-bar sections are treated differently to the one or two bars in the middle. All the words up until the first pipe “|” in a verse are sang to the note in the first bar. Similarly all the words after the last pipe “|” in a verse are sang to the note in the last bar.
For each of the middle bars, the set of words between the two pipes “|” are shared across the two notes in that bar. We need to look at the number of syllables in the bar to work out how to allocate them to the notes:
If there is only one syllable, we sing that syllable to both the notes – in our example, the word “lack” is in a bar of its own, and so we sing this word across two notes.
If there are two syllables, we sing each syllable to one note each – in our example, the bar with “can I” only has two syllables, so they get one note each.
If there are more than two syllables, we sing all the syllables except the last one to the first note, and the last syllable to the second note – in our example the bar with “Lord is my” has 3 syllables, so “Lord is” is sung to the first note, and “my” to the second note.
Sometimes a period “.” is used in the pointing of words to indicate an early change of notes in the middle of a multi-syllable bar. Without the period – in this example – the note changes between the words “is” and “my”:
1 The | Lord is my | shepherd; * therefore | can I | lack | nothing.
With a period – in this next example – the note changes between the words “Lord” and “is”:
1 The | Lord . is my | shepherd; * therefore | can I | lack | nothing.
Here’s how the words and music fit together for the first two verses of the psalm. I’ve inserted periods between each syllable to highlight them for you:
The note lengths don’t dictate the rhythm when singing Anglican Chant. The sense of rhythem comes from the cadence of the text, and should be at the usual pace used for reading out loud. To practice this, it’s often a good exercise to speak the text without the music.
Some singers are often tempted to slow down their pace of singing just before the bar line, because the note is changing, but this should be avoided if possible.
We talk about having passing notes, when there are more than one note in the first and last bars of each section, and more than two notes in the middle bars. Not all parts can get passing notes at the same time. Indeed, it can be common for just one of the four voices to have a passing note.
When we have passing notes, the syllable or syllables that would normally be sung to one note are instead shared over two notes – but in the same time as if you had been singing it to one note – so, quicker.
Here’s some additional pointing of the words that you need to be aware of, which vary from place to place:
A space, comma or asterisk – used to mark a break in the singing of a line of words
Underlined or bold words – used to indicate words that need stressing or lengthening
A slur or arrow in the middle or end of the verse – used to indicate that you continue singing without a break
A long-dash “—” indicates to omit that bar of music from the chant
Dagger “†” indicates use of the second part of a double chant
In some cathedrals and churches where the psalms are sung every day, the Psalter is divided equally in order over a month, with a few psalms appointed for morning prayer, and some appointed for evening prayer or evensong – with the idea that we start with Psalm 1 on the morning of the 1st of the month and get through all 150 over the course of the 31 days.
In other churches psalms are appointed for certain days based upon the Lectionary, which dictates all the biblical readings for a particular day, and in this case are not sung in numerical order.
Other things to note
When singing the psalms to Anglican Chant, here’s some things to note:
The music and words of the psalm aren’t printed together. Typically the chant is shown once at the top of the page, and all the verses of the psalm under it. So you need to get used to flicking back and forth between the music and words.
Different institutions use different editions of the Bible for the words of the psalms. The traditional words associated with the Book of Common Prayer are know as the Coverdale translation. Many churches use more modern English translations.
It’s possible to also have triple and quadruple chants that take 3 verses or 4 verses to sing through the whole chant.
Many choirs sing verses antiphonally. That is, they sing alternate verses. The first two verses of the psalm will be sung by the whole choir, and then the odd numbered verses by one side of the choir, and the even verses by the other.
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