Our regular cleaner is finally back!!!! Yay!!!
During lockdown, every time I tried to clean the house, I got laid aside in bed. In order to not cause further anxiety to the Mhinisteir, I decided to just do the very basics. For that reason, I was elated to receive a text from our cleaner to say that she will be popping round and as promised, she came earlier in the week.
Of course we needed to be sure that we maintained social distancing etc. The Mhinsteir and I decided that we will not be in the house when the cleaner arrived. The Mhinsteir had some errands to run and so I went along with him even if it just meant waiting in the car for him. It was nice to be out and to enjoy the sunshine
By the time we got back, the cleaner had left and my goodness what a difference a cleaner makes!!!! She is worth every penny!
Next week, it is the turn of the window cleaner and the oven cleaner.
Since lockdown, I have been trying without success to send our tithes and offering electronically. It was only yesterday that I was able to complete what should have been a simple task! Why you might ask?
The first problem I faced was trying to get the bank details from the respective church wardens. As we are a multi parish benefice, we try to be fair. I had to wait for weeks before the first parish church came back to me with their bank details. I was even beginning to wonder if church bank details were actually confidential. About a fortnight ago, I received 2 more but one of the bank details was inaccurate. Thankfully it was resolved yesterday.
I sat in front of my laptop and went to the Royal Bank of Scotland’s digital banking page. I was able to log in no bother and I arranged for the money to be transferred. As I was transferring money to a new payee, for security purposes, I needed to use my card reader. The words “No Power” kept flashing every time I turned on the reader. Soon I learned that I either change the batteries in the card reader or request a new one. There was no way I was going to change the batteries so I requested for a new one. Guess what? It will take 7 long days to arrive! So what was I to do in the meantime??? As I related my plight to the Mhinisteir, he reminded me that there is always a spiritual element to everything we do. Hearing his words made me even more determined to complete the transaction. I knew we had a second card reader so I decided to ransack my handbag.
The good news is that I managed to find the second reader and complete the transaction. The bad news is that I am still waiting for the bank details of half a dozen more of our churches. Maybe this is one of the reasons why most churches are poor!
We have a good local butcher who does local delivery but sadly their customer service is not so good.
I remember the time when I rang them to place my first order which was two days after we had moved to the Vicarage. The person on the other end was the least interested in my order and was keen to put the phone down. Despite the cold reception, I have continued using them but I also use my other”local” butcher in Scotland for wild venison etc.
During lockdown, I haven’t been using my Scotland butcher but have been solely using my local butcher until last week. As usual, I phoned them with my order but there was this abrupt voice that said that they are no longer taking orders for delivery as it is quite chaotic for them and that they are simply not taking any orders anymore!!!! I am not sure how they can be so choosy when there are reports after reports saying that butchers are struggling to shift meat!!!!
Anyway, I was slightly irritated because here I am trying to support my local business but it looks like they don’t need my custom so I had no choice but to take my custom elsewhere.
Isn’t it strange that my butcher in Scotland is able to deliver to England while my local butcher who is only a 5 minutes drive away is unable to do so?
Lesslie Newbigin’s A South India Diary caught my eye when I was browsing through the Mhinisteir’s library. The reason why it caught my eye was pedantic. I just had to take the book out to be sure that Newbigin did indeed have two Ss on his first name!
As you can see from the photo, This is a very old book published in 1951. The title was too attractive for someone fascinated by India. Furthermore I realised that Newbigin was first ordained in the Church of Scotland.
Lesslie Newbigin was a British Clergyman who became the first Bishop of South India. The book is really a diary of Newbigin’s time in India as the first Bishop of South India. It is a very interesting read even though at times it can feel repetitive as his days were very long and usually taken up by the same things (meeting people, attending meetings, conducting worship, solving disputes etc). It was an eye opener to read about another culture but also to learn of the challenges faced by converts to Christianity in that culture.
As Newbigin had a good way with words, this book gets a 3/5.
About a fortnight ago, there was an article in the Telegraph comparing urban and rural living.
It featured a group of women from different age groups. There were some who after moving to the country never settled into rural living and started despising it while others didn’t want to look back at urban living ever again. Sadly the latter were in the minority.
The usual complaints about rural living are
- rural folk are cliquey
- nothing much to do
- you have to make everything from scratch
- no shops nearby
- No takeaways or worst still no food deliveries.
One woman who was interviewed said she was envious of her friends with whom she was chatting over Zoom when they interrupted the conversation to collect their pizza delivery which was waiting at their doorstep. They were in Notting Hill!!! She was desperate to get back to her home in London for the much needed peace and quiet. Her country home was her second home.
It made me think about how much I enjoy rural life. After living in 4 different cities worldwide at different times in our married life, I must admit that I do appreciate rural living a lot more than before. The last city we were in was a very busy and famous English city which I absolutely hated. Every year, people from all over the world travelled thousands of miles to visit this city but I was just so miserable.
Below are some of the things that I enjoy about rural living
- A sense of community
- Slow pace of life
- Rich or poor you all go to the same shop!
- Natural beauty and cleaner air
- People are friendly
“You have nice hair” commented the Mhinisteir at dinner the other day.
Coming to think of it, I did notice it myself.
Am I the only one who is pleased with my lockdown hair????
I have always had short hair except for a couple of years during my rebellious teenage years!!! My last haircut was in February. I was not too pleased with it as the hairdresser had gone a bit too short. My hair at that time was shorter than the Mhinisteir’s! But now when I look back, I can see God’s hand in it. Thanks to that extremely short haircut that even after three months my hair is still looking fairly tidy. I don’t feel like as if a bear cub has curled up on top of my head!
In the last few weeks, I have noticed that I do have very nice hair. What a pity that over these years, I have been ruthlessly chopping them off. If only I had realised it when I was younger! As I am becoming grey, in order to look tidy,I still plan to cut them short but I was thinking more of a short bob instead of my usual crop. Anyway, I am going to enjoy my hair until we are allowed to visit our hairdressers again!
I love bananas. This cake is very easy to make as it can all be done in a food processor. It tastes yummy too. The recipe is as follows:
Preheat oven to 170c
115g Dove Gluten Free Self Raising Flour
115g Stork baking block
115g Caster Sugar
1/2tsp Vanilla Paste/extract
1 riped banana
1. Put the eggs, stork, sugar and vanilla paste into the food processor and mix until all the ingredients are well mixed.
2. Add the banana and mix again until it blends into the mixture.
3. Finally add the flour and mix it in quick short bursts until well blended.
4. Pour into small loaf tin and bake for about 20-25 minutes.
Tip: If you have an overly ripe banana, pop it in the freezer and you can use it for this recipe.
We have just bought our first fan!
Back in the Scottish Highlands, there was never a need for a fan as such was the weather. We might get a couple of days of Sunshine in August but that’s about it. It was never clammy as it will turn cool the moment the sun goes down.
The summers in England are v hot and heavy. I struggle with the heat but for some weird reason we never bothered to buy a fan. Last year, I did try to buy a fan but they were sold out. I quickly learnt that one does not try and buy a fan in the height of a heatwave!!!!
This year, I decided to be clever and started my search early. I liked one that I saw on the John Lewis website. It was a free standing fan. Just when I was about to press the checkout button, I decided to reread the product specification.. It said partial assembly required. After my experience with the purchase ofa Waterhose, I promised myself that I will NEVER EVER buy anything that needed self assembly.
i decided to look for another model that didn’t need self assembly but in this day and age of do it yourself everything, it was impossible. I decided to settle for the one with minimal self assembly but it was out of stock. I clicked email me when in stock.
A month had passed and I didn’t get any email from JL. Last week, when I went to their website, that item was no longer available. I didn’t think that I wanted to wait any longer and so I purchased a 9″ Desk fan instead.
The desk fan arrived on Saturday but no attempt was made by the Mhinisteir to unwrap the box. The excuse given was that due to the coronavirus, the parcel should be left untouched for 72 hours!! For those who follow my blog, you might remember what happened with the trouser press
The Mhinisteir is just hopeless with his hands. The 72 hours passed but the Mhinisteir was still not doing anything. Yesterday, I decided to take matters into my own hands and assembled the fan myself. I needed a bit of help from the Mhinisteir as he is physically stronger.
We had a good night’s sleep thanks to our new fan!
The Mhinisteir and I have been yearning to watch reruns of the Vicar of Dibley. DVDs weren’t an option as we don’t have a DVD player. We gave ours away many years ago. Anyway, even if we had a DVD player it wouldn’t work as we do not have a television. However, this was the only programme we wanted to watch. I trawled the internet looking for ways to watch it for free online but none were available.
Thanks to Martin Lewis from the MoneySavingExpert, I did accidentally discover that one can watch ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 online without a TV License. Not live TV though but how fabulous is that? It is not too much of a benefit to us who are not great lovers of TV but it is useful information. You never know when you might need these facilities.
Back to my search for the Vicar of Dibley….. As I was flipping the pages of the Good Housekeeping, I read about Britbox and guess what?, the Vicar of Dipley got a mention. I immediately signed up to Britbox and found out that you get a free 30 day trial. For those interested, it costs £5.99 per month after that. The only problem is we might finish watching all of the Vicar of Dibley episodes long before the end of the 30 day trial !!!!!!!
There was a letter published in the Telegraph about a fortnight ago. It was written by a man who had bought himself a new diary at the start of 2020 and on the cover of his new diary it read 2020 BEST YEAR EVER!
He wrote to ask fellow Telegraph readers if he would be able to get a refund if he were to return it to the shop.