Can someone please tell me what smart casual means? I have an invite to an evening garden party and the dress code is smart casual. I don’t do smart casual because I don’t like the sound of it and in any case I only do formal.
I had already decided on what I was going to wear until the Mhinisteir dropped the dress code bombshell. I think it is a bit too late to go clothes shopping but I am not sure that I need more clothes. The biggest challenge that I have now is to try and “convert” my formal outfit to smart casual which seems like an impossible task.
Our weather compared to this time last year is very different. It is humid and wet. I for one am not complaining as I quite like this weather compared to the extreme heat where you can’t sleep at night!
One of the big tasks this week was to tackle the mountain of washing that needed ironing. I am the sort who irons everything that goes into the washing machine so I inevitably accumulate more things to iron. I also have been doing something naughty. I have been leaving some of my dresses in the ironing basket for another day but whenever that day comes along, I have new washing that needs ironing so the dresses never got a second look!
My new found hobby has also been taking me away from the mundane but very necessary task of ironing! I am not even sure I like ironing??!! Some days I think I love ironing but other days it feels laboured.
At the end of last week, I gave myself a bit of a scare while gardening. I began to feel quite unwell and had to get back inside the house. Since then, I have decided to stay away from the garden for a wee while. It is a blessing in disguise as it means I have more time to focus on ironing. I am pleased to report that I have ironed every item that found its way into the ironing basket!!!!
Finally, another good thing to happen this week is that the gardener is back! He has come back with great gusto and has transformed the garden. Well done to him!
Now that summer is upon us, almost every other Sunday we hear at least one Banns of Marriage being read out in church.
In the Church of England, it is a legal requirement for Banns of Marriage to be read out in Church. Banns of Marriage are announcements that are made in the church that the wedding couple are due to be married in. They are read so that it will give anyone the opportunity to give a reason why the couple cannot be lawfully married.
The Banns of Marriage of a couple are read for three Sundays, three months before the actual wedding. After the Banns have been read, the congregation prays for the couple.
When I moved to England and started worshipping in the Church of England, I very quickly realised that these couples whose Banns of Marriage were announced were rarely present in Church. I mentioned earlier that the main aim of the announcement is to give anyone the opportunity to give a reason why the couple cannot be lawfully married. If you don’t even know who is getting married, how can you in good conscience say that you don’t know of any impediment?????????
After all these years, I still find the rules of the Church a bit strange but then it is not the rules is it?? The Church and her Vicars need to be more diligent in imposing them. The couple must be present when their Banns of Marriage is being read. If it is too much of an imposition, they should seriously consider why they wanted to get married in a Church in the first place!. Contrary to what senior clerics promote, the Church is NOT a wedding venue! You can’t pick and choose which bits of the church you like and which bits you don’t.
Last week saw us making a trip to our local independent optician. This time it was to make a second pair of spectacles for the both of us. When we made our first pairs in February, we were informed of a promotion where if you bought a first pair you get the second at half price! It was a very good deal but we had just spent a fortune making our first pairs but thankfully we were given six months to decide which I think is very decent of them.
We both wear spectacles all the time and it seemed like a good idea to own a second pair. This will be the first time in our lives where we will have the luxury of owning a second pair!!!!
Anyway, off we went to our local optician. I was disappointed that the person that we had requested to see wasn’t available. No explanation offered. It was another person, a lady. We both decided on our frames within 5 minutes. The Mhinisteir went for his second silhouette pair while I too chose a silhouette. My first is a pair of Japanese frames.
Then it came to prescriptions. Again, this was done very quickly as they already have our records. It was just a matter of copying them down. However, the lady wasn’t sure if my lenses were special anti fog ones. She was puzzled that both our spectacles were not steaming up despite us wearing masks. I was quite sure mine were not anti fog but she thought otherwise so she decided to do a test…..
She took my spectacles off me, took off her own mask and breathed on my lenses!!!!!!!!!!!! I almost died when I saw her do that!!!!!!!! She very casually wiped the lenses and returned my spectacles to me!!!!! I asked if it was safe for me to use my spectacles now that she has breathed on them. It was a serious question but she thought it was a joke and started laughing. She assured me that she has wiped them. Certainly not with any chemical solution I thought to myself!!!!!
Without my spectacles, I am as blind as a bat so I had no choice but to put them on. However the first thing that I did when I got home was to give my spectacles a VERY good clean!!!!!!
As I entered our ancient church building for Sunday service, there was a certain buzz in the air. Rural churches are usually more OAP heavy and there tend to be more women than men. Our churches aren’t any different. We do have a handful of young people but they were not in church yesterday. I quickly gathered that the reason for the buzz was obviously the football match later that evening. I was very surprised as I wasn’t expecting that at all.
Since moving to England, I have never come across such excitement in church but then England have never qualified to the final of a men’s football tournament in many years.
I have never experienced this in Scotland either albeit for a different reason. There the people that I encountered in church felt that they shouldn’t be talking about “unholy” things on the Sabbath. Sadly, it was difficult to get them to talk about sports on other days too. The men I knew loved football. Rangers to be precise but felt that they couldn’t declare their love for football. I think it is very sad when one has to suppress their feelings in order to be religious! No wonder the heathen thinks that the God of the bible is a monster!
Anyway, back to our parishioners….. There was a 90 year old lady who was wearing England’s colour (Red and White). She looked so cute!!! In fact, there were quite a few of the ladies in red and white. I spoilt the party by turning up in something totally different!!!!!
Sadly, England lost the game but I will remember 11 July 2021 for a very long time because of the lovely buzz that I experienced in church that Sunday!!!!
The General Synod under the aegis of the ABY is trying to increase the number of lay lead parishes and have services in homes. To put simply they are trying to “kill” the traditional parish churches.
Unless they have all been living under a rock, my observation especially since the first lockdown is that most people still value traditional parish churches and church services which is why there was such an outcry over the closing down of churches during the first lockdown. I also happen to know that not everyone is happy or comfortable with online services.
How about the Eucharist? Who is going to administer that? A traditional parish church is a neutral place that is welcome to anyone and everyone. That cannot be said of these so called home churches because the home belongs to an individual and he/she reserves the right to deny entry.
I quite like football but am not a fanatic. I always support the underdog. The moment the final score came through last night, I told the Mhinisteir that we will not be seeing our cleaner the next day. True enough, there was a text message on my phone first thing this morning to say that she is poorly and will not be coming in today!
Oh by the way, in case you haven’t heard, England have qualified to the final in the Euros 2020 football tournament. It is very significant because the last time England reached a major men’s final was 55 years ago, in 1966 when they won the World Cup.
I think I am not the only one to spend a lot of precious time when it comes to customer service.
I am beginning to think that Covid has become a very convenient excuse for organisations to underperform. Every time I go to a customer service page on a website or make a phone call to the bank etc, the first thing that I read and hear is that due to current pandemic, normal services are not possible. Why not? It Is increasingly becoming difficult to speak to an actual human being!!!!! There was a reader’s letter in the Telegraph the other day. The reader was lamenting the fact that at his local bank, he was asked for his driving licence among other legal documents to DEPOSIT the grand sum of £250!!!
Dorothy who had to sit for an English Test in order to enrol in a course at the University of Cambridge has had the same problem. She has been trying to get in touch with the University by email and all she got was the same semi -automated reply! Admitting defeat, she tried to book in for her English test and according to her it took three whole weeks for someone to reply to her email. All the while, time was ticking for the cut-off date for the test. According to her all emails to the University takes that long even for an acknowledgement!
Regular readers will know that we have a milkman who delivers our milk. I also get organic potatoes that are delivered every Saturday. Unfortunately, there were no potatoes on the doorstep on Saturday. We were almost left without tatties for Sunday lunch but thankfully we still had a few left from the following Saturday’s order.
Conveniently , Milkandmore the company that the milkman works for don’t keep a record of items that ARE NOT delivered! The onus is on the customer to contact them for a refund. How inconvenient! I am sure that they are many customers who just don’t have the time to contact them for a refund. It has happened to me at least once during the lockdown because it was just impossible to get through to someone. If you are a working person, you just don’t have the time to sit around and wait for someone to answer the phone.
This time, I wasn’t going to let them keep my £2.50. I went to their website hoping to send an email but there was a notice to say that they have stopped replying to emails due to the high volume of emails that they are receiving! They don’t deliver the goods and they don’t have the decency to refund me. I am not sure what kind of customer service this is when I the customer have to do all the running around!
This is the same with our energy company OVO. They actually reward customers for not getting in touch with them. We didn’t choose OVO as our energy provider, they were already providing energy for the Vicarage when we moved so we decided to stick with them. I prefer to pay our bills by telephone while they prefer their customers to set up a direct debit which I refuse to. Until recently, they were very reluctant to print a telephone number on their bills!
Sadly, we the customers have no choice but to either put up or shut up!
The month of June has been busy and July is already looking busy. For someone like me life pre covid and post cover is similar.
However since the beginning of June I have had a few important commitments. I am exhausted!
I have made 2 visits to the Cathedral. One was in person while the other was virtually. The Mhinisteir and I attended a service in the Cathedral where one of our friends was made a Canon. It was a lovely service and it was wonderful to catch up with old friends.
The Virtual visit to the cathedral was for the ordination of our Assistant Curate who was making the transition from Deacon to Priest.
I have also attended one garden party. Since then, I have regretted my decision to go as I was very uncomfortable at the absence of Covid safety guidelines. I attended this event as the Mhinisteir’s plus one.
I am due to attend another garden party towards the end of July. It is to be in our Bishop’s garden. Again I am nervous.
In about 10 days time, we are expecting our first visitors to the Vicarage since March 2020! Have I already said that I am nervous??!!
I have decided that whatever the government decides,I am going to carry on using the face mask and maintain my current safeguarding measures.