2022 · Anglican · Blogging · Church of England · Clergy Wife · England · Parish Church · Parish Life · Parishioners · Rural · Vicarage · Village · Winter

Can it get any worse?

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As I type this, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry as that is the type of day I had yesterday!

Regular readers will know that the vicarage boiler has been down since last Thursday and it remains so. To add to that, we had an unexpected power cut the whole of yesterday. It started just before 10am and went on and on. The Mhinisteir had back to back zoom meetings and had to cancel all of them. He rang around the neighbours and mysteriously nobody had a power cut! However, a few of them reported seeing several power network vans in the village.

Without the little electric heaters, the vicarage grew very cold very quickly. I could no longer take cover under the electric blanket! The Mhinisteir contacted the power network people and was informed that there was a planned work going on of which we should have been notified a month ago and that the power will be off until 2.30pm that day. We did not receive ANY such notification! The villagers hadn’t heard of it either! If I had known of the power cut, I would have filled our thermos flasks with hot water and soup instead we found ourselves without any hot water or hot food.

The Mhinisteir suggested going out for lunch. Hot food and a bit of warmth sounded attractive and off we went. On our way out of the village, we saw the power network people working on the cables causing us to be hopeful that power would be resumed as promised.

On our way back, the power network vans had disappeared and we could see the lights in the village; things were looking up.

The first thing I did upon entering the vicarage was to turn on the lights. Lo and behold, there was no light!!!!!!! Oh dear!!!!

By this time, the Mhinisteir’s mobile had run out of battery, after plugging in the analog phone, the Mhinisteir phoned the power network people again. According to their records, power was restored in our area some time ago and so they were puzzled. Oh dear!

They promised to send an engineer within 3 hours. With the sun going down, the vicarage was getting even colder. About half and hour later, the doorbell rang. It was the power network engineers!!! Hallejujah!!!!

From the moment the Mhinisteir opened the door till they left, they were apologising profusely. This is what happened….. because the vicarage is on a dead end, they didn’t know it existed and so didn’t bother turning on our power again. This is the same reason why we were not notified of the planned work because as far as they were concerned we didn’t exist!!!!!! As to why most of the villagers were unaffected; it’s because the vicarage is on a hill and so we share the powerlines with folk outside the village! Baffling? I know.😁

Thankfully, power has been restored but still no sign of the boiler engineer. We really can’t go on like this for much longer as it is very disruptive and tiresome🙃🙃. We are both so tired with all the excitement and can’t wait for normal services to resume.

2022 · Anglican · Blogging · Church of England · Clergy Wife · Coronavirus · Electric Blanket · England · Multi Parish Benefice · Parish Church · Parish Life · Parishioners · Rural · Vicarage · Winter

Day 4 without heating…

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Today is the 4th day without heating since the vicarage boiler broke down on Thursday.

It has been a massive inconvenience but we are not miserable. It is amazing how the breakdown of something like the boiler can upset our routine. I thought it was just me who feels this way but the Mhinisteir is struggling too.

We were given 4 foot heaters by the heating company for which we are thankful but it is not the same and we are still cold. I have been spending most of my time in bed with the electric blanket turned on! I am only in my study to write this blog, after that I am going back to the comfort of my bed.

Thankfully, we have got hot water which means we can have our shower and do the washing up but we almost went without it as the engineer who was sent to us was new and so was not familiar with the way our heating system works.

Rural churches have very little or no heating so it was mighty cold in both churches yesterday. On top of that, the windows and doors were kept open in compliance with Covid19 guidelines. When we came back, we were even more cold!!!! 🥶🥶🥶🥶

As always our kind parishioners have been offering us their portable heaters but I think we are quite alright for now but we can’t wait for the heating to be restored.

2022 · Anglican · Blogging · Church of England · Cleaner · Clergy Wife · England · Faith · God · Prayer · Rural · Vicarage · Winter

The Good, The Bad & The Funny

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As we come to the close of the first week in January 2022, let me start with the good and finish with the funny😁.

The Good

Earlier in the week, I had written about the Mhinisteir’s sibling who was awaiting test results for a growth. On Tuesday, we got the good news that the growth is not malignant and so we rejoice. Thank you to all who contacted me and expressed concern.

My sibling who was ill with Covid19 like symptoms DOES NOT have Covid19 and has almost recovered.

My birthday wish for my family member too has been fulfilled as said family member is sounding much brighter and was able to go out for a wee while.

The Bad

The vicarage boiler has broken down thus turning the vicarage into an igloo. Thankfully, the heating engineer was able to come this morning. Unfortunately, the spare part that is required to fix the boiler will not be available until next week! In the meantime, I have struggled to get any work done because of the cold and disruption but as I type this while wearing fingerless gloves, the heating engineer has arrived with some portable heaters to tide us over until next week. I am very touched and grateful because I don’t think they are obliged to do this. In case you are wondering, we do have a fire place but the chimney hasn’t been swept. Since the summer, despite many chimney sweeps advertising, we have been struggling to find one who is available; unswept chimneys are a fire hazard.

The Funny

Yesterday, our cleaners went off with my shower gel by mistake!!!!!!!🤣🤣🤣🤣

2022 · Anglican · Blogging · Christmas · Church of England · Clergy Wife · England · Epiphany · Faith · God · Parish Church · Parish Life · Parishioners · Rural · Vicarage · Winter

Epiphany

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Today is Epiphany, the revelation of Christ to the gentiles.

On the drive back home from church after attending the service to mark Epiphany, I was reminded as to what an important day it is for without the revelation of Christ to the gentiles, there would have been no hope for the rest of us who are not Jews. Unfortunately, my Protestant upbringing meant that we never marked Epiphany or any of the feast days.

Anyway, Epiphany also means that it is time to take down the Christmas decorations. As everyone else’s home, the Vicarage now looks bare without the decorations but it is just a matter of getting used to! I always keep the decorations to a bare minimum and even then I was exhausted taking them down.

Thankfully, today is the day the cleaners were scheduled to come and so they were able to clear up all the mess that I created while taking down the decorations.

2022 · Anglican · Blogging · Calligraphy · Christmas · Church of England · Clergy Wife · England · Left Handed · Parish Life · Parishioners · Rural · Vicarage · Winter

Letter Writing

This year’s thank you cards

I love letter writing and I also like receiving handwritten letters. There is just something special about them! Sadly, in this modern world, most people prefer to communicate via electronic means while some simply don’t bother! 😁

I love to look at beautiful handwritings and in order to improve my own handwriting, I started learning (self taught) calligraphy in 2019. There were no calligraphy workbooks for left handers so I just bought one that was for right handers and practiced religiously. Despite getting frustrated, I must say that I am super pleased with myself for having come this far with just the help of one book!

As you will see from the photo above, I have finally mustered enough courage to show off my work.

In terms of letter writing, the month of January is a busy month for me. The first two weeks in January see me writing thank you cards to all the people who gave us Christmas presents.

As we don’t send out Christmas cards, I spend the rest of January writing to people who are in our “Christmas” card list.

We stopped sending Christmas cards about 11 years ago when I realised through our own experience that due to the busyness of Christmas, the Mhinisteir and I often don’t have the time to read or appreciate the many many Christmas cards plus robin letters that come through the Vicarage postbox. It was also during this time that I discovered through casual conversations with parishioners that after all the hype of Christmas, January becomes a lonely month for most people especially those who live on their own. That is when the idea to write to people in January was born and since then I have stuck to it.

2022 · Anglican · Blogging · Church of England · Clergy Wife · England · Faith · God · Rural · Vicarage

Happy New Year!

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On Sunday morning, I was rudely awakened by rain lashing against our bedroom windows. The first thought that came to my mind was ” why must it rain on a Sunday morning when I have to go to church?😪”.

As I lie in bed, I started thinking about the new year. Why do we celebrate the new year when the slate doesn’t get wiped clean instead we just carry over the same old problems, anxieties and fears of the old year.

On New Year’s Eve, we got some worrying news; one of the Mhinisteir’s siblings discovered a lump in their body and is awaiting test results to be out in the new week. A few hours later, I got a text from my only sibling to say that they are experiencing extreme sickness and symptoms that are very simillar to Covid19!

Just before bed last night, I heard that a long time family friend whom we call Auntie S has suddenly died. I have known Auntie S since I was a little girl. Her parents and my paternal grandparents were lifelong friends and the friendship continued throughout the generations. A few days before Christmas, Auntie S had received an unexpected and shocking diagnosis of stage 4 cancer with just 8 weeks to live.

On what basis can I wish myself and everyone else a happy new year? The answer is found in the poem below by an unknown author. I step into the new year full of hope and confidence. I hope that you will too!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Footprints in the Sand

One night I had a dream…

I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord, and
Across the sky flashed scenes from my life. For each scene I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand; One belonged to me, and the other to the Lord. When the last scene of my life flashed before us, I looked back at the footprints in the sand. I noticed that many times along the path of my life, There was only one set of footprints.

I also noticed that it happened at the very lowest
and saddest times in my life
This really bothered me, and I questioned the Lord about it.
“Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you,
You would walk with me all the way;
But I have noticed that during the
most troublesome times in my life,
There is only one set of footprints.
I don’t understand why in times when I
needed you the most, you should leave me.

The Lord replied, “My precious, precious
child. I love you, and I would never,
never leave you during your times of
trial and suffering.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you.

2021 · Anglican · Blogging · Church of England · Clergy Wife · Coronavirus · Death · England · Face Masks · Rural · Vicarage · Winter

31 December 2021

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We have finally come to the end of another year. I never know what to expect when the new year begins. I know that some will say that 2021 has been the same as 2020. I beg to differ.

Yes, Coronavirus is still with us. However with vaccines, rightly or wrongly we have become bolder. Once again, we have begun to focus more on ourselves than others; offers to provide our elderly neighbours with help dwindled and is now non existent. Going on holidays has become a birth right!

Below are some of my own highs and lows of 2021:-

🔶 2 x lady babies who were born this year into the family.

🔶 2 x weddings in the family.

🔶 The Mhinisteir was made an honorary canon of the cathedral.

🔶 2 x funerals in the family including that of my grandmother’s who passed away due to Covid19.

🔶 My father landed in hospital and was not allowed any visitors due to Covid-19.

Happy Hogmanay!

2021 · Anglican · Blogging · Brexit · Church of England · Clergy Wife · Coronavirus · England · John Lewis · Rural · Vicarage · Winter

CHANEL N°5

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On my recent holiday, I treated myself to my first ever bottle of CHANEL N°5 eau de parfum.

Previously, I had always thought of it as an older woman’s perfume and so have tended to give it a wide berth. Thanks to Covid19 and Brexit, I am no longer able to purchase perfume from the small trusted perfumery in France and so I had to find an alternative and that is when I started to look at the famous CHANEL N°5

I am delighted with my purchase and so am going to stick with it.

However, my experience at the CHANEL counter in John Lewis wasn’t as delightful When we arrived at the counter, there were no other customer so we got the undivided attention of the salesperson who looked like as she had seen better days. Sadly, she looked unkempt and her black outfit was covered in dog hair! Unfortunately, her colleague didn’t look any better.

Maybe I was expecting them to look like Coco Chanel🤣 or am still stuck in the past where salespeople were well groomed and going into a departmental store to purchase a bottle of perfume used to be an experience in itself.

2021 · Anglican · Blogging · Church of England · Clergy Wife · England · Face Masks · Faith · God · Parish Church · Parish Life · Parishioners · Rural · Vicarage · Winter

Boxing Day Shock

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I am not sure what the weather is like in your part of the world but for us here in England, it has been very wet and miserable. It was raining on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and as I type this, it is raining again. All I can see out of the big windows in my study are great big puddles of water!

Despite the weather, the Church attendance on boxing day was good and after the service, I stayed behind to chat to a few people whom I don’t usually see. During that time, a couple of ladies approached me and after the usual polite greetings said that they hate people who dress well all the time but that they don’t hate me for which I should be thankful. I was quite shocked but thankful that my face mask hid my shock. I laughed and wished them a Happy New Year and went my way.

I have never had anybody say that to me ever before. 😬 Thankfully this incident is not going to change the way I dress.

2021 · Agatha Raisin · Anglican · Blogging · Christmas · Church of England · Clergy Wife · Coronavirus · England · Faith · God · Parish Church · Parish Life · Parishioners · Rural · Vicarage · Winter

The Vicarage Christmas 2021

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We were late in going to bed on Christmas Eve. Actually, it was already Christmas Day when we went to bed at 2am; I was waiting up for the Mhinisteir to come back from the midnight mass. I always get very nervous when he has to drive in the dark especially during the festive period when half the drivers appear to be less than sober!

The next day, I struggled to get up for the Christmas Day service. Unlike the Mhinisteir, I wasn’t bright eyed and bushy tailed but at least I wasn’t grumpy after a nice warm shower. Just as I was about to enter into Church, a parishioner approached me for a hug. I had to politely decline. He was shocked and I felt bad but I had to act responsibly. I wish that he hadn’t put me in that situation in the first place but ……

While in Church, I realised that it was warmer outside than it was inside for I was frozen. After the service, folk were saying how cold it was in the church but that’s rural churches for you; poor heating and no loo😁. The service was lovely and I got to see the new baby; a young family who are regulars have had a new baby boy. They already have two other boys.

Back home, I struggled to thaw. After a bowl of warming soup, I decided to head to bed with Agatha Raisin and the electric blanket while the Mhinisteir went ahead with his home visits/communions.

A few hours later, I found the Mhinisteir reading next to me in bed! It also meant that it was time for our Christmas dinner which was pan fried turkey breast with rosemary and all the trimmings. I know that the Mhinisteir was exhausted as he also had a few deaths in the parishes in the run up to Christmas so I didn’t insist that he dressed up so we had our Christmas dinner in our old pyjamas which was a first for us!

In case you are wondering, we do have family whom we are very close to but unusually for us, both sets of our families are very busy doing good between the Christmas and New Year period so we don’t usually have a get together during the festive period. It is not something new but has been going on for generations. In fact, almost 50 years, the Mhinisteir’s uncle was returning home after distributing food and presents to the underprivileged when he was tragically killed by an errant driver.

ps: We have yet to open the Christmas presents that came from our parishioners. We hope to put that right this evening and after that I have to start writing thank you cards.