Since the start of the FIFA World Cup 2022, The good people of Japan have been in the news for all the right reasons. They have gained a reputation for cleaning up the stadium after every match that they attend even if their national team didnt play. I have always been fascinated by the Japanese and their culture so am not at all surprised by their actions.
This is very different to the Mhinisteir’s experience in church one Sunday. He was displeased with the behaviour of the baptismal party that were present in church that particular Sunday. He said that they continued talking loudly to one another even after the service had started until he had to intervene and remind them that they were in a place of worship. How sad that in the modern world so many are lacking good manners but well done to Japan for reminding us what it means.
The Mhinisteir doesn’t like shortbread! I don’t think I know of anybody else who doesn’t like shortbread. I used to make them in abundance and it was only much later that I realised that he actually doesn’t like them – I ended up giving them away. These days I only make them when I want to give them away as food gifts.
Last Christmas, an elderly parishioner gifted the Mhinisteir with a box of Paterson’s Scottish Shortbread. Needless to say that it has been sitting in the cupboard until two days ago. Another parishioner had given me some cooking apples two Sundays ago and so I decided to make apple crumble with the cooking apples and the shortbread. Surprisingly, the Mhinisteir thought that it was the best apple crumble ever!
The Mhinisteir had a very different day off this week. He stopped work completely and spent the day watching the World Cup football matches. He actually relaxed. This rarely happens. I wish this would be how every day off will be like.
There was someone at the door but he totally ignored them! I couldn’t believe my eyes! EVERYONE knows when his day off is and in case of emergency there are measures in place – I feel that I need to clarify this in case you think that it was very uncaring of the Mhinisteir to ignore whoever was at the door.
We were camping out in the bedroom as that is where the television has been stationed. It is a very good idea because if we hang around downstairs someone is bound to see us through the windows even if we have the curtains shut – they must have a bionic eye!
Sunday was Remembrance Sunday – a day where we remember the war dead. There is usually an act of remembrance at the local war memorial after the Sunday service. There is also an act of remembrance on Armistice day (11th November) in our villages. The Mhinisteir is often very busy on these two days as he has to rush between villages and church services. Every year, I participate in the act of remembrance and every year I have the same question. Where are the younger generation? The images that people see on their television screens and newspapers are very different to what I see in our villages. There is hardly anybody below the age of 60 and every year the number of people attending these acts of remembrance is getting smaller and smaller. It is not that there are no young families or young couples in our villages but we don’t see them at these events. What is going to happen when these older folk pass away?
How would you like it if someone were to park in your driveway without permission? Well, that is what happens at the vicarage regularly especially when there is a funeral. Regular readers will know that we live next to the church which has ample parking but folk prefer to park in our private driveway. It is quite obvious that the driveway belongs to the vicarage and not the church. Maybe they think it is more prestigious!😀
What gets to me is that they never bother to ask before parking. What is so difficult about asking? It is almost always on these days that we either have the cleaner or the supermarket delivery driver who needs access to the driveway. There have been occasions when even the Mhinisteir has had to park long way away because some genius had decided to park in our driveway and block access to our own driveway!
“Miss JV was asking after you and specifically told me to tell you that she had to put down her cat” said the Mhinisteir two Sundays ago. He had just come through the door . I had to miss church that Sunday due to ill health.
I forgot all about Miss JV and her cat until Thursday last week when I decided to give her a wee ring. The phone rang for a very long time. Just as I was about to ring off, a quite hello came on the other side.
It was Miss JV. I told her how sorry I was to hear about her cat. What she said next put the fear of God in me!. She said “I can’t believe you have rang me at precisely this time because it was exactly at this time six weeks ago that I had to put the cat down”. Miss JV was very grateful that I rang to enquire about her well being. She said I was too kind but I see it as my duty as a vicar’s wife to empathise and sympathise.
She also has a pet tortoise that is 52 years old! She was concerned that there will be no one to look after it upon her translation. At that point I almost volunteered to look after it! I am so relieved that I didn’t allow my emotions to get the better of me! The Mhinisteir was even more relieved when I told him about it!
Clergy are entitled to one day off a week and so the Mhinisteir takes a day off during the week. EVERYBODY involved in the churches know when his day off is however most people struggle to respect it. It is the same every week. Quite frankly I don’t think anyone cares about clergy well being, all they want is someone to solve their problem when they want it. One recent day off was memorable because of the turn of events. It wasn’t funny when it happened but now when I think back it is kind of humourous.
We had just down in the Vicarage dining room for our leisurely breakfast when the telephone rang. A mini drama had unfolded in the church office and they were needing the Mhinisteir.
A few hours later, we sat down for our lunch. Would you believe it dear reader when I say the telephone rang again? It did and this time it was one of the church wardens. Nobody was willing to have a look at the pigeons living in the bell tower of one of the churches.
We tend to have our evening meals between 6.00pm and 6.30pm. We were halfway through our dinner when the telephone rang😁. A parishioner had been given days to live and so they needed to get married super fast.
Only the last phone call was a real emergency. The rest could have waited until the following day when the Mhinisteir was back at work but that is the life of a vicar!
“Do you need a pew sheet?” asked the person at the church door. “Yes, please.” I answered. “Oh I thought you would have brought your own.” Brought my own????? I told the person that I don’t have online access to it; collected the pew sheet together with the prayer book, thanked the person and went to my usual pew.
As rural churches our parishioners are not tech savy at all. Some are completely off grid while others struggle and find it all a big nuisance so we still operate in a very “old fashioned” way with pew sheets etc which is perfectly fine with me. Only the person who does the pew sheet has access to it and no one else. With the Mhinisteir being responsible for umpteen churches, I often lose track as to which churches he will be in that particular Sunday. I just go where ever the car goes! I will not be printing pewsheets even if they were all made available online because I won’t know which church I will be in!!!!
The person who asked me that question themselves does not do technology so I don’t know what that was all about.
By the way, the pew sheet is very important because that is where one can find the bible readings for that morning.
There was an interview in the latest Church Times that got me slightly irritated. The interviewee, a former Miss England commented that seeing poverty in China and India was eye opening as she had never seen anything like that.
Poverty has always been with us no matter what part of the world we live in. We can alleviate poverty but I don’t think we can make poverty history. For this reason, I cannot understand why this individual had to go all the way to China and India for that experience when it is daily on our doorstep. It sounded very patronising!
Sometime ago, I remember blogging about a little boy from East London who was frequently missing school. Upon investigation, his teachers discovered that he was missing school because there was only one pair of school shoes in the family which he had to share with his sister which in turn allowed her to go to school on the days that he missed school!!!
Just last week, I was reading about how the poor in Scotland have to live in dirty houses because they can’t afford cleaning products!
In order to see the poor in our own country, we must first open our eyes.
Have you ever tried coating your grapes with sugar? That is exactly what I did recently. Some very kind parishioner had left a bunch of green grapes on the Vicarage doorstep during the time when we were both down with the nasty bug.
The grapes looked and tasted juicy but very sour. I certainly wasn’t going to let them go to waste but there was nothing in the fruit bowl to make a fruit salad. I had to somehow make the Mhinisteir eat his five a day and so decided to coat the grapes in a little sugar! It went down a treat the first day but I couldn’t pull the same trick off the next day!