It has only been a month since Christmas but it feels like a distant memory.
The Mhinisteir had a “quiet” period workwise between Christmas and New Year but since the start of the year new problems have been coming out of the woodwork. I say new problems but they are really old ones disguised as ssomething brand new which is what infuriates me. I quite enjoyed the quiet period when I got the “old” Mhinisteir to myself.
There have been a lot of changes on the diocesan front which also makes his work difficult. The turnover has been quite phenomenal. Whenever someone new comes in, they have got a thousand and one ideas which they think will solve ALL the problems. No wonder they say new broom sweeps clean!
There are also other changes happening in the background which I’m afraid is not one for the blog. Maybe I might be able to touch on that some day.
In the meantime, I just have to remain supportive towards all that the Mhinisteir does which I confess is not always easy because I would definitely not be as patient as he is!!!!!
It feels like Christmas this year has just crept up upon us. Christmas in the vicarage is always low key but this year I didn’t even feel the excitement when I bought and wrapped the presents for the Mhinisteir’s colleagues. Gift wrapping is my forte and so I usually enjoy it but this year I was just going through the motion.
How can I in good faith wish everyone a Merry Christmas when the world is in turmoil? Everyday we are bombarded with bad news. Here in the United Kingdom, many are on strike, which have resulted in services being halted while people are struggling with the rising cost of living.
Just like most people I too have worries and have moments of fear when thinking of the future. However, thanks to the baby born in a manger all those many years ago that I have hope. Every Sunday in Church the vicar says Great is the mystery of faith to which we the congregation will respond Christ has died, Christ is risen. Christ will come again and because of this very reason I can wish everyone in all sincerity a MERRY CHRISTMAS.
For the last few weeks the media have had a field day concerning Christianity. “Christianity has become the minority religion in the UK” screamed newspaper headlines. Really? I could feel a sense of glee in the voices of the radio presenters when they went on and on about this specific subject matter!
My understand of Christianity is that the Church will never be in decline because there is the Church Militant and the Church Triumphant. The Church Militant refers to the Christians on earth while the Church Triumphant refers to the Christians who have been translated like the late Queen.
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?
“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!
Well, actually it wasn’t the whole wedding cake but just a wee slice.
This is how the story goes…. This happened when we still lived in Scotland.
One day a tiny white box came through the post. The Mhinisteir and I were intrigued by the smallness of the box. It was the size of two small match boxes put together. The sender managed to squeeze in the Mhinisteir’s name and our address on the front of the box.
The Mhinisteir decided to put me out of my misery and opened the tiny box. Inside the box we found a small piece of wedding cake that had been STUFFED into it but where did it come from? There was no postmark and no note. We asked around and nobody could shed a light. After a few days we gave up until one day a few years later when we met up with some friends. We hadn’t seen each other in years and so had plenty to talk about when the husband a clergy person like the Mhinisteir asked if we got M’s wedding cake???!!!!
M was his parishioner and the Mhinisteir had met M once when he went to conduct a service in her parish church. It doesn’t still explain the wedding cake right? Well this is what happened…. M who was a spinster had confided in the Mhinisteir how she longed to get married to which the Mhinisteir had replied that he would pray!!!!!