The Mhinisteir and I live in rural England where 99.9% of our parishioners are “Brexiteers”. The wonderful thing about democracy is that we have freedom to choose so we have no problem with “Brexiteers”. Actually, we co-exist very well.
When we first moved here, we started buying a right wing broadsheet newspaper to better understand our parishioners and stuck with it until a month ago. We of course read the Private Eye, FT Weekend and the Sunday Times so that we will have different view points.
However, I gave myself a rude shock when I started dismissing “partygate”. I couldn’t believe that the newspaper was beginning to shape my thinking. I was disappointed with myself. I had a wee chat with the Mhinisteir about it and to my great relief he told me that he had been feeling the same way for a wee while so that is when we decided to cancel our subscription and change our newspaper subscription.
In the latest Private Eye under Eye Classifieds, someone has advertised their services as a professional mourner. I had to read it twice! I think I know what a professional mourner does even though I have not met one before but is there a need for such a person?
I have often heard from the Mhinisteir as to how some bereaved families prefer not to turn up at the funeral service in Church or at the crematorium. The reasons given are usually family feud or simply too busy to turn up!
To hire a professional mourner appears to be just taking it a step too far but maybe there is a perfectly simple reason as to why there is a need to hire one!
In the same Private Eye, under Dumb Britain, I spotted the following:-
Tipping Point, ITV
Ben Shephard: Ciabatta bread originated in which European country?
When we lived in the Scottish highlands and islands (yes, we’ve had our fair share of island life!), power cuts were common; not just in the winter months but also in the summer months. We had to constantly monitor the weather so that we will not be caught out.
The moment the power goes off, we would quickly unplug the digital phone and plug in the analogue phone which was always on standby. The reason for doing this is because as you probably already know, digital phones don’t work without electricity. Mobile phones too are useless if you don’t get a signal which is another common problem in remote places. However, even if you get a signal in your area, the strong winds can knock down the phone mast!
For this reason, I was miffed to read in the Private Eye (issue no. 1562) that in the year 2025, the analogue phone network is due to be switched off and that the phone lines will move to new digital services that will require electricity to operate! According to Ofcom, customers without power should simply dial 999 on their mobile phones! Educated into imbecility? 😁
The latest Private Eye which arrived on Wednesday contains a story about a certain Prime Minister from one of the South Asian countries. I do not wish to name him or his country in case I inadvertently cause a diplomatic row! However, I will drop a few hints. He used to be a famous cricket player and was once married to a Goldsmith (I am here referring to the surname not the occupation!😁)
According to the Private Eye, this PM did not attend the COP26 conference in Glasgow on the advise of his current wife who is a spiritualist; rumour is that she was afraid that he might meet up with his former wife in the UK! The article went on to add that when it came to the governance of his country, the South Asian PM takes instructions from his wife much to the annoyance of his ministers and officials.
Does this not remind you of another Prime Minister nearer home??? 😁
Have you ever used Brillo pads? For the uniniated, Brillo pads are steel wool soap pads. As for those who read the Private Eye, you will know that Andrew Neil of GB news fame is known as Brillo in that magazine!😁
Anyway, coming back to the real Brillo pads, they are used for scouring pots and pans. I have seen them in supermarkets and know what they are but have never used them until last week. My vintage Le Creuset pans were looking tired and needed freshening.
Now that I have used them, I am super impressed with Brillo pads; removing stains from the pan was a doddle and required no elbow grease.
A few days ago, I read about the latest vendetta against the Dean of Christ Church, Oxford in the Private Eye. Oh by the way, he has been proven innocent once again! One of my bible readings for that day was from 1 Corinthians Chaper 6 which is entitled in the New International Version as Lawsuits against Believers!
I am so shocked by the determination of these persecutors. It appears that they would do anything and everything to try and pin this poor man down. What is very disappointing is that some among the persecutors are folk from the Church of England.
As I had mentioned in my previous blogpost, I don’t know this man personally and I am not even sure that I will agree with him on many things but to persecute him like this is very unchristian so says the heathen and they are right!!
One of the advantages of not having a television is that one gets more time to do other things, in my case it is to read.
Here in the Vicarage, we get the Daily Telegraph, Financial Times, Church Times, Sunday Times, Private Eye and Le Monde Diplomatique. The one most common theme in these newspapers/magazines is burnout particularly here in the United Kingdom.
The lockdown especially the first one brought some relief to some but the problem that is burnout is raising its head again. Working from home during the pandemic has exacerbated things for most people. There are no boundaries. Bosses expect their employees to be at their beck and call at ALL times since they are working from home. Recently when the Mhinisteir was visiting a bank, the teller told him that because they have done away with call centres in India, she has to do the job of a call centre worker on top of her usual duties!
We no longer have rest days like the olden days when Sunday was a day of rest. They still do in certain parts of Scotland especially the Highlands and in some countries that I have visited like Germany and France where shops are shut. Did you know that even shops like Tesco, Boots etc close on Sundays in certain parts of Scotland?? I for one firmly believe that we need to reclaim our day of rest. Sunday trading laws have been most unhelpful.
I am not at all suggesting that we all start going to church. As a Christian, It will be great if we did but I also believe that God gives us the freedom to choose our way of life.
By the way, if you plan to go to church on a Sunday, I would personally recommend a BCP service! It will be a great start to your Sunday!
I am not even suggesting that we shouldn’t watch television, wash our dishes etc like some strict Sabbatarians do. All I am suggesting is that we try and do things that we don’t do the other six days of the week. Make Sundays special like meeting up with family, cooking a nice Sunday lunch, going for walks or just catching up on sleep/reading. Initially it will be a bit strange but maybe not too strange because that is what we were doing during our first lockdown! Once you have reclaimed your day of rest, you would not want to look back again.
Could this be the answer to the problem that is burnout?
I learnt from the Mhinisteir that all clergy are required to enter their information into the online database. Among the questions asked is one to define their religion with a dropbox offering options including Jewish, Sikh, Hindu, Christian (Anglican), Christian etc. Is it foolish of me to assume that all Church of England clergy are Anglicans????
If you would like more juicy details, please read page 21 of the latest Private Eye!!!!
I am saddened that the government is refusing to carry on with Free School meals during the holidays. It makes me furious when I read in the Squalid little rag aka Private Eye that the government is wasting millions on other things while also lining the pockets of its friends!!!
Two Sundays ago, The lectionary reading and sermon were from Matthew Chapter 22 about paying taxes to Caesar. For this reason, I will restrain myself from further criticising the government.
Anyway, back to the hungry children. I’ve decided that on our part, we will increase our monthly foodbank contribution. At the beginning of each month, when I do our grocery shopping, I add a certain amount worth of food and toiletries to our shopping intended specifically for the food bank. At the same time, I remove the same amount worth of our personal shopping from the list. I find it a useful exercise because it must cost me something!
The food bank is such a worthy cause and I hope that more people will contribute towards it and that in a small way, we can prevent adults and children from going to bed hungry.