In the last few months, I have been noticing several emails in my inbox from a certain sender with the following subject heading ” Go on DM, don’t be selfish!” I was a little shocked when I saw it for the first time but now I just ignore these emails.
These emails are from Twitter. I do have a Twitter account which I was forced to set up when we were still living in the Scottish Highlands. We had some serious issues with our British Telecom phone line and because they were not taking our complaint seriously, someone suggested getting in touch with them via Twitter as that would shame them into taking action. It worked! Since then, my Twitter account has remained dormant.
According to the email from Twitter, it is selfish of me not to be wanting to make “new friends”. How dare they?
In our present climate, mental health is a big issue. Emails with irresponsible subject headings such as this actually have the potential of causing harm to a sufferer.
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? 😁
On Sunday, we had pan fried wild Scottish venison haunch for lunch. As I was preparing the meal, I got transported to Scotland as it usually happens!!!
When we lived in Scotland, we ate a lot of venison as it is my favourite red meat. I prefer it to beef; I don’t like lamb as I find the flavour a bit too strong for me.
At least one of our parishioners was a ghillie (one who attends to deer stalking expeditions) which meant that we always had venison in our freezer! In bygone days when I was fighting fit, we used to entertain quite extensively but strangely, I have never ever served venison to any of my dinner guests.
As a host, I always like to ask guests before hand their likes and dislikes together with their dietary requirements and every single time, I was told that they don’t like to eat bambi!!!!
However, they had no trouble with the Scottish Salmon that I served which has made me wonder how is it that they had no trouble eating nemo but not bambi???😂😂😂
Many many years ago, I remember sitting in our cold Scottish manse and reading A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth . It transported me to a country that I had not yet visited; I have since visited India even though it was a very brief trip. I am not sure I enjoyed the book as I don’t remember the story very much. The book wasn’t an easy read; I think it had 19 parts to it! The small print on the paperback copy added to the difficulty.
Since we don’t own a television, we did not get to watch the BBC mini series of the same name when it aired in 2020. However, in the middle of September, I got an email from Britbox informing me that the mini series is now available to us Britbox subscribers!
We have since watched the whole series and have thoroughly enjoyed it. Surprisingly, I found it very relaxing. I also understand the story a little better now.
It is worth watching if you have not already watched it!
The Mhinisteir was covered in dog hair when he came back home yesterday. He had been out visiting a few of his parishioners in their homes. He wasn’t amused for he dislikes both cats and dogs!
At dinner, he told me that he struggled to focus in the house with the dogs for the smell of dogs was so great. According to him, this was even after the dogs had left. Poor him! The things you have to do if you are a Vicar!!!
It reminded me of an incident in the Highlands of Scotland when we both had visited the home of a parishioner. ML was a spinster and her pets meant a great deal to her but her house smelt of dogs. I started throwing up violently the moment I stepped out of the house because the smell of dogs was so offensive.
I know many rural people have pets but we don’t. The Vicarage is both the place of work and home and we are of the view that it will be insensitive to have pets especially if someone coming to the Vicarage has an allergy.
As for me, I am neither a cat nor a dog lover. I don’t mind dogs from a distance but they must be on a lead. At one point, I even contemplated a wee chocolate Labrador for company. That might just have been possible if the Labrador promised to remain wee and more importantly if we had a housekeeper.
As for cats, I don’t understand them. They appear unfriendly and I find them intimidating as they remind me of tigers!
Recently, I received an email notification from Britbox to say that they have now added to their list, Monarch of the Glen, a Scottish drama about a young laird trying to restore his childhood home called the Glenbogle house.
I was elated! The Mhinisteir and I used to watch this as part of our downtime. We enjoyed it so much that we wanted to watch it again. Sadly, my joy was short lived as Britbox have only added the first two series of the drama instead of all the series!!!! What a dampener!
I have since discovered that they have done exactly the same to another Scottish drama called Take the High Road.
Recently, I have discovered a new pastime. I never thought that I would enjoy my new hobby this much but I have surprised myself. For health reasons, I am not able to commit more than half an hour each day and even that it can only be on good days.
I have always enjoyed a tidy garden but have NEVER spent any time tending to it. It is just not my thing(neither the Mhinisteir’s). We have always paid someone to cut the grass and keep it tidy.
In any case, in a place like the Scottish highlands, you would only want to be in the garden if you want to be eaten alive by the midges!!!! For those who are not familiar with midges. You can read about them here. If it is not the midges than it is the weather. We rarely got good weather in the summer.
Until some weeks ago, I had never done weeding in my whole life.
We are having the same problem with our gardener as with our cleaner (same company!). As mentioned before, I like things to look tidy.
Our garden was beginning to look messy and that was when I decided to take matters into my own hands. We tried getting in touch with other gardeners but none was available.
At that time, I only had a pair of secateurs. I have since added a weed fork, rake, lopper and the most recent purchase is a pair of shears. It has taken me a whole month to figure out how the weed fork and rake worked! Being left handed doesn’t aid anything!
Ever since I started doing very gentle tidying up of the garden, I feel wonderful and can’t believe how much I enjoy it. Needless to say that the garden is looking wonderful too. However, I stop at tidying. I have no desire to plant or grow anything.
I still can’t get used to hard water. I miss not drinking water straight out of a tap but I must not complain since I don’t have to walk miles just to collect water!
My skin has suffered a great deal and so when I saw an advertisement for an eco shower head that softens the water, I ordered one after consulting the Mhinisteir. By the way, I don’t have to ask his permission but in our marriage, we always consult one another!
Having never descaled our shower head in Scotland, I am fedup with having to descale our shower head every month.
The new eco shower head arrived yesterday. I was able to fix it without trouble and have also enjoyed a couple of showers since then.
However one thing relating to the eco shower head really annoyed me. The delivery driver who delivered it!!!! I really didn’t know where to look because she was in what I would describe as a skimpy top which revealed her undergarments!
It is ridiculously hot here at the moment so I understand the need to wear suitable summer clothes but I cannot accept lingerie. It is very unfair on us who have to open the door to someone who is not appropriately clothed.
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?