Monday, 31 December 2012

Ending the year at the beginning

litter tray training failed at first
I had forgotten the chaos an eight week old puppy can bring to the household. The Collie's daughter - Tess - has been with us for 5 days now and we are exhausted - the Lakeland and the Collie included. As 2012 comes to a close, The Curate and I are slowly packing up the house - ready for our move in just over a month and Tess is very much a part of our new life. 

The Collie is not too impressed with his daughter so far and keeps giving her little growls if she over-steps the mark. This then send her across the room emitting high pitched howls and you would think she had been ferociously attacked. We are learning that she is a drama queen! Tess is learning to give the Collie a wide berth! The old Lakeland seems to give a deep sigh and has no fight left in her - so Tess ends up in her bed sometimes with the Lakeland - sometimes on her own. 

Second Night
Third night
The six pups have all been re-homed now and a sister and two brothers have stayed in this area. Three of them will be meeting at the puppy socialisation classes and in other places. The Curate took the service in the local church this Sunday and discovered that Bessie - a sister of Tess was also attending church in a basket! Her owner was sure that Bessie recognised The Curate's voice and was listening attentively every time he spoke! ( The Curate did puppy sit with me from very early on.) 

Tess cannot go out until she has had all her jabs but she has made her first trip to a very watery moor inside The Curate's jacket! She was very keen to join the other dogs and explore. She will just have to wait for the moment. 

So we end this challenging year by looking forward to pastures new (- which are a lot drier hopefully ! )

May it be a peaceful and very happy New Year.
(with very few noisy fireworks this year please)


Friday, 28 December 2012

Christmas 2012 in pictures that I might have missed.

The spring bulbs' green tips, determinedly pushing their way upwards, through sodden earth and into the grey, rain-laden world.

The chatter of two sons, catching up, making up for their busy lives separating them by time and distance.

The silliness of sticky notes stuck on foreheads, trying to guess the famous name written on them!

Every seat filled around our dining table.

The church memorial plaque, lit by flickering candle light at midnight mass, reminding us of the  abbots that once belonged in this space ;- 
AEfmaer, Lyfing, Ealdred, Sihtric,Wymund, Osbert.....  long forgotten names.

The Lord's Prayer recited as one low reverent voice of 400 worshippers like the abbots chanting vespers in a dimly lit abbey.

The single star standing sentry to the almost full moon throughout the Christmas night.

The clearest, joyful bird songs cutting through the darkness on early Christmas morning.

The single rosebud determined to be there for Christmas Day despite being battered by the heavy rain.

Two sons, kneeling at the altar, not together, but at the altar rail - in two different churches, in two different settings.

The sunlight lighting up the silver, snake like water trails on the sodden moor, as we make our way to the rural church on Christmas morning.

The warm hugs and welcome by familiar members of the small ancient rural church which is freshly decorated with flowers and candles.

The Curate, resplendent in gold stole, standing confidently ready to take the morning service.

My world travelling son receiving communion from his father for the first time.

The laughter and shared double act of The Curate and the church warden at the end of the morning service marking The Curate's last service at this place.

 All Christmas Blessings!

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Christmas Preparations

and not forgetting 7 week old Tess - who joins us the day after Christmas Day

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Christmas garlands and fairground rides

The Curate and I have been visiting lots of the local places of interest - you know the ones that we always say we will visit but never get round to - until we have visitors ....or we know we are moving. We visited Cotehele this morning which is a wonderful Tudor house situated on the River Tamar in Cornwall. Each year at Christmas, the Great Hall is decorated with a sixty foot dried flower garland - made from flowers grown in the grounds. It is a spectacular sight in a spectacular setting.


 The other place we visited was Dingles which has old fairground rides set up in two huge barns. I have to say that we thought the old wooden rides, with their bumpy, clattery motion and fast speeds were more exciting ( and scary!) than we remembered - maybe we are just getting old. We managed to make ourselves feel quite sick . All in all, it was a wonderful distraction from work for The Curate and a lovely day out for me.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Living in the now - again.

 I write this having returned from riding on Dartmoor. It is a gloriously clear crisp day and I am taking every opportunity to seize the day while we are still here. At the moment my life is a tumbling mix of house moving meetings, puppies, house sorting, Christmas preparations and visiting . I wrote about 'living in the now' in my last blog and since then Julie and Nick Palmer (who have been friends since college days) sent me a link to Nick's article about Living with Motor Neurone Disease (click to link). This is an amazingly inspirational, but down to earth, piece of writing in which Nick shares his experiences of MND. It is an excellent insight into having to live in the present.

Julie and Nick have forwarded me a copy but why not read it on the Platform 505 web pages?

If you do only one thing today - make sure you read this article.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Living in the now

Finding a new home is often both a stressful and exciting event for many people. Since we have been married, The Curate and I have owned several houses and lived in married quarters. We have taken on old houses and renovated them and still have a three hundred year old cottage that needs constant attention. But for now, we live in church owned houses. It was one of the hardest things I had to accept when The Curate became a curate. I spent the first part of his curacy living in our old house during the week and commuting back to live with him at the weekends. I had a job that I was not ready to give up and I guess it was a half way stage to letting go of our home. While The Curate is a curate, our house will always be a temporary home because curates are moved on. It was when I heard The Curate say recently, that we would never live in our old cottage again that the penny finally, and most definitely, dropped. I suppose I knew this but, somehow, I don't think I believed it. It has taken a little while to finally let go of our home and begin to work out what we should do with it. It would be good for the village to see another family in it,rather than it be used only occasionally for holidays. As I write, I know I am writing this to convince myself but I do know we are moving on. 

It was a strange feeling to visit the rectory that is to be our new home next year. We did not peruse the estate agents or any other properties as you do when you are house hunting. We did not even view it together.  We cannot make plans to change or adapt it to suit our needs. Back in the days when The Curate was in the Royal Navy, any house being viewed would be freshly decorated in magnolia coloured paint and we would be in and out mustered with tick lists and inventory. This time things are different and the work to be carried out on the rectory has to be decided between us, the parish representatives, the diocesan pastoral committee and the diocesan surveyor. It seems like a lot of people that have to agree before improvements can be made. And improvements do have to be made!
The Curate and I will be travelling back to Dorset to have a meeting with various people to discuss options this week. If there is major work to be done  - now is the time for the diocese to do it - while the house is empty. If it is decorating then we are all prepared to get involved. This will be our third move in four years and it would be good if, this time, we didn't move in with the builders. The time frame seems frighteningly short if we are to be there in February and The Curate licensed in March....and there is Christmas in between......and the prediction of snow this winter! "Have faith Curate's Wife, have faith!" I hear you all saying and I will try!

In the meantime, the puppies have all been found new homes to go to when they are old enough. At only four weeks old yesterday, there are still plenty of worries for Maggie's (the pups mum) owners to deal with and they are a lot of hard work! The pups are slowly being weaned - mealtimes are very entertaining and messy! As all dogs do, they live each moment in the present and do not worry about the future - or the past. Perhaps I should follow their example.
Tomorrow is the first Sunday in Advent and The Curate reminds me that Advent is about waiting for the future but living in the now. Perhaps I had better listen to his sermon tomorrow!

The biggest, the first (and the strangest looking) pup at birth
...has turned into this very handsome pup.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

after the deluge

The Lakeland inspects the foam
Oh the rain...the rain! The water is running off the moor bringing all the Autumn debris with it. The pipes and gutters are blocked and the torrents of water race down the roads tossing gravel and leaves aside. The flood waters are frothed up on the moor and then rush by leaving  foamy footmarks. When the rain stops, the temporary torrents slow to a trickle and gravel trails cover the roads. The south west has seen roads blocked, train lines flooded and farm land waterlogged. Yesterday was a respite day before more of the promised rain over night and tomorrow.
Yesterday The Curate and I made good use of the dry window by riding out on the moor. It was sodden from the recent rain but it didn't stop us appreciating the wide open spaces after being cooped up inside for the last few days. I am really enjoying riding Major The Clydesdale, who is wintering at Tor Royal Stables from Adventure Clydesdale. I can't believe that two years ago I knew nothing about Clydesdale horses or riding on Dartmoor.

The Collie inspects the water rushing under the clapper bridge.
After the excitement of interviews and appointments, there is a realisation that we still have quite a few months to wait and The Curate's work does not stop here. The Curate is getting on with his day to day job as the season of carol services and celebrations is fast approaching. Of course, I am in retirement but I haven't found much time to think about my previous life! My mind is mentally moving furniture around the rooms of a house I have only seen once. So on Monday we are returning to see the house with the knowledge that it will be our future home. 

The Curate and I were shown it separately on the interview day and we had no time to discuss it together. It was interesting to see what he had noticed compared to what I remembered. I had walked round the house on the interview day unable to, or wanting to, comprehend that this house could be our next home. I gave it all a cursory glance, not wanting to pre-empt the interview decision. Now we have to decide on paint colours, we have to meet the diocese property people to discuss updates and improvements - all to be finished by February - as this is when we are supposed to move in. My plans for 'retirement' activities may need to be put on hold. (There is also the added distraction of Tess the new pup, who was 3 weeks old yesterday!)

Tess - 3 weeks old

Sunday, 18 November 2012

It's official!

Tess at 15 days old
The wardens of a very beautiful Benefice in the diocese of Salisbury are pleased to announce (subject to CRB checks) that their new Rector  will be arriving just before Easter.

The benefice we are going to comprises of several rural parishes that work closely together, deep in beautiful Thomas Hardy country.

- And that's as much as we need to say. We are moving to the next door county (eastwards) and to a lovely rural location. We have lived in the counties either side of Dorset. We have explored and holidayed in Dorset when our boys were much younger and we are looking forward to revisiting old haunts.

So much to much to much to much to much to learn!

So long to wait!......The Curate (soon to be Rector) will be licensed in March. 

Tess will join us after Christmas and will be our Dorset Dog

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Naming names

Mum keeps a careful eye on her pup.
This is the pup who will be coming with us to our new parish. She is one of the smallest and has unusual colouring for a collie but both The Curate and I feel drawn to her. Now for the name. Jem, our Lakeland, was named after a character in Jamaica Inn ( I know he was a  man). We had decided that our next dog would be called Jem when we were driving back to West Country after living in Gibraltar.  We had listen to the tapes of Jamica Inn as we drove from South to North Spain. 

Jed The Collie has a very suitable Devon collie name and he was also our Jedi Knight from Star Wars. 

This pup will probably be called Tess - still on the literary theme. Can you guess which area of the UK we are going to next? All will be revealed on Sunday when The Curate's appointment will be officially announced in both parishes ( and here).