Saturday, 26 May 2012

Home from abroad.

We are thrilled to have eldest son and Oz home for a while- they have brought the sunshine with them. England looks amazing at the moment with all the wild flowers. This is surely the best month of the year and we tell Oz it is always like this!
We have been in this parish for over a year now and The Curate is learning about protocol, parishes and politics - a challenge at the best of times. I am writing reports and planning our escape for a summer holiday so Blogging is on the back burner at the moment. We have had some great walks on the moor - searching for the most recently discovered stone cross -  and the foals are so adorable ( and prolific) at the moment.
The view from the King wall, Dartmoor

Saturday, 19 May 2012

It's Gone!

The foot stomping has ceased!  There is a lightness in the air in The Curate's house!  The weighty slab of a portfolio (completed three weeks early) has left the building.  It was removed by The Curate's Director of Ministerial Education when he called by yesterday.  It contains the evidence of three years curacy - including reflections, letters of thanks, orders of service, minutes of fact, probably everything except The Curate himself!

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr - Footstamping!

Words fail me.....I said in the last post I have no patience - now I am sure!!!

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Top Tor for Tom and Ten Tors on the moor

The buzzard stops to survey the surroundings
A skylark taking to the skies
The Curate and I have climbed to our favourite spot on the moor to clear our heads of parish business and think about our family. The cloudless blue skies and warm sunshine are so welcome and we stop and relax and count our blessings. Suddenly a shadow sweeps across us and we look up to see a buzzard swooping and soaring above us, calling to an unseen mate. We are high up and can see for miles and miles  - but the buzzard sees so much more. We stop and watch it for a while before continuing our walk. We keep the dogs close as it is the breeding seasons for ground-nesting sky larks. Despite our care, the skylarks suddenly rise up out of the rough ground, their song piercing and shrill in the moorland silence. 'Look at me!' they are singing in an effort to distract us from their nesting spots.
What a weekend - beginning with a great trip to the North Coast on Friday followed by two more days of glorious weather ( I hope this is not our summer). It was the annual Ten Tors challenge for young people - in teams of six, they are set the challenge of walking 35,45 or 55 miles and climbing ten tors on the way and camping over night. Both my sons completed all three challenges while they were at school and, as a result developed an understanding and love of the moor which I hope will stay with them. This year 2400 young people set off at 7.00 am on Saturday morning - unusually they have had clear blue skies for both days. Considering we have had torrential rain for most of April, the weather was a fantastic bonus for them.

We used to race up to watch our sons start and finish their challenges - and take a birthday cake for our eldest son whose birthday was often celebrated on the same weekend as the Challenge.  This year my son is in Dubai celebrating energetically. He tells us he has been parachuting and rock climbing today. He is on his way back to the UK and we hope to see him after next weekend.
windswept at the top

The Collie, Curate and I celebrated Tom's birthday by walking to the top of Top Tor after church - along with the everyone else in Devon (or so it seemed ). Sunday is always busy on the moor and attracts large numbers of visitors. As we sat at the top we remembered all the happy birthdays we have celebrated together. We have been fortunate to be able to travel and live abroad as a family. Our sons are now forging their own routes in the world but they are usually good at keeping in touch with us. The Curate and I have our own route to travel at the moment. I just wish I was as patient as The Curate.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Catching up on the North Coast

The Curate catching up with our good friend and old neighbour - Jenny
It is almost a year since The Curate and I moved from the North Coast parish to our present parish on the edge of the moor. This was so that we could live together in the same house and I could carry on with my work rather than commuting  to the North Coast each weekend. The hardest part of a curacy for a curate's wife is the fact that any curate is always passing through and not settling. And, of course, we made it more difficult for ourselves by moving after two years of The Curate's curacy. On the North Coast we were looked after by a very good shepherd - our neighbour - who kept an eye on The Curate when I was away and who was probably the only person who witnessed how challenged I felt by the whole process of The Curate's ordination. She knows how far I have travelled since those early days.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Retreating to Exmoor

After a frantic few weeks, The Curate was beginning to show signs of wear and tear! To be fair he was not well and very tired so it was time for me to take action and to find somewhere for some R and R away from the maddening crowd. As The Curate becomes more recognised in the parish, the harder it becomes to stay put and take his day off - especially if he is going to walk the dogs. I lost him last Friday when I went to take the Lakeland home and he walked on with the Collie to collect the newspaper. At the speed the Lakeland walks these days - we should have arrived home at the same time. After half an hour of being home alone, I decided I had better go and find him. He had been in conversation with three different people and, without his Rottweiler wife beside him, he found it difficult to end the conversations to get home to his breakfast. Time to escape! 
So we have just returned from three days in a sweet little Exmoor cottage - with no internet, no phone signal, no central heating ( just being installed), no microwave and no neighbours! The UK was  just recovering from the wettest April in a hundred years and Liscombe on Exmoor had seen the most rainfall of all with 273.8 mm of rain compared with its 86.4 mm average. So I rented us a cottage five miles from this wet spot!! ( As if we don't have enough rain where we live!)  Our adventures started with The Curate's navigation as he decided we should travel the straightest route from our house on Dartmoor to our cottage on Exmoor. On a map this seems possible but in reality it involved lots of small roads with grass growing up the centre and no passing places if you should meet the returning rural school buses (as we did). Eventually we did reach our destination - a little later than we expected.
We had been warned that the ford on one of the roads to the cottage was flowing too fast to cross but fortunately we could take the other road in. Once we had unloaded the car, lit the log burner and put supper in the oven, we took the dogs to look at the river. The ancient foot bridge was still passable but not the road. On returning to the cottage we realised that we had locked ourselves out!! With windows that were sealed shut with paint and a new yale lock on the solid wooden door - there was no way in. The car keys and contact numbers were inside the cottage - and through the tiny kitchen window we could see our supper slowly blackening! Thank goodness for mobile phones and the sensible Curate keeping his in his pocket (unlike me). By walking up out of the valley, he was able to contact the owner who said he would be half an hour - too late for our supper! (We felt like a right pair of plonkers!) But we had plenty of other tasty bits and pieces and it was very easy to settle down to a cosy evening by the log burner. Although we were reminded of the benefits of modem day central heating (- there being none here) whenever we went to use the bathroom. We were very grateful for the thick quilts on the bed and dressed in front of the logburner.
The  walking was great but the evidence of the heavy rain was everywhere. The paths were running with water and resembled streams in places rather than paths. As the area was forested, trees had been blown over and washed down the river or washed up against the bridges causing some of the more fragile structures to wash away. 
Some collies wont be told!

The Curate and I loved living in an old cottage again and the dogs liked having an open fire again. The Curate is looking fitter and I feel refreshed enough to carry on with the last leg of the Curate's curacy.