Saturday, 30 June 2012

Look after your Curate

As the Curate and I reach the end of his curacy (subject to finding a post), my thoughts turn to all those who are just about to start year 1 of their curacy, having been ordained at Petertide. They will be turning up in your parishes with or without families, feeling slightly shell shocked I expect. For those who have not been trained at college, the move to a 'public' house will be quite a transition. Spare a thought for the families and make them welcome. 

The Curate and I have experienced being left to settle in on our own on two occasions. This was well meant as official duties did not begin until September for us. The thought was that we did not need to be disturbed by well wishes....But we did need to be! We were in a new and unfamiliar place and we really wanted someone to scoop us up and tell us when the bins went out, what all the different recycling bags were for and where to go for shopping - and any other local knowledge we might need to be privy to.

We moved into a house outside the actual parish, in the July and had two months of feeling very lonely. We wondered why our new church were not curious to get to know us - even when we were in the church. It was some months later when we found out that they had been told to give us space to settle in! And the lovely people did that very well! Please don't leave your Curate out in the cold - they can always say they are busy or 'no thank you' but I expect they might appreciate a little love. It was our caring neighbour who came to our rescue - who had not heard the message to keep clear!

We had a similar experience in our second curacy and we muddled through, trying to glean local knowledge as we went along. This recently came up in conversation and it seemed that everyone thought someone else was helping with the 'settling in'! The Curate and I are tough old boots and we have learned a lot from this experience. Should he ever be fortunate to have a curate in his parish, they will probably be writing blogs about the 'old busybody who never leaves them alone'. In reality I hope not but they might appreciate a tin of flapjacks.

You perhaps can guess from these thoughts that The Curate has met The Big Bishop for his final grilling interview and he came out smiling (The Curate I mean - I don't know about The Bishop).  So our thoughts can turn (after the summer - he has weddings booked) more positively to 'where next'?  Exciting times!  

Saturday, 23 June 2012

End of term fast approaching.

My reports are written and reports on The Curate have been filed and his portfolio passed. We are supposed to carry on as normal - and not have any thoughts about the future. The Curate has his meeting with the Bishop to look forward to. I have the last couple of weeks to survive before our summer holiday. Despite the outward appearance of normality - It seems like life is  on hold. Will The Curate be given permission to look for his next job or will he be told to wait and stay put for 6 months....12 months? Will I need to be handing in my notice or will we stay in our present area? Limbo! At the moment it feels like the stillness before a storm. I am holding my breath, trying not to over react, because what I want is not part of the equation. Nobody will ask me...and perhaps that's a good thing, because I seem to change my mind constantly.

How my life has changed. If anyone had told me I would be spending a Saturday afternoon in a strange church, watching the wedding of two complete strangers, I would have told them not to be so daft! But that's what I did a couple of weeks ago so that The Curate could watch and learn. He is now fully wedding trained and has successfully completed the first of several weddings he is due to take this summer. All boxes ticked!

A year ago, the garden of this Curate's house was a real  problem to me - nothing would grow under the shady oak and sycamore trees.The constant rain, the acid soil and the shade were  new problems to me and I struggled with them all. As a gardener, I wondered why we had ended up in such a place. A garden is my sanctuary (that and the bath!) - it's where I escape to - and, with the time frame we had, there seemed no hope for the garden we had been given

Now, The Curate and I laugh at the antics of the squirrels and delight in the birds that visit the garden. We see jays, greenfinches, yellow hammers, black caps, magpies, wrens, robins, blue tits  and upside down nut hatches hanging on the bird feeders. Yesterday we had five great spotted woodpeckers in the garden - a rare sight.

We have left some of the garden wild and managed to tame other parts of it. At the moment we have a mix of wild and garden flowers in the beds. I decided to see just what would grow with very little attention from me!  So we have foxgloves and vetch with roses and marigolds. The strawberries have spread over the flower beds and are intermingled with nasturtiums and they seem to be covered in fruit. I wonder whether the family of mice in the compost heap, the birds or ourselves will find the first ripe strawberry . (Not forgetting the slugs and snails who appear to move like grease lightening during the night!) 
 Our move, half way through The Curate's curacy, has meant that I have a clearer idea of what it is like to live with a vicar who frequently works from home. It has helped prepare me for the future. It has probably made me more adaptable but it has also given me a clearer view of myself and the sort of church that I seem more suited to. I still don't think that I am cut out to be a vicar's wife but I have discovered that, maybe, Somebody else might just think I can do it. And with God's grace, I think I might just stick with it!

Friday, 15 June 2012

Silence required - report writing!

Blogging has been on the back burner for a while as all my creative writing skills have been channelled into  writing reports. Finding encouraging (but useful) comments about so many individual children can cause melt down of my brain cells.

 As learning support is my only subject- the vocabulary becomes even more limited.  It would be good to send the parents a Wordle or Word Cloud made from an amalgamation of all my reports. They could interpret them as they liked!

Normal blogging will return soon!

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Diamond Jubilee

The UK is celebrating the sixty year reign of Queen Elizabeth II. Houses are decorated with bunting and flags. People are wearing red, white and blue. Youngest son and NQT are in London as they were lucky enough to have tickets for the concert at Buckingham palace. We like the opportunity to show a little patriotism and have a good party! Two excellent days of celebrations culminated with the lighting of beacons all over the country. The Curate and I climbed to the high point on the common land to watch the lighting of our local beacon. Once lit, we looked across to the moor to search for other beacons. Every now and then the darkness was pierced by car headlights - but then we saw two beacons - two of the 4150 being lit around the country tonight. In the darkness, we thought about the past, when beacons were lit to celebrate, to warn and to send news around the country. The Curate and I can remember beacons being lit for the Millennium and the Queen's  Silver and Golden jubilee. I wonder when they will next be lit - and I wonder where we will be.

Friday, 1 June 2012

My First Cuckoo

The call of the cuckoo echoed across the valley this morning as we walked the dogs on a different part of the countryside near to our house. I would never have found this area on my own as it is just off the edge of our moor map - but I was shown it by a teaching colleague when we spent a very happy day with children from my school. The Curate and I returned again this morning to have the whole area to ourselves - except for the wildlife. 

There is something beautiful about the sound of a cuckoo that makes you stop and listen, willing it to call again. Personally, I think that is the only beautiful thing about a cuckoo- as it is such a self centred bird.  When it has decided to intrude on another bird's nest, it pushes the other eggs out so it can lay its own egg. Even knowing this, hearing the first call of the year, is still special.

We walked down to the rivers through the flowering hawthorns. We were just in time to see a heron take off and lazily flap its way up stream. Being there so early and completely alone, was a very magical experience. 

This is yet another stunning spot that we are able to enjoy and I am very grateful to my colleague for introducing it to me.

It will be very difficult to move away from such beautiful surroundings......if that's what The Curate is asked to do.