My ambitious Bible reading plan for 2014 has hit a few bumps in the road. Tiredness, idleness, busyness & illness have all played a part. But I’m persevering. Today I managed a full ten chapters in a single bite for the first time in a couple of weeks. And then I noticed that the ends of the ribbon bookmark I made for myself had started to fray at the ends. Rather like me really.
So I applied some Copydex. A spot of glue can stop everything unravelling. A bit like sticking with the Bible reading.
Glued ribbons. A happy solution.
Posted in Church | Tagged Bible, bookmark, Copydex, Craft, devotions, glue, reading | 3 Comments »
Just what a tired Vicarage needs on a Monday morning. Early morning workmen arriving before we’ve properly begun the day. But we are very pleased. Because it’s window men. And they have come with several enormous double glazed units to finish off the double glazing that has taken three contracts and about four years to actually arrive.
So it’s a bit nippy in the Vicarage today as great gaping holes are being created as windows are removed. But by this weekend it will be a lot warmer. We are very thankful.
Posted in Church | Tagged Church of England, clergy, Cold, double glazing, Heating, house, Housing, parsonage, tied accommodation, Vicarage, windows, work | 1 Comment »
I went to be interviewed by Paul Hammond of UCB radio last week. I drove up the M6 to Stoke and spent a great couple of hours having lunch with his lovely producer and then talking in a studio with Paul about something I seem to know a bit about – mess. It was good to chat around the subject of mess and the Christian and how messy homes and families can be used for God’s glory. And thankfully it didn’t feel like I was in the Mastermind chair at all. Much more like chatting with a friend over some of the topics I covered in my book. I started by reading out my dad’s poem from the start of The Ministry of a Messy House, which finishes:
So, come and talk, some tea and cakes,
To love one’s neighbour messy makes,
There’s just no time to tidy up,
We always need another cup,
For family, friends, and cruel distress
Come first, and so, you see,
(from Messiness by John Turtle)
My dad used to work for the BBC and had his own programme on the World Service before he retired. I was very pleased to be able to recite his poem on the radio to continue his broadcasting career after a fashion. Hopefully the interview itself wasn’t too messy and I didn’t say ‘um’ too often. At least they’ve decided to broadcast it – in fact it will be going out on the radio this coming week. If you like you can listen online or on your DAB radio or on Sky Channel 0125, Virgin Media 914 or their iPhone app.
I was recorded for a segment of Paul’s daily show which covers current affairs and topical discussion. There are four ten minute segments which will go out on his show. I think that means they’ll be on from Monday to Thursday. The show airs from 9am-12noon, and there is a Saturday omnibus of the whole interview called Life Issues which goes out at 9.15pm next Saturday evening. The shows stay available on the website for a week after transmission.
Posted in Church | Tagged app, BBC, broadcast, DAB, iPhone, John Turtle, Life Issues, Messiness, Paul Hammond, poem, radio, Sky Channel 0125, The Ministry of a Messy House, The Vicar's Wife, UCB, UCB Media, UCB UK, Virgin Media 914 | Leave a Comment »
Apologies. We have had the lurgies. And hence the exciting 2014 regular posting phenomenon has gone a bit down the tubes, after lasting for all of about a fortnight. The Queen got sick and then kindly shared her bug with three of the four grown-ups in the house. BytheSea had the Daddy Bear version, involving treatment with antibiotics, I have had a Mummy Bear attack which has merely confined me to bed for four days, and the Vicar has had the Baby Bear lurgies and has felt terrible but still managed to lead a massive funeral and attend a 2 1/2 hr school governors meeting midweek plus all his normal vicaring duties.
Anyway, I’m pleased to report that we’re on the mend and I’m able to have a small blogging catch-up.
FIRST: The winner of the caption competition – randomly generated as I found it too hard to choose – is Shaun. Please email me at thevicarswifey [at] gmail [dot] com to claim your prize of an e-book of The Ministry of a Messy House.
SECOND: Book news: The Vicar reviewed my book (I’m relieved to say that he liked it) – and Claire Musters posted her review on Christian Today (she seemed to understand the writing process in the Vicarage perfectly).
THIRD: Ace apps – I’ve been meaning to mention a couple of excellent free apps – the Bible App for Kids and PrayerMate for iPad/iPhone and Android (free until the end of March courtesy of London City Mission). My kids are a little on the big side for the Bible App but they have enjoyed noodling about with it. It looks like a fun way to get kids familiar with bible stories. Recommended for ages 3-8. And PrayerMate is a truly excellent way to order all your regular intercessions. Over the years I have used various versions of prayer lists and abandoned/lost them pretty regularly. PrayerMate is a superb app which enables me to keep my list fresh and has some whizzy features like alarms and prayer diaries from mission societies (all in iOS, some still to come in Android).
FOURTH: I have come across a couple of interesting programmes on Alba – the Gaelic language BBC service which we can get on iPlayer. There’s a gentle series about ministers’ wives in Scotland (Bean a’ Mhinisteir) and tonight we’re going to watch Reaching Out with Hope (Na Soisgeulaich) which is about three evangelical churches in Scotland reaching out to their communities, including Niddrie Community Church, led by Mez McConnell of 20Schemes. Two of our children have Gaelic names, but that’s the extent of my knowledge, but it’s okay – the programmes are subtitled in English.
Posted in Church | Tagged 20Schemes, Alba, android, apps, BBC, Bean a' Mhinisteir, caption competition, Christian Today, Christianity, Church, Claire Musters, evangelical, faith, iOS, iPad, iPhone, iPlayer, Mez McConnell, minister, Ministers wives, Na Soisgeulaich, PrayerMate, Scotland, the Bible, The Ministry of a Messy House, wife, winner | 2 Comments »
When the Vicar and I lived in Singapore, we had a lovely neighbour who was from Mumbai/Bombay. We celebrated the Millenium on her roof and shared recipes. And the Vicarage cat came to us through her feline loving contacts. Nomi also taught me to cook dhal. Spiced lentils is a staple of Indian cuisine, and there are heaps of different recipes. When I cooked this recipe for our Tamil church friends, though, they pleasingly said that it was ‘restauarant dhal’.
- 3 cups of toor lentils (not the oily ones) – these are yellow pigeon peas and can usually be found in specialist Asian grocers (or Tescos in our tow-un). If you can’t find them yellow split peas or red lentils would work as well.
- pinch asafoetida (if you can find it, otherwise not a biggy – it’s meant to decrease the wind quotient of the lentils, but doesn’t really affect the taste)
- vegetable oil
- 1 tbspn black or brown mustard seeds
- 1 tbspn cumin seeds
- 1/2 cup of curry leaves - dried or fresh if you can find them
- 2-3 cloves garlic, chopped finely
- 1-2 green chillies, chopped fine OR 1 tspn chilli powder OR 1 tspn crushed dried red chillies (use a smaller amount the first time you make this & increase next time if you’d like your dhal spicier)
- 1 tspn turmeric powder
Cook your lentils in water according to instructions. I use a pressure cooker so I can cook them in about 15 minutes (plus all the time taken for the pressure cooker to calm down so I can open it without scalding my nose). When the lentils are cooked, you can add your asafoetida to make them less fartful. Then heat a good slosh of oil in the bottom of a frying pan. This oil will be flavoured and added to your lentils, so don’t skimp or you won’t be able to distribute the spiciness too well. I cover the bottom of my pan in oil – about 4-5 tbspns I guess. Heat the oil and then pop in the mustard seeds, cumin seeds and curry leaves. Once the leaves start to discolour and the mustard seeds start to get lively, add the garlic, chillies and turmeric. Once the garlic has cooked and taken on some colour, add the spiced oil to the lentils. And stir and serve. This is brilliant with rice, naan, chappatis or pitta. And freezes really well. Great for lunch or supper with another curry.
The spiced oil
And a pot of dhal
Posted in Food | Tagged chillies, cooking, cumin seeds, curry, dal, dall, dhal, eating, Food, garlic, Indian food, mustard seeds, pigeon peas, recipe, spices, toor, turmeric | 1 Comment »
Last night The Church Mouse posted this scintillating church marketing leaflet on Twitter. I imagine that it’s actually pretty tricky to come up with a good picture to illustrate a deanery synod recruitment brochure, so I do understand that this may have been the best of the options available. However, it does lend itself to some alternative captions. So for this weekend only I offer you a caption competition. And as I seem to have a spare e-book code for The Ministry of a Messy House, there will even be a prize. So join the fun – how would you caption this picture and recruit for deanery synod?
Posted in Church | Tagged caption competition, Church, church marketing, Church of England, CofE, competition, deanery synod, Fun, humour, people, photograph, The Ministry of a Messy House | 10 Comments »
Oh dear. The sump pump the Vicar thought he’d got working last night didn’t do the business. When he went into the basement to check this morning he found that the water was at the same depth. As he’s off on the diocesan clergy conference for a couple of days, a church member is going to look into what needs to be done. But the Vicar wanted the water to be out so the church member could quickly get on with the work. And he was worried about the boilers that are in the basement. Thankfully, the Vicar had a brainwave and dug out the pump that we normally use to empty the portable baptistry.
A bit of Heath Robinsoning later and the Vicar and BytheSea had popped the pump in the sump and the delivery hose into the churchyard. The Vicar then left for his conference and BytheSea has been cementing his ministry training by popping out regularly to ensure that the water isn’t running back down the basement steps.
This was the sight that greeted me as I went down to the school to help with Christian Club. And BytheSea has now reported that most of the water has gone. For now.
Unexpected churchyard water feature
Posted in Church | Tagged basement, boilers, broken, buildings, Church, Church of England, Churchyard, CofE, flooding, pump, vicar, Victorian, water | Leave a Comment »