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Posts Tagged ‘Black Country’

Last week I found out that our local YMCA branch are auctioning some pretty cool stuff. There’s a whole bunch of activities and items being auctioned in a very good cause – their Open Door project which arranges supported lodgings for homeless teenagers. You can bid for

There is also a charity ball this Saturday night at The Hawthorns (the West Brom football ground) to celebrate 5 years of Open Door, and to raise money for this brilliant scheme. There are still a few tickets left for a great night out to support Open Door. The Vicar and I have been invited too and will be there. It’s our first night out like this in I can’t remember how long. I shall have to do a serious shoe audit this week to check if I have anything that I can actually dance in. Maybe see you there?

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We renewed our membership of Dudley Zoo in the last week of the holidays. Visiting the animals and the castle is a favourite family outing and membership enables us to grab a quick hour as well as going for longer expeditions. As usual, the Queen took the opportunity to grill the chatty and knowledgeable keepers on animal facts. This time, Kellie, who looks after the birds of prey, told us all about peregrine falcons. We found out that it is the fastest creature on the planet when diving to catch prey – speedier than a cheetah. Bet you didn’t know that either.

And when we climbed to the top of the castle keep, we were reminded of how beautiful our area can be, despite the industry and the urbanisation:

Zoo 2 Zoo 1

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No, this isn’t a review of the new movie, released in the UK today. The film has had a pretty mixed reaction and took a good while to reach this country after its US release. So I reckon you’re far better off just watching the Joker reciting the whole of the book, with dramatic actions (I particularly like ‘rolled their terrible eyes’) and a wavering Black Country accent. Some of you may have seen this before (all good bloggers recycle material, don’t they?).

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Our local paper has just published a piece about the arrival of Happy, our new ministry trainee. I love the line where the Vicar is described as ‘unlike anyone I’ve ever met’.

As the Express and Star have commented, the diocese is struggling to find clergy for vacant posts. We are praying that God would guide Happy as he explores full time ministry. And we are praying that more folk would come and join us in reaching the lovely people of the Black Country with the good news of Jesus.

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Happy is our new lodger. He’s also the Vicar’s new apprentice (aka the ministry trainee). Yesterday he went to a training event about our area. It was laid on by diocesan missioners with input from speakers from the local council and other taxpayer funded bodies.

We live in Sandwell, one of the most deprived boroughs in the country. Happy came back with lots of bumf and today I thought I’d just share a few choice statistics on our area:

  • 8% of people in our borough are on Jobseekers Allowance – twice the national average.
  • House prices round here are below the national average by 35%.
  • There is not a single bookshop in the borough (though this does not include the W H Smith in our high street – I guess they mean independent booksellers or Waterstones and the like).
  • There is no cinema in the borough.
  • Most of the famous people from the area appear to be comedians (although the folk at the session kept on talking about Bishop Asbury, who neither Happy nor we had heard of before, but Wikipedia has enlightened me).
This place needs Jesus

Where we are

Happy came back with a lovely poster with photos of all the local councillors, including the three who represent the ward we live in. Sadly, when I contacted them by email more than a fortnight ago to ask about an issue that has been bugging me for a while, I received no acknowledgement and no reply. And not a single councillor showed up to a controversial meeting about a new local housing development last night. So I don’t think I’ll be putting the poster up any time soon.

But if you would like to start a business with an eager workforce, or commute to Birmingham City Centre in 15 minutes, you like to laugh a lot, you’re happy to use a library or The Book Depository for reading matter, you don’t mind watching your films on dvd a little after release, you want to buy a cheap house and get involved a local church which wants to make a difference, this is the place to be.

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Let the wild rumpus begin!

Let the wild rumpus begin!

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak is one of our favourite books to read at bedtime in the Vicarage. My mum read it to me when I was young and our children enjoy it just as much as I did. Recently the Joker came home from school and recited the whole story off by heart, complete with actions.

We thought it was wonderful, and thought you might enjoy it too. I especially love the way his accent wavers between London and the Black Country.

Of course, there are no wild things or rumpuses in the Vicarage. Ever. Honest.

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I have a terrible confession to make (shhhhh): I prayed that God would not send me and the Vicar to work in a church in Birmingham.

When he was still training, the Vicar had suggested that Birmingham would be a good place to go and work – lots of multi-cultural areas, close to many athletics meets (the Vicar was helping out with some ministry for Christians in Sport at the time) and well located between our families in London and Scotland.

But I knew better. We didn’t want our kids growing up with those nasal Birmingham accents. So the Lord was kind to us and sent us to the Black Country instead.

We love it here – it’s multicultural, close to athletics meets, well located between our families and people are friendly and wonderful. But today the Engineer said:

See the whistle I got from the boo-kit*.

The accents are here to stay. And I’m glad to be here. Who’d have thought it?

*The boo-kit is full of small plastic toys that the nursery children can choose as a prize for getting lots of ‘good tidying up’ and ‘good listening’ stickers at school.

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Moving

The Curate is going to become a vicar very soon (10th March is his official start date, since you ask).

This means that we are moving house next week. We’re making the shift at half term to enable the kids to transfer to their new schools without too much of a break. Nanna is kindly taking them to stay with her and Grandpa for most of the week to make things easier at this end. Moving house

So we’re having an odd sort of week. Lots of ‘lasts’ as we say goodbye to friends and parishioners. As I write this the Curate is off visiting some housebound folk to bid farewell.

And I am still feeling like it’s not really happening. We’re moving just eight miles away, only twenty minutes away in the car. But it will be very different.

The Curate is going to be the Vicar. He will have to worry about the drains as well as his sermons. He’ll be responsible for the congregation – the buck will stop with him.

The children will be moving to a new school where they will finish their primary education and growing up with the folk they meet there. Their Black Country accents will be strengthened.

And I need to find my feet, my real-life ‘vicar’s wife’ role. How can I best support my husband as he seeks to tell our parish about how the cross of Jesus is good news? I don’t have a job description and will be making it up as I go along, blagging, as the Curate puts it.

But I am a bit of a blagger, so I should be all right. On everything apart from flower arranging I think.

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