Posted in vicar, Vicarage, tagged busy, clergy, forgotten, half term, holiday, packing, packing list, vicar, Vicarage on 30 October, 2009|
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Vicarage life was particularly fulltime before half term – one of those frantic seasons that hit you from time to time in ministry. The Vicar was out of the house more than in and even his days off seemed to include aspects of work.
So it was with a great sense of relief that we began our half term holiday with a wedding, followed by a stay with friends – another clergy family who have recently moved to Essex.
When the Vicar family go away I usually write a list of essential activities to be completed and items to be packed before departure. The failure to do this was my first mistake.
A few miles from home I realised that we’d forgotten sleeping bags for the children. These were needed for our stay with our friends. From the wedding reception we called the EssexRectors and they said they could easily find other bedding. Phew.
One lovely wedding and reception later we headed off to Essex, still in our wedding finery, arriving in time for a late dinner. The Vicar unpacked the bags. ‘But where’s your stuff, Vicar’s Wife?’
Then it dawned on me. The pink bag, with all my favourite clothes packed for holiday, was still on our bed at home. Crippled by my wedding shoes I’d come downstairs with only a few lighter items, meaning to ask the Vicar to fetch my bag…
Mrs EssexRector very kindly took me to a localish Tescos for a forage for emergency knickers, socks, jeans and top. I needed something to wear other than my smart but not exactly comfy wedding outfit.
It was only the next day that we realised that the Vicar too had forgotten his socks, and the Joker (having packed his own bag without supervision) had come away with trousers and t-shirts but no underwear. We spent more time shopping this holiday than we were intending.
Don’t let me pack for holiday without a list ever ever ever again.
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Posted in Church, Vicar's wife job description, tagged bereavement, Children, CRB forms, drug dealers, Express and Star, Harvest festival, Kids, parish, Vicar's wife, Vicar's wife job description on 20 October, 2009|
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It’s been another interesting day here in the parish, so I thought I’d share a few snippets of what I got up to:
- School harvest festival service in church. I was down for refreshments for the parents afterwards (tea, coffee and some home baking). My duties expanded to child care (the Engineer’s been a bit poorly and was off school but well enough to tag along) and the sound desk. The sound desk was a first for me but thankfully wasn’t too technical, just putting the right cd tracks on for the songs.
- Discussions with parishioners about the drug dealers who’ve been continuing to drop off their wares in our church yard for collection.
- Viewing of options for an update to our rather rickety church website.
- A chat with the reporter from our local rag who wants to run a story based on my rant about CRB forms. He’s sending the photographer round tomorrow and I’ve only had my hair cut once since we moved to the parish – it wasn’t a happy experience and I’m considering my options for the morning (paper bag? up at 5am with curlers? hmm…). I’m also developing a stye in one eye. I’m rather concerned that I will unfairly represent vicar’s wives as unglamourous, unkempt and shattered looking.
- Child care logistics planning because of the Engineer’s need for an early night, the Vicar’s school governors’ meeting at 6pm, the Joker’s swimming lesson at 6.30pm and the Queen and Happy’s commitment to our Kids Club at 7pm.
- A delivery of beef casserole to a recently bereaved widower.
I’m off to bed now. Then hopefully the stye won’t show up in the photo.
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Posted in Sandwell, Vicar's wife job description, tagged bureaucracy, council, CRB, Criminal Records Bureau, enhanced disclosure, forms, Nanny state, Sandwell Council on 19 October, 2009|
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The bureaucracy is criminal
I have recently volunteered to hear kids at our school read. This means that I need an enhanced CRB disclosure. I can completely understand why schools need to ensure that people in contact with the children need to make some checks. Children need to be protected from dodgy characters.
What I fail to understand is why my existing enhanced CRB disclosure, obtained in July this year, is not acceptable to Sandwell Council. I got that disclosure for helping on a young people’s residential summer holiday, where I had far more access to youngsters than I will sitting in a classroom once a week. Our sensible diocese did accept my existing disclosure for my work with young people in church on Sundays. The diocesan policy is to accept ones less than six months old where the applicant has been known to the church all that time.
When I made a comment on my Facebook status about this earlier today, and got the following comments from Vicar’s wife friends:
- The Nurse told me ‘I was going in last year but then I got all that to fill in during the summer in order to carry on this year and I must admit, I haven’t done them yet. I’d mostly been helping my own child in the classroom and hearing them all read, do I really need a police check for that!? I’m going to need a police check to look after them at home next!’
- Dr Life commented ‘If had had them for everything I needed them for I would have needed 6 at one point last year’.
- Snap said ‘I’ve got 5 current ones for various things I do. It’s crazy, especially as they’re only really relevant from the day you are ‘certified’ and different organisations have different guidelines on how often they need to be redone’.
Sandwell Council, bless their hearts, like to make it even more of a pain. So you have to go the council’s main offices for an interview to fill out the form. Apparently this was because the schools weren’t completing the forms correctly. I don’t see why schools can’t be trained to do it right. Although the form is now ridiculous as half of it doesn’t need to be completed.
And Sandwell want me to provide 2 referees (although the form didn’t say how long the referees have to have known me). CRB no longer ask for this, but the council do. And they want my full employment history including all voluntary work! I can’t remember my employment and volunteering history for the last twenty plus years. The lady at the council then told me that the school can decide how much employment history is required and that the form had been approved by the council AND the unions. She said that it ought to say that referees should have known me at least two years, but that too was up to the school. Thankfully I think the school will be sensible.
Our head teacher is about to send a letter out to parents asking for folk to volunteer to read with the children – currently no-one is helping out at all. But if they have to fill in forms, provide referees and long term histories and travel a 4 mile round trip in order to do it, I don’t hold out much hope of floods of volunteers. Many families round here don’t have cars, so the trip to the council would take a whole morning.
I’m going to encourage people to volunteer, but I’m also going to see if the council will come down here for the interviews or let me help people fill out their forms first. Surely the council want to be encouraging volunteering rather than hindering it with bureaucracy?
The council lady I spoke to said that the new Independent Safeguarding Authority should streamline things ‘but they keep on putting it back’. In the meantime money is being wasted all round the country as people have to collect multiple forms and fill in extra paperwork to satisfy the total lack of trust that now characterises our society. I wonder what the record is for multiple CRB forms. Any advance on five?
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Posted in Fun, tagged alan becker, animation, Animator vs Animation, day off, film, Fun, short, vicar, Vicar's day off, victim on 16 October, 2009|
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The Vicar’s day off is looking a bit alternative today. We have a friend coming over to help us with the church website. Which is sort of work, but not really cos the friend is lovely so it’ll be a treat. And another friend is coming for lunch. But we’re not getting a trip out. Unless you count going to fetch a new loo seat.
So whilst we’re waiting to think about Joomla, here’s a wonderful animation short I was directed to by that terrible timewaster Twitter. I love all the detail in it. [HT India Knight].
There’s also a game and another short at Alan Becker’s gallery site.
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The Vicar pointed me to a better picture of his glorious shed, this time taken from the garage door end.
The Vicar is very proud of his handiwork
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Posted in Vicarage, tagged eco, fuel, garage, Heating, men, Shed, vicar, Vicarage, wood, wood burning stove on 14 October, 2009|
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Now I know that normal men like to retreat to their shed for a bit of peace and quiet out of the house. The Vicar, however, has filled his shed so that retreating to it to sit down or smoke a pipe or something manly like that would be totally impossible. Actually it’s strictly the garage, but it is the largest outbuilding we have. And our car wouldn’t fit in it. Or it would but we couldn’t open a door to get out of the vehicle. The garage is Austin Seven size I’d say.
The good news is that instead the shed is filled with logs for our beloved wood burning stoves. As you can see, I’ve had plenty of opportunities to watch the Vicar chopping wood outside my kitchen window. Not in the last couple of weeks, though – it’s been a bit busy here. Thankfully I think we probably have enough wood to last a few more days.
It's hard to see the scale, but you can just see the top of the garage door at the back
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Posted in Fun, Vicarage, tagged cat, pet, poem, poetry, Singapore, tabby cat, Verse, Vicarage on 12 October, 2009|
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We have a cat. Or rather a cat has us. She is small, very pale tabby with a mutant tail and she mews loudly. A lot. Especially in the mornings. She joined us when we lived in Singapore and spent her very earliest days living in a Singapore drain before she adopted a friend of a friend and then landed up with us.
So she’s a well travelled beast, but these days she hunts vermin in the Vicarage garden (of which more at a later date) and hunts for the warmest place to recline in the Vicarage. As you know, the latter is a bit of a challenge. In summer you might find her scanning the children on their way to school from the vantage point of our gatepost. Or she might be lying on the carpet in my bedroom, soaking up the sunshine from the south facing windows.
In winter however she cuddles up to the fire, or sits upon the lap of the poor (rather cat allergic) Vicar’s Apprentice. Sometimes we find her lurking in the bathroom, but only when the underfloor heating is on. She is a good indicator of where the temperature is bearable. For that reason, to date I have never once seen her in the Vicar’s study.
Grumpy Grandpa has written a few poems on the subject of cats. This one is a good summary of VC’s attitude to life:
A hamster has his little wheel, a gerbil can be fun,
A guinea pig is cuddly, though you have to clean his run,
A dog’s a good companion, and will make you smile and laugh.
But a dog will have a master, a cat, she just has staff.
There’s a dead mouse in the corner, and lots of tiny hairs.
A hairball on the carpet, and some feathers on the stairs.
She won’t do what you tell her, she smells a little too,
A kitten makes you love her, then she takes charge of you.
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