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Archive for the ‘Fun’ Category

A Walk in the Tow-un

On Wednesday mornings I meet with our Families and Community Worker, Dreamer, to pray. We often start our time together by walking Freddie the dog – we get a lot of pre-prayer chatting done, and a bit of healthy exercise into the bargain.

This week Dreamer had a parcel to collect from our local sorting office, so instead of our usual round of the local park, we walked along the Metro line and up to the industrial estate where the Royal Mail are based. We rather enjoyed this bit of graffiti on a unit on the estate. Freddie was not so amused.

dog.jpg

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Eyebrow Surprise

I was in tow-un the other day when I spotted this sign. How long do your eyebrows last? Can’t honestly say that I’m all that tempted by this ‘experience’.

Seriously.  My eyebrows  have lasted more than several months.

Seriously. My eyebrows have already lasted more than several months. Without any expense.

 

 

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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 have our Jesse Tree up. And the Christmas tree. We’ve not quite managed to retrieve the card holder from the cellar yet. I have made my first batch of mince pies. Things are beginning to feel festive. And this weekend, the Queen has been practising her festive cookies for a competition in school. She made the cookie cutters from aluminium herself in the tech lab. In the slideshow below is a picture is of the ones she made and iced with pukka homemade royal icing as a practice run before making some more to take to school for the event today.

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Unusual Harmony in the Vicarage

Alas, the harmony is not between the Vicarage children, but possibly more surprising than that. I’m not sure whether it’s due to the advanced age and slothfulness of the Vicarage cat or the generally winning personality of the Vicarage rodent. But the cat shows no inclination to make micemeat of the degu. In fact there are occasions where it looks like they are sharing a small kiss. I’ve not yet managed to capture that, but here is a sample of their chilled relationship from yesterday evening.

Not quite the lion laying down with the lamb but a start, eh?

Almost the lion laying down with the lamb…

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Well, that’s what I think this tasteful hanger for (I guess) a teenager’s bedroom is trying to say…

Nearly everything about this is wrong...

We didn’t buy this for the Queen

And I’m sure you all realise that Santa is an anagram of Satan…

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Of course, this IS NOT what we do in the Vicarage. But, let’s be honest, Fry and Laurie sum up what many of us secretly think…

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Alphabet BlocksYesterday the Vicar asked me to proofread a document for him. The usual lot of the wife of a dyslexic vicar. So I read through his Ministry Development Review (MDR) form. He has an MDR every two years –  talking through where he’s at with another member of clergy from the diocese and drawing up some goals for the next few years. It’s a useful process for reflection and planning. The form was mostly fine, but right at the beginning of the form it asked him to give:

Date of last ABC

To this question my husband had responded:

Don’t know what this is

Since I didn’t either and my google fu let me down, I shared the problem with Twitter. The Church of England is like any other large organisation – it loves its acronyms. And likes to change them on a regular basis to keep you on your toes. Suggestions from far and wide included the following:

  • Approved By Committee (if this was a long time ago it may indicate ructions in the PCC)
  • Attack By Churchwarden (recent date indicative of alarming breakdown in parish relationships)
  • Another Blooming Chore
  • Absolute Belief Crisis
  • ArchBishop’s Council
  • ArchBishop of Canterbury (and one clever clogs said that the answer to that was Lady Williams of Oystermouth)
  • Appalled By Congregation
  • Attended Baptist Church
  • Apple Boring Contest
  • Appeared Boyishly Charming (alas, this would be quite some time ago for the Vicar, unless you can be boyishly charming without hair)
  • Annual Bishop’s Consultation

Eventually a very helpful person linked me to a diocesan document that explained that ABC stands for The Archdeacons and Bishops Pastoral Conversations. Of course. Obvious. And these ABCs happen after 5 years in post. Which is why the Vicar didn’t have a scooby, as we’ve only been here for 4 years. We’ll know for next time. But I thought that some of the other suggestions were much more fun.

Are there any other options, I wonder?

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Wimbledon starts today, with all its fervent discussion about Andy Murray, the weather and the price of strawberries. I had the pleasing experience a couple of weeks ago of going to a Wimbledon warm-up tennis tournament, the Aegon Classic, courtesy of the kind people at the Lawn Tennis Association. There was no Andy Murray (it was a women’s tournament) nor any sign of strawberries. But we did have weather, alas.

It was super easy to get to leafy Edgbaston where the tennis club is. As you drive from our parish the suburbs get gradually smarter until you get to Edgbaston, full of wide avenues lined with enormous Edwardian mansions, university halls of residence and independent schools. We were pleasingly able to park for free on one of the wide avenues by the club. A good start.

Once there we were able to take our seats with great views of the centre court without any queuing or stress. Then we enjoyed some great tennis – Daniela Hantuchova played Kristina Mladenovic. I spent some time transcribing Hantuchova’s grunts of effort. Her baseline noise is ‘Woo-ee’. And her service is accompanied by a ‘Uh-ee’. Transcribing them distracted me from the irritation of the noise. A little. Mladenovic won the first set and then, about half way into the second set, the rain arrived. As it was lunchtime we took shelter in one of the cafe tents. It was pretty squashed, but we found a spot to sit down amongst the damp tennis fans. It was Ladies Day, so a few spectators were decked out in impressive hats. We’d opted for smartish trousers and tunic combinations – a wise move I felt, as we sat on the floor to eat our sandwiches.

Sadly, it rained for the next couple of hours so we ended up returning home feeling rather undertennissed. But the tournament continued over the week and Hantuchova eventually triumphed. So thank you Lawn Tennis Association. I’d love tickets again next year. And now to get my Wimbledon head on…

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The Vicarage often seems to be heading for this state

Before the Vicar started at theological college, we spent time with some wise friends, Muso and Holy, who were already living on campus there. Theological college can be a funny old place where relationships are often very intense – with people studying, worshipping and living with one another, you get to see each other in very sharp focus. Our friends explained how college was a community of saints – and also a community of sinners.

Holy knew me pretty well and she warned me that I should be careful how I came across because (she said)

Some people might find you a bit intimidating…

Can’t think what gave her that idea. Apart from me being very loud, self confident and bossy, that is. And quite tall. So I arrived at college fully determined to restrain myself as much as possible. The Lord clearly thought I’d be unable to do this unaided, so actually what happened when we started was that I contracted a horrible virus and was laid up in bed for about a month. No chance of being too scary then. Or so I hoped.

Later, when we’d settled in, I thought I’d check up on how I’d done with the not-being-frightening thing, so I asked a new friend about it. Did she think I was intimidating when she first met me? I’d not done as well as I thought because she replied:

I did at first….  But then I saw your house…

I give you this story as an example of why housework may not be that important. And why it’s good to share our failings. And why sitting on the computer writing a blogpost is *far* more important than doing that washing up. Or any dusting. Ever. Just think of it as ministry.

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