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Posts Tagged ‘Express and Star’

I enjoyed my book signing at CLC in Birmingham very much last weekend. I met some lovely people in the shop – both staff and customers, and some of them even bought a copy of The Ministry of a Messy House. On Saturday I also appeared in the local paper after they’d sent a photographer round to take a pic. He spent a good while rearranging the mess in my kitchen to perfect his shot. Sadly, he didn’t rearrange any of it so that it was tidier…

MMH EandS

Our diocese also published online the article that appeared in the diocesan newspaper this month. The online version has a short video of me in my messy kitchen talking about the book and why we need to know God’s grace. The mess is slightly differently arranged – the icecream tub has moved a bit.

And this week, the first proper review of my book was published online. Eddie Arthur of Wycliffe BIble Translators liked my book and thought that men should read it too (he also blogged a bit of the book that had struck him earlier in the week). This made me happy. I am finding this bit of being an author slightly rollercoastery. Still fun and interesting and occasionally exhilerating. When I’m not feeling slightly nauseous, that is…

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When I started a blog I didn’t have any big aim. I just had a few stories to tell and my mother kept on telling me that she thought I should share them with a wider audience. And I reckoned that there weren’t that many columnists out there telling the story of inner city life whilst actually living it. Nor that many Vicar’s wives telling the story of what happens when you live somewhere that is seen as a first and last port of call in the storms of life. So I just started telling my stories, way back in May 2008.

But since I began blogging, and people I wasn’t actually related to began to read it, I have had the opportunity to spout a few views over at Lou’s Women, an occasional column at the Express and Star, our local daily paper. And then last year, I was asked to propose a book idea to IVP after I talked a bit about my blog at a conference and suddenly I’m going to be an author. Tomorrow I have to go to an IVP sales conference in Nottingham to enthuse about my book. I had to get new shoes because I only have smart boots, trainers and scruffy sandals. So I’m already pleased about going.

A few months ago, because of the blog, Hannah, a curate’s wife, asked me if I’d review her handmade prints. I was a bit busy with the book when she asked, but you should check out her site all the same, cos the prints are lovely.

MP900341336And then, just a few weeks ago, I had an email which I initially thought might be a scam. But then I saw the official-looking email address. It was from a marketing person at the Lawn Tennis Association. And they very kindly offered me a couple of free tickets for the Aegon Classic which is on at the Edgbaston Priory Club in Birmingham all this week. We are going for Ladies’ Day, which is on Thursday and is raising money for Ladies’ Fighting Breast Cancer. I am taking Dreamer, our Familes and Community Worker, and we are going to have a girly day just a few miles away, but in a rather different world to our normal inner city parish life. We are looking forward to seeing some great ladies’ singles tennis and getting in the groove for watching Wimbledon on the telly in a few weeks.

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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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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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On the day of his induction service, when he was handed the keys to the church and officially started work, the Vicar received a telephone call from the Express and Star, our local daily newspaper.

The journalist was following the diary of the Mayor of Sandwell and wanted to know what he was doing coming to our church that evening. The Vicar explained that he (the Vicar) would be starting work in the parish, and the journalist ended up interviewing him and sending round a photographer.

For some reason, though, the article didn’t make it to the E&S website, so I’ve scanned it for you to see in all its glory. Unless you have x-ray vision, you’ll probably have to use the Ctrl and + keys to zoom in to read it.

The Vicar in the paper

The Vicar in the paper

The lack of cropping is because of my poor technical skills, but gives you a flavour of the rather eclectic style of the E&S – see how the article about the vicar is on the same page as (and rather larger than) one about the New York financier Bernard Madoff and his £37.5 billion fraud.

And just so you know, we think the journalist misheard ‘England’ as ‘Ireland’ when the Vicar was talking about the places he’d lived. And more on my recent lads mags encounter at Sainsbury’s soon.

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For those of you who don’t subscribe to the Church Times (which I confess includes me and the Vicar), their article about my success in getting a local Asda to move lads mags to the top shelf can now be seen on the web.

I think the cartoonist has captured my furious look rather well. I did wonder when they phoned me up what they were going to do about a photo.

Don’t forget to complain to customer services yourself if you see these magazines displayed inappropriately.

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In the midst of piling clothes into big boxes and hunting for missing library books, I had a phone call from the Church Times yesterday afternoon.

They’d been reading the article about my success in getting lads mags put on the top shelf in a local Asda store and were interested to know more about my ‘campaign’. I hadn’t had it in mind to start one, but somehow it seems to be launching itself.

One of the things I said to the CT reporter was that complaining to your local supermarket about the display of lads mags isn’t difficult. You can do it verbally or in writing in a couple of minutes at the customer services desk.

The supermarkets need to know that most people buying their groceries don’t want to see these magazines and particularly don’t want them shown to their children, or anyone’s children for that matter. The supermarkets also need to know that consumers are prepared to take their custom elsewhere if these displays are not changed.

It has also struck me that it is likely that far more supermarket customers  are mothers and others concerned with preserving the innocence of childhood than buyers of lads mags. Consumer power could win this argument.

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