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Posts Tagged ‘Vicarage life’

Gone Autumn News

Those of you who follow the progress of Gone, our friend who’s been long term homeless, will be sad to hear that he’s back in prison for a stint. The good news is that he managed over four months in the hostel up the road from us and they’re happy to have him back when he’s released. Sadly, he was in a bit of a state after our two week holiday, which coincided with hostel staff leave. That was when he managed to get himself arrested and we weren’t looped in so couldn’t help at the magistrate’s.

Prison will also be an opportunity for him to dry out a bit in preparation for another go at living in the hostel. We are still optimistic that he will be able to tackle life from his place near us, and we’re praying for him and planning for his release. Do continue to #prayforGone. God is working in his life, and in ours.

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Today I snapped a photo of an unexpected churchyard visitor. No idea how he got there, although flytipping is a popular local pastime. He rather looks like he’s been on the sauce, although I think it was milkshake in the bottle next to him. I’m not entirely sure what we shall do with him, as he’s too large to go in our wheelie bin. Still, makes a change from the beer cans.20150917_112508

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One of the lovely things about the Midlands Women’s Convention last weekend was the opportunity to catch up with friends from around the region. I was able to have a good chat with another vicar’s wife from the Black Country who has been sharing with us the unusual experience of having Gone sleep under the garden hedge.

Mrs Very Benevolent and her husband live in another Sandwell town, just a few miles from here. She told me that Gone has been supplied with a sleeping bag by a local Food Bank and has camped out in their garden for the past few weeks. Another vicar nearby sometimes allows Gone to use his bathroom to spruce up. So he’s surviving. As usual.

Mrs VB is finding that Gone is alternately awful, abusive, threatening and foul and then repentant, sweet, thankful and charming. Same mix as ever. But the good news in all this is that the local police have decided that enough is enough and have demanded that the local housing office sort it out. Since Gone is without doubt the most vulnerable person I have ever met, I am thankful that at last some people in authority are taking responsibility.

My friend said that the first option will be to get him to Betel, although we all know that Gone struggles with trusting others, so the Betel community may not prove to be the best place. Whatever happens we are praying for a good solution for him. But at last there seem to be people in the ‘system’ watching out for Gone and there will be other options if Betel doesn’t work out. Keep on praying for him – we would love him to to feel secure in a home.

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So, this week

  • The Queen started secondary school. We are all quite enjoying the early mornings but are considering investing in coffee producers and matchstick makers. She is having fun meeting lots of new people and being all grown up and responsible. She has not missed the bus nor lost her phone. Yet.
  • A house for sale about 100yds from our front door was raided by the police. They found it full of cannabis plants. The police took the plants and left the pots outside the house. Might see if we could use some!
  • Our new Ministry Trainees, Radiohead and Sweet Tooth moved in. They have survived so far – even with the children bouncing around all over their attic home. We are very much looking forward to getting to know them as they serve in the church and experience Vicarage life close up.
  • The Vicar spent a long time at a Deanery Standing Committee and nearly everyone on Twitter suggested that those meetings would be a lot better (ie shorter) if the committee did stand and not sit.
  • The Queen has been asked to give a short speech at the local library when they officially celebrate their refurbishment. The mayor will be there and everything. We are just waiting for permission from the school to come through.
  • We played tennis at the local courts. All the courts were being used, something I have never seen before. It was the last day of the holidays, and sunny, but I also suspect an Olympic/Paralympic effect. Good for Lord Coe.
  • Our friend Nick Barr-Hamilton was featured in a post on Archbishop Cranmer’s blog. You should read it.
  • Gone has not been seen here for nearly two weeks now. So we have thrown away the mouldy and smelly blankets he was using to keep himself warm when he slept under our hedge. I expect he’s either in prison or has managed to find some housing (a housing person came to the door and spoke to Rocky a few weeks ago, looking for Gone, but we don’t know anything more than that). It’s rather strange to have someone so much in your life, but no real means of finding out what has happened when they go. Do pray for him.

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What do you think about as you return from your holidays? As we drove away from the Channel Tunnel, heading back to the Vicarage, last week I was remembering (as always) a poem by Laurie Lee that I learnt by heart when I was at school:

Home From Abroad

Far-fetched with tales of other worlds and ways,
My skin well-oiled with wines of the Levant,
I set my face into a filial smile
To greet the pale, domestic kiss of Kent.

But shall I never learn? That gawky girl,
Recalled so primly in my foreign thoughts,
Becomes again the green-haired queen of love
Whose wanton form dilates as it delights.

Her rolling tidal landscape floods the eye
And drowns Chianti in a dusky stream;
he flower-flecked grasses swim with simple horses,
The hedges choke with roses fat as cream.

So do I breathe the hayblown airs of home,
And watch the sea-green elms drip birds and shadows,
And as the twilight nets the plunging sun
My heart’s keel slides to rest among the meadows.

Kent was certainly beautiful to look at. Our front drive not so much… (and more on this tomorrow too).

Rocky tells us this was originally left blocking the drive

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I’ve just been enjoying some early Spring views from my kitchen window as the sun sets on a surprisingly balmy February day. First there was the cheering sight of the robin hopping about around the bird table that the Vicar was given for Christmas. He doesn’t seem to mind all the clutter out there in the yard.

The yard is also where the Vicar was then chopping logs in a manly way to prepare the wood for our fires for next winter. We’ve had a good haul of wood over the last few weeks, mainly due to some serious redevelopment going on in our town centre. They’ve been chopping a good few trees down and have left the wood out for the hunter-gatherer tribe, of which the Vicar is an enthusiastic member.

Watching the Vicar chop logs reminds me of Almost, who we’ve not seen for a few weeks now. Almost is from Kosovo and is once again trying to get leave to remain in the UK. Almost tells us that his 3 brothers got permission some years ago but he had to return to Kosovo with his wife and family. His wife was taken ill  (with a stroke) on the way back and died recently. So he is back here trying again. He is living in cramped conditions and occasionally comes to ask if we’ll pay him for some work or for help with his gas or electric.

When Almost was last here, the Vicar was log-chopping and was then clearing up the prepared wood before he was able to take Almost to the Post Office to top up his gas card. As he does with most visiting able-bodied men, the Vicar offered Almost a go of the axe. And although Almost is much slighter than the Vicar, his axe skills were far more impressive. We asked him if he’d chopped wood before, back in Kosovo.

Ah. Too many, too many.

I wonder if our boys will grow up with great axe skills but sighing about having to chop too many, too many.

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