Monthly Archives: August 2009

Date with…

Our calendar for next week has a rather perturbing entry. On day x it says “Rusk begins to be ill” and on day x plus 4ish it says “Rusk better”.

Wouldn’t it be great to know in advance when you are going to be ill and then plan accordingly?

Why do we have this knowledge? Oh just the first batch of MMR jabs, so he might get a mild (and non-infectious) bout of measles after the usual incubation period.

Beetle update

Kerensa requested a description of Beetle.

The room had been set up in tables of four. We were instructed to be seated, given writing implements, a beetle card and a die in a cup.

First each table ascertains who is to go first – highest throw of the die.

When (and only when) the start is announced, all round each table take it in turns to throw the die and, according to the number thrown, draw their beetle.

You must throw a 2 to get a body first – can’t have any bits of beetle not attached to a body.

After the 2,

  • if you throw a 1, you get a head
  • 5 gets you a wing (you need 2 of these)
  • 6 gets you a leg (you need 6 of these)

After the 1

  • 3 gets you a feeler (you need 2 of these)
  • 4 gets you an eye (you need 2 of these as well

The first person in the room to get a complete beetle shouts BEETLE and they are the winner (of that round)


In the version we played, the highest scorer on each table moved clockwise round the room and the lowest scorer moved anti-clockwise. If there was a tie on the table, the die was thrown to decide.

Have I explained adequately? If not, here is a picture for you:


As you can see, it was a long afternoon, with 12 beetles to attempt. I was particularly grateful for the little picture in the top left that I could copy.

At the end of each round you were meant to count up the number of beetle parts you had, for a total out of 14.

At the end of the afternoon, the highest cumulative score was awarded a prize, as was the lowest.

I have had to promise faithfully to return my beetle card ready for next time – there are 12 more to be done on the back of the card!


Has anyone else played beetle?

I spent a very happy two hours this afternoon, in the company of the good ladies (and gentleman) of the Mothers’ Union, throwing dice and drawing beetles on pieces of card, according to the numbers on the dice. It got quite competitive.

At times I have to stop and check whether I am awake, or in the middle of a very surreal dream. This time I know it wasn’t a dream because I have my beetle card to prove it. (I may upload a photo if I get round to it).

The first Sunday back from holiday

Now as I understand it, the aim of a curate going on holiday is to maximize the time away, while minimizing the number of Sundays away (only allowed 4 per year). We tried out this theory, taking a Monday to Saturday the week following holiday. I fear that this may not be a sensible strategy in future.

I knew that all I was doing on the Sunday was leading the prayers at 2 services, but which two? Convinced it was the 8am and mid-morning services, I duly prepared them on Saturday evening, before checking my diary. D’oh – the mid-morning and the evening. Ah well, but the alarm clock still went off in time for the 8am.

Having an accidental pre-mid-morning snooze left little time for preparation for the mid-morning service. Result – standing in the Gospel procession, unable to remember whether to lead it back to the altar or reverse order and follow the others. (Turns out it was the latter – I of course chose the former). Not to worry – all these things are minor.

Come the end of the day, sitting down for tea at 5.45pm, something just niggled. Was I really sure that the service was at 6.30pm? Should I check? The first mouthful of lasagne teasing the taste buds, I reached for my diary for peace of mind. Nooooooooo. Church 3 miles away, service at 6pm. An hour later, I was back at home, finally eating lasagne – not a meal I recommend interrupting after one mouthful.

A bit of a blonde day.

On the plus side, turns out I won some champagne in the raffle that was drawn while I was away. I wonder how many raffle prizes it is polite to win? I wouldn’t want to become the family that everyone hates because they always win.

Mind gone blank

Before I went back to tag my previous post, I had a list of various things to post about, but they have now all escaped my mind. Here are some things I wasn’t going to post about, due to lack of interest.

  • Raisins are a very good strategy for getting your toddler through the quiet bits of church
  • My baby sling still works with Rusk, but climbing hills is not a trivial matter
  • Does a toddler make a specified amount of noise per day? Having kept quiet in church, Rusk then shouted very loudly through lunch to make up for it
  • For the liturgy geeks among you – spotted a rather clever use of the versicles and responses in mattins – using them as responses at the end of longer intercessions
  • Every time I type something my sister (whose room I am using to avoid waking R) stirs in her sleep. Time for bed methinks


I often feel some pressure to make the most of holiday time by doing interesting stuff. It is better, however, if I resist this pressure and instead concentrate on doing nothing much. This has a far more beneficial effect in the long run.

Today is a pleasing mix of the two. I have had a lazy morning while sundry relatives and friends look after Rusk. I am sitting in my sister’s very comfy swivel chair (a family heirloom – used to be my Grandfather’s chair), laptop on lap, half-read Colin Dexter novel to hand, Test Match Special on in the background. Lovely. Later today I will go and be the guard on a steam train – if that isn’t ‘doing stuff’ I don’t know what is. Haven’t done any guarding for about 3 and a half years so it will be interesting to see how much I remember. I’m being reassessed on Monday so I really will find out how much I have forgotten!

It has occurred to me that I may be turning into a cliche* – detective novels, cricket and steam railways have long been part of the stereotypical view of the average English vicar. I maintain, however, that these have been part of my life for longer than I have been even thinking about ordination, so there!

*Can’t for the life of me find the accent to make that correct – sorry

Spousal sermon support

Well I don’t know where that alliteration came from there – most unsettling.

I was working on today’s sermons until quite late last night – finding it difficult to find uplifting and challenging things to say about flower festivals. Finding a particular lack of inspiration when the wireless connection temporarily stopped my procrastination, I wandered downstairs.

On expressing my concern about not being competent to preach about the topic since I don’t know much about it, Mr F was happy to reassure me. “I’m sure you’ll have to preach about lots of things you know nothing about”. Nothing like a bit of reassurance.

My latest strategy to deal with busy Sundays is not to stop for an afternoon nap – it makes the evening all the more painful. Seemed to work today anyway.