Post-ordination thoughts

First time at my desk since the ordination. Thank you all very much for your good wishes and prayers. It was a lovely day and we’ve had a bit of a holiday in the south since then.

Legoland in half-term on a very hot day = quite an ordeal, but worth it for Rusk’s face when he met Lego Bob the Builder (bigger than he is).

Our tour of the M25 took in visits to some very lovely people, including a good friend’s wedding. Fantastic day all round. Rusk spent his time charming everyone, even playing football with the mother of the bride for half an hour. The next group of people we saw had a lovely garden, complete with climbing frame and slide. Mr F’s face when he saw Rusk had climbed to the top of the climbing frame by himself was a picture.

We were also introduced to the game of Bananagrams. Anyone else play? There is a Facebook app, but it doesn’t do the game justice. Marvellous fun.

Sunday morning was my first normal Sunday since the priesting. The vicar took the opportunity to have the day off so I was left to my own devices, ably assisted by the usual team. I was totally astounded when a lovely couple who had been very unsure about women priests came up to the rail and received communion. They have been very kind to me and we’ve had some good discussions about it over the year, but I really wasn’t expecting it. So lovely. Still brings tears to the eyes to think about it.

In other news: inauspicious, abnegate, writerly, efficacious, honorific, ostentation, sedulous, fallible, vinification, desuetude, pilose, ideate, arriviste, gimcrack, muliebrity and revile. Quite a collection of words to take in from my word a day calendar since I last looked at it.

Pre-ordination thoughts

I’m getting ready in the next few days to go on retreat before my ordination to the priesthood. There is a certain familiarity about the whole thing since the administrative side is very similar to last year when I was ordained deacon. My parishioners are getting a coach to come and watch me be made into ‘a proper vicar’, presumably as opposed to the improper vicar they see now!

The question everyone seems to be asking is whether I’m excited. Am I? There is not nearly as much change to come as a result of this ordination as there was last year. In the last month I haven’t had to move house, or start a new job, or get to know hundreds of new people all at once. I won’t have a whole new uniform for work on Monday – the dog collar took quite some time to get used to. The service will be much as last year, but this time I will know many more of the people there. Colleagues I had just met last year have become friends this year. It will definitely be a special time, but excitement isn’t the word. Maybe anticipation.

The only really new thing is presiding at Eucharist. Excitement definitely isn’t the word there. Nervousness is, not fear, but definite nervousness. So many things to remember, so many movements to coordinate with words, so much potential for clumsiness. And I’ll be wearing a chasuble… a big, thick poncho-type thing over a cassock-alb, over normal clothes, in the middle of summer! If I get to the end without collapsing from heat exhaustion that will be a miracle. I’m dealing with this in my usual way – assuming that I will forget everything that isn’t written down, and so making very sure that it is written down. My print-out of the Eucharistic prayer has stick-figures drawn all over it. I had a run-through of the logistics with the head server yesterday. It was scary enough standing behind the altar and looking down at an empty building. Can’t imagine how it is going to be with a packed (I hope) Church. Thank God none of us do things like this alone.

One very strange thing is realising that the ordination is the fulfilment of a calling I heard five years ago. If God said then, “you are going to be a priest”, I wonder what he’ll say next.

I’m off to one of the local schools now to talk about Pentecost. This time last year that would have had me in a flat panic. Bodes well…

It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new…


I often wondered how I would feel about turning 30 and now I know. Any possible distress at no longer being in my twenties has been assuaged by lots of goodies and a really nice day (so far).

Rusk gave me a new mascot, but seems a bit confused about who actually owns it. We may have to share. Still no name for it. I’m sure it will come. Rusk has been lobbying for it to be called ‘doggie’, but there are several items in his possession already called this so I’m holding out for something else.


There were lots of knitterly goodies:


Including lots of reading material. I’ve already read most of Yarn Harlot, laughing out loud many times, but only being reduced to tears twice. You thought knitting was dull? Seriously, it is an emotional roller coaster at times.


This evening I am off on a diocesan training course. A compulsory one. Don’t worry, that is not how I would choose to spend my birthday evening. I’m going to take my knitting. Cue – “It’s my birthday and I’ll knit if I want to”.

Just grazing

Warning – Don’t read any further if you are hungry and out of range of food.

I’m currently sitting at my desk (catching up on non-work paperwork and the internet) and every so often my hand creeps off to a small cardboard box next to me. Inside are four trays with really, really nice food in. There is a tray of olives, a tray of pecans in honey, a tray of chilli rice crackers and a tray with dried fruit and pumpkin seeds. Seriously delicious.

Where do they come from? They arrived by post on Tuesday, from Graze. The deal is that you sign up to receive a box per week at £2.99. You can look through their entire range and decide which things you want to receive and which you don’t. Each box will then have a selection. My first box had  lots of raisins, accompanied by different things such as dark chocolate covered pumpkin seeds, almonds and white chocolate drops. Anyway, if you like the idea of healthy (mostly) snacks arriving in your letterbox then I have a discount code that will let you have one box free and one half price. Just enter GG1334T at the checkout. As well as you getting free/cheap food, I’ll get a pound off my next box. Go on, you know you want to!

In other news, I have located somewhere that will make me a decaff latte. Only 4 miles away!


I had my first piece of election info/propaganda yesterday in the form of a letter from my (Tory) MP, welcoming me to the constituency (I moved 10 months ago). Very helpful it was too.

My MP is apparently in favour of faster broadband and roads (to the point of receiving an award for his campaigning about a road that is a good 20 miles from where I live), and against wheel clamping. Are these really the major political issues of the day? Not in my life. Not to worry – there is another policy mentioned that is really very important to me.

He is happy to support Cameron in his campaign to opt out of the Human Rights Act. What? Did I read that right? Apparently I did. My MP ‘welcomes plans from David Cameron to consider getting rid of the Human Rights Act and replacing it with a British Bill of Rights’. This is in response to the European Court of Human Rights questioning the validity of an election where those in prison are banned from voting. Well, I’ve thought for a while that prisoners should vote – part of being a member of society despite what you have done to hurt that society. There is no conceivable way that a British Bill of Rights would do a better job of protecting vulnerable people than the Human Rights Act. Besides, what example would it set to other countries? Oh, just opt out of the bits you don’t like…

My mind is made up – despite the fact that he will win anyway (this is rather a blue area) it will not be with my support. I am writing to him to let him know.

A Miscellany

First of all, thanks Ian for your comment on the previous post. I can’t really recommend a good place to start with Thomas Merton, since The Seven Storey Mountain is the first thing I have read by him. It is, my comments from the other day notwithstanding, very readable and interesting.

I’ve had a really busy couple of days in the parishes, so did not see twitter at all for 48 hours or so. Lots of interesting things to read. Here are a few of them.

It seems there was a Panorama programme about chocolate, more specifically about child labour within the cocoa trade. The fairtrade chocolate people have been responding (here and here and probably elsewhere as well), pointing out that the part of the programme showing a fairtrade producer was dealing with how the fairtrade organisation stops child labour when they find it happening. Good. I shall continue to eat Dark Divine.

An incredible knitting project has finished. Most people knit one sock at a time. Some knit two at a time on one long needle. This guy knitted 14 at a time on one humongous needle. One pair for each day of the week – makes sense when you think about it. His knitting bag is even bigger than mine.

I don’t often blog about maths but, given I studied it first time round at uni, I feel the need to reassure Joe Taxpayer that their contributions were not in vain and I am still interested in the subject. A famous mathematician (yes, there are others) has apparently refused or is about to refuse another big prize for his work solving the Poincare Conjecture. He is Russian, and some Russian charities are asking him not to refuse the prize, but to accept it and donate the cash to good causes in Russia. Interesting. Should charities hold people to ransom like this? I don’t think so. Should people turn down legitimately earned money because they have enough? Maybe if the money would then automatically go to support another mathematician and further the course of human knowledge. Maybe not, if they can see a better use for it that they can influence. I’m in danger of siding with the charities here, and I’ve not even started in on the relative merits of academic work and child poverty.

Finally, I’m very excited about this software. Openshot: A non-linear video editor for Linux. I’ve looked at video editing stuff for the Mac and rather liked the look of it – this seems to be a start for Linux. I’ll install it after my next Ubuntu upgrade. Why do I always seem to have a hankering for upgrading a month before the next release? The end of March/beginning of April seems to send me into software envy every year. It is worse this time – I didn’t upgrade to Ubuntu 9.10 since I was too busy when it came out. I’ve since tried it on a live cd and found that the touchscreen on my laptop works! I cannot overstate how cool I find this to be. My laptop has a turny-roundy screen that folds down so you can use it like a piece of paper. I’ve never actually used it because it only worked in Windows up to now and I only use windows once in a blue moon and have no data on that partition at all.

In other news, I’ve nearly finished the book my book group started reading in December. Villette by Charlotte Bronte. I read it 10 years ago and loved it, but could remember nothing about it. Loving it even more this time. I suggested a Jasper Fforde book for this month, on the grounds that I have read it and so get a month off! I hear it is being quite well-received.

Long day

Rusk woke me up (a rare happening in itself – it usually takes a mighty stramash to pierce the depths of sleep) at 5am today, well at 4.59 to be precise. Waking when there is a 4 in the hour seems so much more extreme than a minute later would have been. After taking ages to get back to sleep, the snooze button on my alarm was well and truly abused until I looked at the clock and there was only 5 minutes before morning prayer, at Church, 2 minutes walk away. Not a great start to the day. I am leading prayers this week – who knows what or who I prayed for during the intercessions, but my incumbent didn’t raise eyebrows too much, so it can’t have been too random.

The meeting with the local Methodist minister followed on straight afterwards. My incumbent is getting used to my first thing in the morning, after a disturbed night, bleariness, so fed me toast and decaff until I looked more human. Lovely man!

General admin until lunchtime followed this, then the final week of the Lent courses, with a bread and cheese (really good cheese – brie, wensleydale and stilton) lunch. The conclusion to the course was to try and persuade people to view PCC (parochial church council = church meeting) meetings as a time to integrate the gifts of the Spirit, that we see in those around us, with the opportunites in the community. i.e. start by recognising gifts and only then plan strategy, avoid starting projects when you don’t have the people to run it effectively. We looked at the beginning of Luke 10 and an interesting question was raised: why do we (i.e. the CofE) persevere with ministry to every community when there must be some where there is no welcome there? Why don’t we do as Jesus taught the seventy and shake the dust from our feet and walk away?

Evening prayer was just me, so after praying the office, I spent some time reading Thomas Merton – The Seven Storey Mountain. I like autobiography, but he comes across as so arrogant and rude, particularly towards the Anglican Church (although the passage I read today had a rather scathing account of the Quakers). I’m persevering with it a bit at a time, mostly because of the picture of him on the front cover. He is such a smiley person – it will be interesting to see the influences on him becoming a monk. I’ve only got to the beginning of his time at university at the moment – some way to go.

Now I’ve just got some hymns to pick for Monday’s Tenebrae service and then I might have a bit of a go at the next Settlers level.

A day with Rusk

This is a very dull post – don’t say you haven’t been warned.

Lent marches on. Today has been a day off, spent almost entirely with Rusk, due to Mr F’s continuing battle with the lurgy.

Rusk decided that we would play with tractors today. There is a large box in his bedroom with about half a dozen tractors of various sizes. Some make noises, some travel by themselves, one has a track to travel on and makes appropriate animal noises as it goes past the sty, duck pond etc. The one I find most bemusing is the tractor and trailer with a sheep attached. If you hold the sheep and the trailer firmly and pull apart, then set them down on the floor, the sheep retracts into the trailer, a hook between the sheep’s legs pulls up the gate at the back of the trailer and the whole shebang sets off across the floor, to market presumably. Rusk doesn’t quite have the strength to pull it so there was a lot of asking Mummy to help.

During his afternoon nap, I played a level of The Settlers:Rise of an Empire – the latest in my favourite series of computer games.

Late afternoon saw us headed for the beach, or rather the promenade at the local town. There is a long stretch of prom that has reasonable barriers on either side (i.e. no sheer drop to the beach) so Rusk was able to run about without reins or holding hands. This means he can run further than I have to walk = tired toddler and not so tired Mummy. We bought an ice cream and shared it. He doesn’t really like the coldness of the ice cream so only had a bit. Marvellous! There were only a few encounters with large dogs. I was under the impression that leads were to keep dogs away from danger, frightening small boys etc. Apparently not, although it is ok because “he (the dog) won’t hurt him”.

At teatime, he ate marmite on bread. This is a real breakthrough – he has refused spreads or toppings of any kind on bread or toast for the last two months. Looks bad when you give him dry crusts, but really that is all he will eat usually. Hurrah for marmite (bet he doesn’t eat it again for weeks).

After his bedtime, I finished the Settlers level (and another one) before a spot of catching up online before my bedtime (now a couple of hours ago – ah well).

So that, in case you were interested, is what the clergy do on their day off, at least this clergy on this particular day off. I cannot guarantee that the next day off will be the same. Nothing too exciting.

In other news, I am knitting another sock, having ripped a complete sock back to nothing. Oh, and the foghorn is going so I’m guessing the weather has reached us.