Category Archives: Friends

Secrets and strangers…

It struck me the other day how complete strangers seem to know all about our hidden, deepest, darkest secrets.  It is quite scary how many people outside my immediate circle of family and friends know about my most intimate traits.  I realised this when, in between the usual churchy stuff one fills one’s day with, I did the following…

Went to my local pharmacy to collect the huge bag of drugs I seem to have to inhale into my body every day just to keep it upright and moving.  So now the lovely young lass behind the counter knows all about my body’s quirks and failings…I won’t bore you with those intimate details, but she knows…

Returned, under advisement, via 2nd Class Mail at my local Post Office, my QVC bought-whilst-merry (!) purchase, so now my charming Postie knows I like to waste my money on the ROYAL MAIL and shopping channels and how I spend my enforced single evenings whilst not at Vestry meetings or praying…

Went to Asdas and had an interesting chat with the checkout girl about the lack of my day off, what rubbish I was eating for my lonely- heat-it-up-in-the-microwave-meal-for-one tea, what brand of deodorant I use and my current craving for milkyways…she too was to work the weekend, although she would be paid well for it…

Went to Staples to photocopy the monthly Church newsletter and was asked all sort of intimate questions just to get a loyalty card…who knew that my maiden name would still have power and an airing 18 years on…

Answered my door to the Next Directory Lady who knows my latest fashion addiction to plimsols is not really under any kind of control…

Went to buy my lunch at Subway where the lovely student now knows how I like my meatball subs…extra cheese, hold the salad, why spoil a good thing?

Went to John Lewis to buy some wrinkle creme and had an interesting educational conversation about how my wrinkles were deepening (due to stress or lack of sleep or both) and how I could ‘change and adapt my lifestyle to improve my skin’s elasticity’ which sounded rather painful and tiresome.  The creme was way too expensive so I came away with tester to try (cheapskate, I know, but I am on a stipend!)… but we did also discuss why the churches were emptying whilst the shopping centres were filling up on Sundays…ah, yes the Gospel according to TK Maxx had yet another airing…

Went to the library to apologise, once again, for the returned books and their accompanying puppy teeth embossing.  Realised that yet another complete stranger now knows my hidden passion for stories about murders, sex, ghosts and religious conspiracies…(anything to take me away from the real world for an hour or two) and how, when borrowing them in a dog collar, this could look suspicious unless I claimed it was research…?

And that was my day, sharing my secrets with strangers whilst bringing God to the homebound, speaking about God to other God botherers and putting the world to rights by writing my sermon.  Strangers who now know more about me than I do about them.  

Surprisingly, I feel reassured by this in a weird way.  I don’t feels threatened or worried about the kind of power ‘knowing’ my inner secrets could potentially give people. They were, and will remain, strangers. For me it felt as if God was in all those people I met and that God was looking after me through them.  To them, I was probably a mere blink of black in their day.  But, hey, they now know far more about the human foibles of a priest that they ever probably needed or wanted to! 

Who now knows your hidden secrets?  Have a think over your day…

Blessings…

Holidays, walking frames and God’s dogdy hearing aid…

So this is me back to it after two weeks of holiday.  But it was not really a holiday in the strictest sense and I firmly believe that the cosmos still owes me two weeks in the South of France.  I await in hope…

14 hours in a hot car with hot carsick child, hot and backpain stricken Hubbie, two panting hot carsick dogs and a cool box filled to the brim with enough boiled eggs and ham and cheese rolls to start our own Subway stall.  This was just the beginning of our two weeks of family ‘togetherness’ as we drove down to Kent to visit family and friends in order to check they were still breathing, and whether the wills have been written…

Well, we, and the struggling car, survived the journey and it was an interesting two weeks. ‘ Interesting’ is such an interesting word I always think.  It covers a multitude of meanings, but I tend to use it to describe something that I am usually not happy about or want to politely share my dislike of something.  So yes, our ‘holiday’  this year was interesting. 

Filled with visiting my sick grandmother in hospital, having the joy sucked out of us sitting in the dark, hot and stuffy mother-in-law’s hermetically sealed front room (she doesn’t believe in opening windows); wandering aimlessly round the massive Bluewater shopping centre with no money; eating lots of naughty things (mainly Krispy Kreme doughnuts which, quite frankly, are manna from heaven with chocolate sprinkles on top); drinking far too much to counteract the humidity and heat of the mid-Kent scorched landscape (in tiny glasses as my mother-in-law does not possess anything larger than a sherry glass); trying to prevent Mungo puppy from poohing and weeing all over my mother-in-law’s door mat or from jumping in her pond and scaring the fish (all unsuccessfully);  and generally catching up with family who probably rather wished we had not bothered.

In fact, the above list seems rather like the deadly sins all encapsulated within my one holiday of the year.  How depressing.  And depressed I was.  My hubbie and I NEVER argue.  I know this sounds impossible but we simply do not disagree verbally and loudly about much at all.  This has been the balanced state of our relationship for nearly 21 years.  But this trying ‘holiday’ bought out the worst in all of us and argue we did.  Bang goes our record.

There were, however, some highlights and gasps of life to sustain us.  Visiting the V&A museum and spending time with my friend at her bars – Dion’s – in London.  Going to see old friends from RAF Leuchars in Guilford and eating BBQ and drinking too much bubbly outside in the rain.  Celebrating an astonishing 18 years of married wedded bless with my Hubbie at Waggamamas and then sharing a roast beast  with the sister-in-law and their brood.  And, of course, not having to take my grandmother’s funeral…there were moments of joy and relief.

There were very few churchy moments.  Dog collar was not put on once.  The nearest I came to visiting a church was sitting next door to St Paul’s Cathedral, sipping Sangria, whilst the hubbie and daughter braved a few minutes of choral evensong. 

Prayer, however, was constant.  Mainly to get my Nan out of hospital before she learnt the personal geneologies of the poor sufferers in the entire ward.  But also in the form of prayer-arrows to God, trying to get Him to turn His hearing aid up, as I am sure He could not hear my pleas for the Eurolottery win and a helicopter to St Tropez…

And so we returned home.  A long, long journey back north praying the car would make it and, again, eating our body weight in ham rolls whilst listening to yet another Piers Anthony audiobook.  Combined with a quick stop on the way for lunch (not a ham roll) to check on my sister, her children and ailing father, who are all, I am glad to report, still breathing.

So now it is back to normality.  Whilst I have been away, one ex-member of the church died, one member has become a widow and one has left the church in a huff.  All normal and part of the course.  So normality, or whatever in my life passes as normal, resumes.  

My Nan is now home from hospital fighting off the carers with her brand spanking new shiny walking frame and will probably out live us all.  The great-grandchildren are queuing up to put go-faster stripes on it along with Disney Stickers (maybe that is my Aunty though) and taking turns on the stairlift.  She is, of course, charging them 2p a journey.  Pensions don’t go far these days it seems.

Off now to try to scale the ironing mountain, discover if I have a car back seat under the layers of dog fur, dust off the dog collar, crack open the prayer book and tackle the depressing pile of bills I have neatly stacked on my desk in alphabetical debt order.  The suntan lotion has been returned to the back of the medicine cupboard for another year, (as yet unopened), and the passports that were hopefully packed, ‘just in case’, will be returned to the safe. 

Where will we go next year?  Answers on a postcard please, as that is as near to the exotic as I seem to get these days…

Blessings

%d bloggers like this: