So what is life like according to the vicar's wife? Well it is a busy life, a life that is certainly never boring... a life where the routine runs along day by day but is overstictched by the Churchy type stuff.
From time to time my muddled mind clears slightly... enough to muse and record my thoughts. The musings are not works of literary genius (they are not supposed to be)... they are simply observations and ponderings...I hope some make you smile, laugh, cry or...just think!
FROM THE UTILITY ROOM WINDOW
The vicarage garden is a very beautiful garden, an adventure area for the children, somewhere to hang out all our huge amount of washing, somewhere nice to relax with friends or just enjoy the quiet “on my own” time…..it also has fruit trees, a couple of apple trees and a couple of pear trees……
…..So here I am sorting out the daily large heap of washing (where does it come from?} when I suddenly realise that the gentle twitter and singing of the birds is rising to a shrieking squabbling babble…what on earth is going on????? There must be some frightening predator freaking the starlings…NO….as I have said there are two pear trees and one of them is absolutely weighted down with pears, unfortunately the birds, particularly the blackbirds and starlings love the pears and much of the fruit has been half eaten before it even leaves the tree…this morning the ground is littered with literally dozens of half eaten pears, so what are the crazy starlings doing? They are arguing and fighting over one small piece of trodden on bit of pear…why? In the end they are all in such a state and frenzy that they fly off and nobody has the tacky bit of pear!
It made me think, are we as humans sometimes like the starlings? It is so easy to look around at what other people have got and want it for ourselves. Even worse, we might not really want something but we don’t want anybody to have it either…normal behaviour in toddlers, I remember my children when they were small gathering up all of their toys, too many to carry and certainly too many to play with, but just to make sure the other children didn’t have them
So back to the starlings, if only they had taken the time to look around and see that there was more than enough of the lovely juicy fruit, they could all have eaten more than they wanted. Of course starlings do not have the insight to understand that sort of thing, but we do, so why so often do people waste time and energy striving to get things that they do not have when all the time they are surrounded by plenty of good things that the Lord has provided for them?
As a world we are told that there is more than enough of food and resources to go round, it is only greed and often ignorance that mean a few have so much and many have so little.
It will be interesting to see what the starlings argue over when the pears have all gone, I am sure they will give each other grief over something……just like humans really!
Do You Shop On LIne?
For many years now I have done “boring shopping” on line...I do not need to go in a shop to choose basic groceries and household stuff. shopping on line makes it easier to check weights, prices and special offers.
I sometimes use a website called “my supermarket” this allows me to shop and whilst putting things in my virtual basic it keeps a running total of how much it would cost at the major supermarkets...at the end of the shopping I then just click on the shop that gives the best price and the job is done!
Where you might think is this going? well sometimes choosing a church is a similar thing.... so many choices...where do you start? The major supermarkets all have a certain market that they hope to attract...Asda encourage the down to earth no nonsense we are the cheapest approach, the friendly, shop that keeps it simple. Morrisons are similar, they offer no gimmicks (so they tell us) they set their shop out more like traditional stalls... after all Bill Morrison started his life as a market stall holder. Then there is Tesco... they just seem to want to take over the world and have branched out into so many different areas....Sainsburies...now, they want to go for the more “up market” status (whatever that is)......
How do we choose a church? Do we want the “High” type of church? Lots of decoration, icons, statues, candles bells ringing in the service, incense.........or do we want more “middle of the road”? some of the above used occasionally, depending on the time of the church year....then there is the “low” church, very simple with non of the above trappings. Of course we then have different styles of worship, do you want an organ, a music group, recorded music? what style of songs? Do you want lots of sketches and drama? Do you want Communion (Eucharist).
Do you want a Sunday or a mid week service? Morning or eve? Do you want to sit in pews or chairs in straight lines, in a semicircle or around tables?
The choices are really bewildering!
Now the supermarkets all try and seduce us with their offers, their layout of store but at the end of the day they all sell pretty much the same sort of thing. This is what we must remember about church, we can decorate and add frills but when we remove these we are left with God! The tin of Heinz beans bought in Asda will taste just the same as the one bought at Tesco....God found in any of the churches will behave in just the same way...thankfully God is totally unchanging.
The various supermarkets try to lure us with “Free” offers....we in our hearts know that there is no such thing, prices are manipulated on other items.....this is where God is different.....he has given us all the most amazing free gift... A one off, available to all offer, a gift of eternal life, peace, a Saviour His Son Jesus Christ! We don’t have to buy anything to “get one free”.
As an amateur goat keeper one of the things I have to do is to drive over to the feed merchants and buy hay...usually a couple of bales which will last a few weeks...I do not buy more than that as I have only a small shed to keep it in.
Where's this going you are probably wondering, well I'll tell you where, a couple of months ago I arrived at the “hay shop” and asked if I could have 2 bales only to be told NO!.....NO!!!!! what did the man mean? What he meant was NO, there was no hay.
Now me being a bit of a townie had not really thought about the simple fact that hay is harvested one year and usually the supply will last until the next harvest. This year, however, because of the poor weather conditions last years had gone and this years could not be harvested, some of it was actually rotting in the fields because of the wet weather!
It really made me think, we are so used to going into a shop and asking for something and it will be there...if we want is not there then there will be an alternative......as far as hay is concerned there was an alternative, haylage. Unfortunately because haylage has a limited life once opened it was a very expensive alternative, I was throwing far more away than I was using.
In my situation it really was not a huge problem, a nuisance yes, but not a life threatening issue.....my goats enjoyed the haylage!
The people it does cause a problem for are the farmers selling the hay and the livestock farmers who need to buy large quantities. The news on the radio as I write this is saying how production of crops is down this year because of the dry start to the season and then too much rain....this will mean smaller fruit and vegetables (apparently) and higher prices. What does this mean to us? In this country it probably does not mean that anyone will starve to death, but in other countries this is a problem that is a constant challenge.
I know that during the second world war there was food rationing and I am sure many people reading this will remember queuing for the most basic of things...however this did not cause death from starvation....some experts will actually tell us that it was a very healthy diet, far better than the as much as you want of as many things as you want that we have today...but that is another story....
How do we help? This year, as last we have been trying to support the charity Farm Africa . The aim of this charity is to teach farmers how to make better use of their land...not to hand out food. We have taken collections at the various harvest services and the local schools have been involved...thanks to all who have helped..
Strange Smell at the Vicarage!
Soooo having sort of mastered the art of cake making and nearly sort of mastered that of scones I decided to be more adventurous …Jam….Could not resist all the yummy strawberries at Tickhill, so made quite a lot of jam…gaining in confidence I tried my hand at raspberry which was also nice and then my favourite blackcurrant!!!
Never again with the blackcurrant…so tedious picking all the little stalky things out…will leave that one to Robertsons.
Years ago BC (before children) I used to make all my own bread so decided to give it a go again…very nice..homemade scones and bread with jam..lovely. It seemed obvious that the next step had to be homemade butter. Now, I remember some sort of mess in a jam jar at school but no real idea so off to scan the internet. Hugh Fernley whatshisname (who always seems such a nice man) made it all sound so simple.
Off I went two large cartons of double cream into the food processor…ten minutes later very lovely thick cream but no obvious sign of butter. Not being technically minded I was little concerned as to how long the motor of my nifty new gadget could run so decided to transfer the whole thing to the ancient Kenwood Chef (once owned by Nan Collin for those who knew her).
What my dear reader you may ask has this got to do with a smell in the vicarage…read on. Being a woman of course I am an expert at multi tasking so whilst the almost butter is sloshing around I decided to do a few little jobs….Suddenly a strange noise like that of a minor tidal wave comes to my ears…I turn around … as in slow motion…(or so it seams) I see a cloud of butter milk spraying around the kitchen and clinging valiantly to the balloon whisk a large glob of butter…success!!!!!!
Having washed and squeezed the butter and decanted it into small pots for the freezer (apparently it goes rancid very easily) I start the task of cleaning up the offending liquid…..For those of you who have not come across buttermilk it smells like a cross between sour milk and baby sick..ughhhhhh. I think there may be a lingering aroma for some time so if you are paying us a visit and notice something strange (well more strange than unusual at our house) don’t worry, nothing has died behind a cupboard. Which brings me nicely to a story involving Alun, a BMW and a chicken…but that my friends is a smell too far!
Perhaps I would have been safer with a jam jar and a tight fitting lid…for the butter that is, not the chicken.