Tuesday, 18 February 2014

It's behind us!

It’s all over! The Rector@6 and I have survived five performances of 
the pantomime – the last three were completely sold out. I miss it already: I miss the opportunity to laugh, I miss the camaraderie, I miss the silly, slapstick humour and I miss the lively community singing – all so different from church. I don’t miss the awful costumes (why am I wearing a shower cap?), or trying to remember my very few lines or the nerves before each performance. I don’t suppose the Rector@6 will miss the custard (foam) pies or the song and dance routines. It has been a great experience to meet regularly with a group of people who stretched in age from eight years to much older! Each performance ended with supper and a warm invitation to the audience, to join the drama group for future productions.  This is where we began in the parish exactly a year ago. At the end of our first week in the Rectory  we decided to go to see the pantomime that was advertised – our first venture out into the village. Nobody knew who we were and we didn’t recognise anyone but we really enjoyed the show and had a very much needed laugh. We never imagined that we would be taking part in the pantomime a year later!

We will be glad to see the back of January and February. They have been a madly busy pair of months – with the confirmation service, the pantomime and emptying our Devon cottage so that our tenants can move in this week. And then the rain keeps coming and the flooding keeps returning – allowing no respite for those who have been already flooded. The water drains out of the houses and then it rains and the water returns. We are safe but across the road, the drains have not coped and the thatched cottages have flooded. The septic tanks overflow into the road. The river (that has been dry all summer) has not been able to cope with the volume of water and has flowed over its banks and through houses and gardens. On Saturday morning, yet another cottage was flooded when a tree blew down in the overnight storms. The tree fell across the stream and diverted the water through the nearest cottage. It wasn’t until morning that villagers were able to help clearing the water. The Rector@6 joined a group of men to move the tree from the stream. This involved chainsaws, ropes and two tractors – which would have been very exciting- if it hadn’t been for the chaos the water had caused in the cottage.

The same storm affected the phone line to the Rectory – so no internet, emails or telephone calls. What a difference it makes to rectory life. The Rector@6 isn’t creeping off to listen to answer machine messages (we try to ignore calls that come in at meals times). He doesn’t have to check his emails every hour to stay on top of them - because there are none. He can’t carry out research on the internet, so books have to come out and we can sit in the same room – but it does mean he can’t indulge in looking at narrow boats on the internet and dreaming! It is beginning to get a little frustrating when people’s contact details are all stored on computers. I can’t get the local news sheet finished or catch up with this blog. We don’t know how long it will take to restore the line. It must be frustrating for people who, unaware of our predicament, leave messages on the answer phone which we can’t listen to. Today we are visiting a friend who is still connected to the outside world so that we can catch up with some of our tasks.

We are becoming fully integrated into village life and letting our Devon cottage is an important step to settling here. I can feel we are moving onto the next stage and it is all about choosing the right attitude. I still find church life quite difficult – but it’s all about my attitude. Life is incredibly busy – which is good - but the Rector@6 and I must learn to play a bit more. I have had great opportunities to help with horses and consequently, I have had more riding than I have ever had before. It’s not Dartmoor - but it is pretty good. I was able to drag the Rector@6 away from his work on his birthday and took him riding on some magnificent horses – what an amazing experience! A year ago I would never have guessed that I would be helping with horses on such a regular basis. I really do believe that Someone is looking after me.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Where did January Go?!

 Nearly three weeks have passed since I last blogged - I don't really know where January went, other than The Rector@6 and I are slowly surfacing from Pantomime rehearsals, a Benefice Confirmation service for 14 candidates, emptying our house in Devon and waving our eldest son off  - to live in Dubai again. We are also thrilled that our youngest son is marrying his fiancee this summer - so they are busy with wedding plans. How did I ever go to work?! The day to day parish business consumes us at times - so I have joined the Rector@6 by becoming a member of the Local Advisory Board for our local school. This is
as well as being the Benefice secretary. At least we will have nights out together!!!.

The weather has been atrocious, with winds and flooding blocking the roads. It could have been snow - and could still be, I suppose. We just need to get our tenants into our Devon house. I am hating the whole process of letting go and there have been many tears as I have packed up the house. I am still struggling with the Rectory and not being able to create a home that functions as a home for us. I don't know who designed our kitchen layout - but they never thought about how it would be used! A few of our earlier niggles have been dealt with - enough to shut us up for a while, I expect they hope. But our newly decorated ceiling now is stained with a water leak, which has been fixed but we have to redecorate again. We just do not have the time at the moment. It is certainly not home yet - as we are back to square one with a hall full of boxes and a garage full of furniture from our Devon home. We will get it sorted out ...but I just don't know when!

We had a fantastic Confirmation service with fourteen candidates - seven young people and seven adults. It was such a special occasion as there had not been a confirmation service for many years in the Benefice. The challenge is now to ensure those folk really feel that they have a role play in our churches and community. More ideas and projects are in the melting pot - so there goes the spare time that I thought I could see on the horizon.

There are still nigglers who want the Rector to visit them 'like the old one did' but they don't come to church and see him, or ring or send a message to say who they are - or where they are. I feel the Rector's shoulders are broadening and he is able to point out that he isn't able to walk the streets of six parishes and just drop in for cups of tea - much as he would like to! Of course, when they see that he is in the Pantomime, I'm sure that they will feel that he does have time. If they only knew how hard it has been to fit in the rehearsals with all the other stuff that he does. First performance is next Friday - complete with custard pies and traditional cast. Being involved with the pantomime has been a wonderful contrast to our day to day life - with very many laughs - only now the nerves have set in and we are wondering if we will remember our lines (we have very few). The Rector@6 says it is worse than delivering a sermon from the pulpit!