If you drive, you probably know what it’s like to turn into a busy supermarket car park, carefully follow the arrows to a suitable parking space, and have to swerve to avoid someone who has apparently noticed neither the arrows nor the ‘no entry’ signs telling them that they are going the wrong way.
From the Vicarage
As a student teacher, I remember the advice that we were told always to follow when on school placements. Before taking a seat in the staff room, make sure that it’s not the one that Mr Bloggs always sits in – you won’t be forgiven!
In school, I once asked one of my classes how many of them would like to be famous. Some liked the idea – finding their X-Factor or becoming a famous athlete really appealed to them. Others weren’t so sure – they preferred their lives as they were. Here at the Vicarage we now have a Celebrity Bunny. Not the Easter Bunny, but our own Peter Rabbit. He is getting old, and problems with his teeth require a visit to the vet every couple of months.
I made a cup of tea and settled down to watch the news on television. Although outside the sound of fireworks was telling me that it was barely November, my TV had updated itself. It was nearly Christmas, it was saying, and it had added a channel that would allow me to watch as many sugary, sentimental Christmas films as I liked just to prove it. That, of course, along with all the snowy, tinselly commercials telling me where I should be doing my Christmas shopping this year, and what I should be buying.
I have never forgotten the Sunday morning, just a few weeks after I arrived, when I climbed into the pulpit and began my sermon with the story of the three vicars who had bats in the belfry. If you were there, you probably remember how it goes. If you weren’t, sadly I don’t have space here to tell you how it ends. In any case, it hasn’t seemed quite so funny since it turned out that I also have bats, not just in the belfry but in other places too – and they’re not housetrained, either.
I recall a session during my training for ministry on Dealing with the Press. It was about how to write articles like this one, and perhaps more importantly how to stay out of The News of the World, though nobody actually said that.
By the time you read this the mad rush to post Christmas cards, finish Christmas shopping and visit friends and family before the 25th will be in full swing.
By the time you read this autumn will have arrived. The leaves on the trees will be changing colour - and at church we shall be preparing for Harvest Festival.
Rewind to summer just for a moment, and memories of warm summer evenings sitting in the garden, with the scent of lilies and gardenia – oh yes, and another scent, too. You know the one - the smell that wafts in from the fields from around mid-August as the farmers Plough the Fields and Scatter something on the land – remember?