Lovely long sleep…Positively no sore back or shoulder (which has been a bit of an issue of late), no departing hoards with whom to jostle (thanks to school holiday)…Shower without queues or angst,- nobody was in any sort of rush for anything! Heaven before we’d even reached 9.30 am! Things only improved when the post arrived, with the laptop that TeenWonder had bid for on ebay...there have been alot of blips and hiccoughs en route to the arrival of this wonderous beast, so it was a huge excitement to actually see it here in the flesh over 2 weeks after the purchase had been completed. Of course, there will now be unseemly squabbles over ownership, but for today we were all just overjoyed that it's here at all.
Next, the dogs and I enjoyed a splendid walk, up through the woods to Seven Springs and back down through Wistley Wood. I did discover that Mufti, the Australian terrier, has clearly been so conditioned to suburban life that, though she will behave like a proper country dog and pursue rabbits with the best of them, she definitely prefers walking on tarmac to grass..which is kind of sad! As we made our way back down the Cirencester Road, she was intent on dicing with death by sticking to the road, though there was a reasonably wide grass verge, which I tried to encourage her to share with me and Dillon.
The said Dillon, on the other hand, has clearly been subject to another form of conditioning. Having had a wonderful time chasing about in all directions in the wood, the moment we found ourselves back on The Beeches, our very local recreation ground (and the scene of most of his work-day walks) he started barking for a ball…because that’s what we do on The Beeches. Even if we have spent 2 hours or more exploring far more exciting possibilities. When on The Beeches, we play ball. Full stop.
After dog walk, had yummyy lunch at The Vine,(our ecumenical Fair Trade Coffee Shop) with S., one of my best friends from vicar-school. So good to have time to talk properly and engage at more than superficial level…We went for a stroll after lunch, sharing whinges and joys of parish ministry. Had just about concluded that it would all be truly wonderful, if only it weren’t for the people, when God sent us a very real person, an elderly lady who wanted to talk and talk and talk some more…We sat in the sun together and practised “mmn”…and it was rather lovely really. Reminded us both of what we are for!
Not having the 3.00 end of school deadline, the day felt wonderfully spacious, so there was time to cook, do a bit in the garden (the mower is still working, praise be!) and even the odd bit of housework. Bought lots of tulips and daffodils, so the house feels better in any case…The Curate feels absolutely wonderful!
And tonight was the last of the Lent course “A Taste of Prayer”…and, despite the absence of shiney experts, our discussion on Problems in Prayer went smoothly and nobody evinced huge disappointment that the problems had no magic and instant solutions. On the whole, I think the course has gone well. People have been exposed to other possibilities, and even if these have only confirmed them in their established practice, they are at least doing so from a position of knowledge rather than ignorance. But never, ever, EVER again will I try to set up 4 groups plus a talk, and expect to get to all of them. This Lent has been an exercise in exhaustion…which is fine, as long as I learn its lessons. Watch this space.