has been action-packed to the point of exhaustion.
Monday was going to be an admin day, till a local councillor who's the motive power behind the forthcoming Valley Medieval Fayre appeared, to discuss her vision for building community in this place, to show me the music the community choir will sing on the day (I get to join in - isn't that great!) and to share something of her own fascinating journey. We have so much in common in terms of our vision and our attitudes, but define our spirituality in completely different ways. Quite rivetting to talk to her - one of the most exciting encounters I've had for a while, in fact - though I don't envisage her joining my congregation any time soon! Thanks to her visit the afternoon disappeared before I'd turned round once - which was a bit of a shame really, since I left undone all sorts of things I should have done...Notice a recurring pattern by any chance?
Tuesday and Wednesday saw me ensconced at the diocesan retreat house - for a "new incumbents" residential...looking at leadership v management, the impact of change and how it can be managed without blood on the carpet (ironic to be sitting in this session while the new curate at St M's wandered across the lawn just outside our window) , and some helpful sessions on self preservation too. It was quite intensive - though we had a splendid evening off allowing a chance to get to know some new colleagues that bit better - and I came home utterly wiped out, - only partly because the material covered was way outside my intellectual comfort zone. On the whole, things that admit to be emerging from a secular business model have to work double- time to get me to engage at all...I did engage, but goodness, was I weary by the time I got home!
Today saw no respite. Mad weather, with torrential rain interspersed with golden sunshine off and on ALL day. My journey up to Church on the Hill (a mile and a half) took something like 40 minutes, thanks to the impact of bad weather on the second day of the school term. The Duffelpud, who initially thought he'd make the most of a lift part way to school, wisely abandoned the car after 10 minutes had seen us move as many yards- and I arrived for the 9.00 BCP Eucharist a good 15 minutes late. I can't imagine ever being fit enough to manage the considerable climb up The Hill on my bike, but clearly I need a contingency plan for days like this.
Just time after the Eucharist to squeeze in a meeting convened by another local councillor with a passion for community building. Interesting group of people there, but I could do no more than confirm my willingness to do what I can to encourage communication and to improve access to the only community space within reach of half of my parish, as I had to hare off to take a funeral...This was a British Legion service, complete with standard, Last Post and Reveille - so I was deeply grateful to the splendid lady who verges for funerals, and coped with all the extra trimmings with calm and efficiency.
Through floods to Gloucester Crem,- all went smoothly there,- then over to Cheltenham to a second funeral. Communications breakdown here meant that though the family and I were clear that they weren't expecting hymns, the organist had been booked and was standing by to play...so after the final blessing she emerged from behind her instrument to point out that she had been forgotten. Dreadful moment as I wondered if I was so overdone that I HAD in fact completely misread my own notes...but the family were quite to reassure that they hadn't wanted hymns. Organist slightly miffed that she had stayed on specially for no good reason...but thankfully she kept this to herself till after the family had left. Not a good situation, but really not a disaster.
Now I'm home, feeling distinctly peculiar and wondering if I am in fact Coming Down With Something.
No time for that option...I had kind of expected to do a bit of work in the study tomorrow, day off not withstanding, but clearly the priority will have to be resting up to ensure I'm fully functional by Saturday afternoon. I've someone coming for a meeting shortly, then I think I might leave the pup in the tender care of my sons and collapse in a heap.
Perhaps I could find my earplugs and sleep through her dawn chorus - she is now quite capable of sleeping through till almost 7 in the morn but old habits die hard, and she really thinks the day should begin at 6. On the whole, I beg to disagree...Just as well she's cute!