The Prisoner of Buckstone

It seems that it might be time to revive the old blog. However,  don’t go expecting nice pictures and thoughtful prose. The reason?  My study where the computer is is freezing,  my new laptop doesn’t work,  so I’m doing this on my trusty tablet using Swype so there will be spelling mistakes and nothing fancy.

Now,  why the blog revival?  The world is in the midst of a pandemic called Coronavirus. We are about 6 weeks into it here in Scotland and I have been housebound since 3 March 2020 as I had a chest infection at the beginning and was told to self isolate. No warning that it might go on for a while.  No time to stock up on stuff. I had to get cover for church services and turn my ministry into the phone kind once I was feeling a bit better. My son lives with me so he became full time carer,  shopper, messenger, along with all the rest he does for me at home. I started online supermarket shopping and with reasonably good grace we got used to being home all day.

Things got worse. The College of Bishops started issuing guidance to keep us safe during the crisis. First it was no intinction at communion (yay!) then nobody to receive the chalice except the priest,  no shaking hands at the Peace, no biscuits after the service, and finally our churches had to close for who knows how long?  That was when clergy up and down the land had to rethink ‘church’. And quickly. If church isn’t the building,  what is it?  And soon there were priests popping up on Facebook saying Morning Prayer in immaculate studies while I wondered how long it would take to find a tidy yet erudite bookcase to sit in front of and look holy and thoughtful. That’s when I discovered my laptop wasn’t working so ditched that idea.

The doc told me i had to begin 12 weeks of self isolation which would take me to June as i have a few health issues which make me high risk. I had 1 wedding in June and 2 in July so contingency plans had to be made. One of my little flock was seriously ill in hospital and I couldn’t visit. I enjoyed phoning my congregation,  when I could get them in… these lovely elderly people were not going to stop going out until the day came when the government put us into lockdown. That’s where we are now, only allowed out to shop for necessities or short exercise.

On Sundays we gather for  a Spiritual Communion, me in the rectory with a candle, a cross, and my home communion set. During the week I email or post the service sheet out,  along with a weekly newsletter,  and on Sunday we all say the service ‘in communion’ with one another. The same folk are late. We all miss the hymns. It’s all over rather quickly. But feedback has been good.  For the past 2 Sundays Bishop Mark and Bishop John have done an online eucharist which we can watch on Facebook or YouTube. So few of my congregation are on social media so they are missing out on that,  and it’s also why I haven’t done any services myself that way. I feel that I should. I don’t know how but I could learn. I’m living with that guilt at the moment.

Social media is my lifeline at the moment. I can’t get out.  Nobody can visit me. I’ve not been well. I’m an extrovert who needs people around me for energy, for stimulation. But i have a good circle of friends who will chat online when i need it. I have low days,  very low days,  and good days.  Like everyone.  And we’re told this is normal. I’ve stopped watching the Prime Minister’s daily bulletins because they are bad for my mental health. I can’t shop online any more because the whole world is doing it and supermarkets are doing the best but just can’t cope with how to prioritise the most vulnerable. That can take up a few hours each day just phoning or searching online and it does nothing for my mood. But heh, we’re not starving as many are. I need to keep remembering that.

Oh that’s enough for first isolation diary. Let’s see if I can upload this… more to follow on plans for Holy Week…

8 thoughts on “The Prisoner of Buckstone

  1. Thank you Ruth for starting your online blog again. Love your honesty – think of you often and all the years we have known one another from St Mark’s, Christ Church and now St Fillans ( remember our only visit there so far when you sat with us in the congregation – we felt so privileged as your father had just died and one of your colleagues took the morning service). Would be great to speak to you – will ring you in a few days. Love from us both Angela and Ian

  2. Thank you Angela. Day off today and I’ve done nothing I’d planned except a blog, a shower, and read emails. I value your friendship too and miss your company. Thank goodness for Facebook! I love your posts.

  3. Dear Ruth, I’m so sorry you are unwell and having to struggle like this. Don’t feel guilty for not doing high-tech; what you do and the time you spend talking to others will be perfect.
    I had intended to get in touch next week to say thank you again for the wonderful book of paintings and meditations/poems that you created when you had your sabbatical. I used it the first year and found it really helpful then it rested and now I’ve been using it throughout this Lent and absolutely loving it. It is tender, so prayerful and prayer inducing, thought-provoking and sometimes like a piercing x-ray.
    Time passes and you’ll be let out again
    eventually! Take every care when that
    time comes. May you be blessed during this Holy Week and Eastertide. Sheila

  4. Delighted that you are reviving your blog, which i have missed a lot; very sorry to hear of the difficulties, and take some comfort that we all can share the worries – we are also self-isolating after my husband’s time in hospital left him with sepsis (now recovering) and we really welcome your posts. Thinking of you as we approach Easter, and have just been pointed at St Beuno’s lovely reflections for Holy Week which you may already have seen?

  5. Sorry to hear of your health problems added to the lock down. It is the same here. Take care and stay safe. This too will pass……..eventually……I hope. I need to hug some folk.

  6. Dear Ruth
    I was so sad for you when I read your Good Friday post. I didn’t want to reply with words which, though genuine, probably wouldn’t have made you feel any better. Thinking of and praying for you though.
    Happy Easter. Christ is risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia!

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