When a Day Off becomes a day off again

Friday is my day off. Sometimes it is not my day off and that is usually because of a funeral or because it is a crazy time of year. Today my day off was interrupted by the Burns Lunch for our wrinklies. (In the USA they call them ‘shut-ins’ – how awful is that? Wrinklies is MUCH nicer.)

However today is also the first day that Falkirk has had snow that lies on the ground. While the rest of the country have been suffering for days or weeks we have somehow escaped. Today it is snowing and lying. Not a huge amount. Not enough to get the wellies on. But it is still flurrying down so the decision to call off the Burns Lunch was made. The Burns napkins were put away for another year. The sherry was put in a cupboard, the haggis etc into the freezer.  After all, we don’t want to be responsible for broken hips and wrists.

So now I have an unexpected day off once more. And what shall I do with it? Oh there are so many possibilities. I could curl up and read my Peter May book. I could watch a pile of Father Brown episodes. I could clean the bathroom floor and try to fix the wonky wastepipe on the lav. (Yes, I know – the plumbing saga still goes on.) I could do some light housework and a bit of vacuuming. I could write all my sermons for this Sunday and next as I’m off on retreat next week and get up to date on things. Too much choice!

What would you do?

Imprisonment can be good for the soul

The snow just kept on coming. It lies like a fluffy angora blanket over the landscape making the town look clean and sparkly. At the beginning of the week you could make out the shapes of what lurked underneath but now that has changed. Is that a car abandoned at the side of the road or a bush? Is it the road, in fact?

11 meetings have been cancelled so far this week.  The good thing about living next to the church has meant that I could wade my way over for Morning Prayer every day and believe it or not, I was never alone. Sometimes there were 2 of us, sometimes 3. But as the heating had to be put on at midnight to make it just bearable I think we shall move it to the hall next week. (Then I don’t even have to step outside and mess my lovely Emu boots at all.)

Being indoors for almost 5 days has meant that I’ve got lots of things done. Not as much as I would have liked but there may be time yet. My Christmass cards are written but of course I can’t get out to buy stamps and post them yet. The ironing basket is empty for the first time since I moved in, I think.  I’ve taken over the pew sheet production for one week only. (Perhaps!) For the past two days I even did a little digging of snow. Son #1 did most of it but I did flutter about with my brand new snow shovel (too heavy to lift when it is full of snow, btw) and move a little powdery stuff around. We must have shoveled tons of it and I still can’t get my car out.  Perhaps tomorrow…

The wonderful thing about shovelling – and there is really only one wonderful thing – is that people talk to you. It is like being abroad where folk greet one another in the street with a nice comment, instead of eyes down and marching forward. I hear stories of folk doing their neighbour’s driveway. All that kind of loving your neighbour stuff that we really ought to do all the year round. Maybe we should imagine it is snowing every day.

I see that my introvert friends have taken to relaxing and reading and ogling birds and such stuff. I plan to do just that tomorrow. Well, the reading bit anyway.  After the shovelling of course. I really must escape somehow, even if it is just to Tescos, or else I’m going to go crazy!

Advent 1

Happy New Year!

Heavy snow meant that we were low in numbers today but high in enthusiasm.  Those who did venture out really did deserve to be whisked up immediately come the Rapture. Head of the queue, I’d think.  Fortunately we did have two teenagers, one of whom had to light the Advent wreath. (Oh for a 4 year old with wonder in their eyes!) I had to move the Advent Wreath as there was a severe risk of me becoming a living Advent Candle myself. Well you don’t want all that hairspray too close to a naked flame. Not unless it is the Feast of a Martyr.

And now the Glorias are silent. I get to wear purple for the next 4 weeks (yes, I’m afraid there don’t appear to be any rose vestments here either). Morning Prayer begins tomorrow in church every day at 9am. You can join us if you like, or take a book and do it at home in communion with us.

If you want to take on an Advent devotion daily then you can check out Mother Kimberly’s Love Blooms Bright or Mother Kirstin’s Advent Jottings.

(Here is how it looked after the first snow fall. Twice as bad now.)

Epiphany showings

Well, nobody showed at 8.30am for the snow was so deep and crisp and even that this Priest couldn’t get out of her drive armed as she was with merely a stiff brush and a small dustpan. (One cannot buy a snow shovel for love nor money around here.)

And by 10.20am it looked as if it was just going to be 5 of us plus two visitors from Nottingham. However, in true St Mark’s style they kept on coming after the welcome was said and in the end we had about 30 which was pretty miraculous really. No organist and I didn’t feel up to leading the singing unaccompanied and there was nobody who knew how to do the CDs. Unlike a certain Provost I do not have the gift of multi-tasking to that extent. I could manage the welcome, the serving and the offertory but not the organ too.

It was noted that one of the wise men is broken. Personally I think it should be canon law that churches renew their nativity sets every 5 years. Keep them nice and attractive not looking as if nobody has cared about them for decades.

And so we all slid home in a few inches of snow, chuffed that we had made it.

Oh, and by the way, did you know that black shoes left in church for emergencies can go mouldy?

Virtual journey round the churches

If you, like me, are snowed in and reduced to playing on the computer let me point you in these directions.

Fr Kelvin at St Mary’s Cathedral (the Glasgow one) recorded all his little fairies decorating the church on Sunday. He has speeded it up and posted it on his blog here.  It is very funny.  I liked the use of the candle snuffer to poke the fairy lights up on to the arch.

Holy Trinity Melrose has produced the most beautiful Advent painting. Many members of the congregation were given a tile to paint and when they were put together they produced a copy of the Annunciation by the Chinese artist He Qi. It really is stunning and what a great idea.

Mother-to-be (in religious terms) Nikki has been doing some wonderful O Antiphon meditations over at A Pilgrim’s Process. It is worth having a look at the others too.

OK, duty calls and some unwritten sermons demand attention. I see it is snowing again so it doesn’t look like I am going to get to church to do the photocopying any time soon.

Let it snow

Conversation after Ash Wednesday service…

Me: Now wrap up warm before you go out there in the cold.
Flock member: Oh don’t worry, I have a scarf.
Me: I don’t suppose we will get much snow here, being so close to the sea.
FM: No, we rarely get snow.

Ha! Less then 48 hours later we have just had about an inch in the last hour and it’s still coming. Of course it is my day off today and I had planned on taking a wee jaunt up town. It seems I am doomed never to get to Molton Brown.