Is it a sign?

Driving past the Parish Church yesterday, (not one of ours), I saw Roddy the Undertakers’ hearse parked outside. Propped in the back window was a sign which read , “Drive through gates and park where directed.” Obviously it’;s not just a new body you get when you arrive …….


Any woman knows , by the time that the children have left for school it takes at least two hours to clear away the debris and make the house look half way decent for visitors. Any experienced wife/house husband can spray a bit of polish about ,chuck stuff into cupboards, clear worktops (or “bunkers” if you come from the East of Scotland, aren’t they things that soldiers take cover in , or you put coal in?…..) and you can give the impression of tidiness.

So I get a bit tetchy when the Rev. makes appointments for folk to come to The Manse at 10 am. I can manage 10.30, because that last 30 minutes gives me just enough time to compose my self and pretend that the house always looks tidy.

Today it was the turn of the fabric conveners, both lovely chaps, who came to discuss stretching our accommodation a bit as we are bursting at the seams, and we need a bit of space for visitors to stay over, and for meetings.

I had done the usual cupboard thing, throw stuff in and shut the door quickly, so I was a little anxious when the Rev. chipes up, “We were thinking of getting a dish washer..” , That meant that they opened all the cupboards in the kitchen to see which they could take out to give room for my much-needed appliance. 30 mugs ,plates etc take a long time to wash up after a “soiree”! Of course on show was my recycling cupboard full of plastic stuff and a million jam jars for Messy Church, my cleaning cupboard full of “who knows what, from dusters to mouse traps”, drawers I had just emptied the worktop clutter into….. I worked on the basis that these were men and hopefully didn’t notice.

As I have not been well lately, the garden has been put on hold. Well have you ever tried to put nature on hold? Out we went to see if an extension was possible. I have lived in Police Housing before, and much rented property, so I am acutely aware of taking care of the land and housing I am lent.  Our compost bins are overflowing , we have the most spectacular crop of Groundsel, (a weed if you not a gardener) and the sharp frost the other day has damaged my veggie plants and they look black and curled, and the gales had uprooted shrubs and decorated the stone walls with them.  So I was feeling a bit mortified by this time.  Could we be trusted with a larger house seeing that this one was a mess.

I suddenly noticed the washing  that we had all had to negotiate and realised that a great deal of our underwear was on display too.

We all traipsed back through the garage where wet shoes that had picked up hen poo, were now  liberally coated with straw that I use for the chooks bedding . The Rev. and church officers continued their discussions  in the hall, and wandered around whilst chewing over the facts that they had gathered, then all three left to go to other appointments.

I looked at the carpets……. why did I worry it all looked much worse now… outside had come inside and our decor was near  matching the  Hen House. Best get Henry the hoover  and sort it out….think we may need a gardener for a couple of hours a week though!



Having just read the Curates wife’s blog,where I had advised her to have “fun” in the next part of her life , and she was debating what that was , I also got to thinking, what is fun? Admittedly I haven’t had much lately or have I?

When did I last really laugh…

was it when the staff nurse said “I’ll just take your blood pressure..” and switched the machine on, she went over and leant  on the A& E counter waiting for a result.Should I have told her that it wasn’t attached to my arm as a large black balloon emerged over the side of my monitor. We fell about laughing, made worse by her colleague who then played it like the bagpipes.

Was it going out for a walk with my best friend in the pouring rain last week around the Loch , seashore and village while we shared news and funny anecdotes and prayed for friends as we passed their houses. 

Was it at the “Concert” where local folk played Scottish Music live on whistles , accordion and fiddle in a village hall with tables full of cakes and tea, in a fashion only highlanders can do. Our feet tapped out the rythmn on the wooden floor and our hearts danced.

Was it having coffee with a parishioner who told me about her large interesting family and their achievements.

Was it when I was chatting to God, and I think he smiled at my silliness, sometimes He makes me laugh too, and joy bubbles up inside..

Yes, I do have fun, sometimes I just don’t notice!


After only three days…….

I was sitting in my bed reading a magazine wile two young men cleaned my en-suite room. in the adverts they wear suits and bow ties and are extremely muscle bound while they wait on a lounging woman.

Unfortunately mine were wearing green uniforms and plastic aprons. Yes, you guessed it, 3 days after being discharged from hospital , I was back.

My ex son-in-law, I hate calling him that, but thats the way it is, sent me a poster which says “Be Kind To Nurses, They Stop Doctors Killing you.” I and the staff on the ward have laughed about this in the past, but on this occasion it was true.

Being in a rural community hospital in the depths of Scotland, a G.P. I had never met before ,phoned a Registrar 85 miles away who ordered treatment without knowing much about me.

I was so thankful for the experienced Sister (who also works for Marie Curie),who stopped the treatment after one dose.Hence I am still here to tell the tale. She and her colleagues nursed me through some very unpleasant side effects and cuddled me when it all got too much and I cried buckets.

Was it coincidence that she was on duty? No,definitely not, and I praise God for her.

When the shifts change and the staff arrive the patients look on ,usually with relief, but now and again our hearts sink . I do hope that my patients were glad to see me and that I was kind. I learnt a lot the other night , treat people how you want to be treated yourself. Oh yes, thats what Jesus meant when he said ” Love your neighbour as yourself “.

Have I got this…

Have I got this wrong? I spent yesterday in hospital again,with an I.V which gives me painful muscle spasms in my legs but stops my heart going crazy. I had blood extracted, stuff injected and pills to swallow. I was discharged late last night,and came home to soaking wet school clothes hanging on the line,and a house that looked as if world war 3 had broken out. So I fix it.

I get up this morning, get the kids off, feed the hens, clean The Manse in ‘case we get visitors and plan tonight’s meal.

Where is the Rev. you might ask? Wrapped in a blanket on the sofa, he has a nasty cold!Image

Hear no evil, see no evil.

I have been off the air for a week. The thunder rumbled and lightning flashed , then it hit the home hub. We phoned BT, Bangladesh Telecom. A nice lady called “Carol” ?, had the Rev. running around the house with a screwdriver undoing telephone sockets, I imagine if you live in a developing country you are more likely to have tools handy and a bit of DIY knowledge. The Rev. doesn’t, he is excellent at other things but not DIY.

Carol and her colleagues rang back every other day to see if it had miraculously cured itself, but by the fifth day she decided that we might need an engineer. The Rev. was very calm and used his best pastoral voice when speaking to her, while I yelled , “tell the blank blank woman we need a new hub, I have internet withdrawal symptoms, and it’s not nice to witness!”

I am internet dependent, I am lost without being able to see photo’s of my grandchildren, chat to my daughters and son in various parts of the UK. I want to bank , shop, look up information, log into my college account and access my course.I want to surf endlessly to avoid doing housework. How much we rely on technology!

However, I did write a 2000 word essay using BOOKS! Those old fashioned things with pages! The Rev. was quite pleased as his e.mail box was inaccessible and he could get on with hymn choosing and sermons. He may have regretted it today when the total in the box was over 200.

My essay was concerning the elderly in church.Now a  pastoral concern of mine,( that was what the assignment was called ).Our congregation is an Autumn one , to put it poetically. Most have a bit of snow on the roof, if they are not already follicly challenged. But our elderly and least active are in their 90’s, and there are a few.

I was waiting for an appointment at the local surgery, and managed to talk to quite a few parishioners, the surgery and the Co op are always places that you need loads of time! I met a lady who is a stalwart of the church and we swapped diagnoses ,as you do. It turned out that although she is in church every Sunday and sits near the front, she cannot see the Rev. I know of at least  4 others who cannot hear him despite  hearing aids and one completely blind with hearing difficulties. So as I was writing from 1 Timothy 5, I’ll let you look that up, I began to think about ways that we could improve worship for these folk. None as far as I know can sign.Image A screen with subtitles sounds good, but I don’t know how you would sort that out or what cost would be involved, and then there are those who still think that technology is of the devil!

An interesting problem which I will delve into. I take it for granted that I can hear the readings and sermon, how terrible it would be if it was muffled, well not always….didn’t mean it dear!