I seem to have spent most of my weekend with animals, I am not speaking about my family!
I have always hated standing around in playgrounds making small talk to other parents, sounds unfriendly, but there is a certain amount of competiveness among Mothers and Fathers,when it comes to their offspring. “My little Alfred can play the fiddle standing on his head and speaks 9 languages fluently”, You know the kind of thing.
Now I have joined another breed of parent, “The Pony Club” set. Oh yes, the green wax jackets. Last term I just sent my youngest off every Sunday morning with her lesson money and let someone elses Mother sit for two hours at the stables and wait, but now it’s on a Saturday and I went along myself.
During “Stable Management” I read my book, all the waiting is done out of doors. I wished that I had worn a few more layers, especially as snow was still on the mountains on the other side of the Loch. I noticed that a few other parents chatted together, but after a few polite niceties, they ignored me. That was fine, I know nothing about how many hands high the new pony is or how little Lucinda did at her jumping.
There were two small terriers running about, so being a doggie person I spoke to them, one jumped onto my lap, he smelt rather suspect, but he did keep my legs warm. I think that his affection had more to do with my daughters packed lunch on the table next to me. A scruffy cat joined us and they were my company, whilst I watched children trot, canter and practise steering their mounts in the right direction.Some were more sucessful than others. The ponies either had a mischevious glint in their eye and took off, or looked bored stiff as yet another child sat on their backs and tried valiently to speed them up or slow them down, the latter proving most difficult, it seemed.
At the end of the session D and I wandered up the road to meet the Rev. The furthest I have walked since surgery. I found that I was feeling the cold more than usual after sitting for two hours, but the walk warmed me up. The Rev. had attended the church coffee morning , promising to pick us up on time, but as our half an hour wait ,turned into an hour and it began to rain heavily I began to wonder if hyperthermia was setting in. He did eventually turn up, claiming he’d had to wait for the hamper draw.
We are also looking after a friends sheep and hens. We dutifully went off to feed them this morning, I let D. take the “nuts” out to the trough as thirteen ewes vied for position and tried to get their heads in the bucket. We fed the rams in another field and stuffed their net with haylage and hung it in a corner of their field, Fed the hens and collected the eggs. D and I walked back to the yard, and watched The Rev, standing gazing across the field, after a while he came back and informed us that he was sure that their were supposed to be only nine ewes, and he thought that we must have allowed the rams in . So I set off across the fiels again counting sheep and having a quick glance at their nether regions. As far as I could see they were all “ladies”, but he insisted that he could only see one ram, so off I went, puffing a bit, I’m only supposed to get back into exercise gently, but it was no good asking the panic stricken one to do it. At the next field three rams were hiding in a corner, one looked at me very slyly, I think they did it on purpose.
Thinking about people who join clubs, or whom we consider to belong to a group with whom we are not comfortable, they could be us in our churches, Do we offer a quick acknowledgement of a visitors’ prescence then continue to chat amongst ourselves. Do we use a language that others do not understand, without even realising that we use “Church Speak” ?, Do we really include new people, especially if they appear “different”.
Thankfully the one who feeds his flock, sees each of us as an individual, each as important and loved as the other.