Archive for June, 2010

Sweet Garden

I just picked my first ever home-grown sweet peas this week. They look a little pathetic climbing the plastic trellis we have up – mostly they are sprawling around at knee height. I think I probably need to work on my gardening (and photography) techniques, but I’m still rather pleased with the result. Look:

They smell heavenly and remind me of my Yorkshire Grandpa, who grew sweet peas and lots of edible things in his long garden.

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Vicarage life this week has been very busy with the addition of the Quinquennial builders. On Monday we spent the morning with seven workers swarming over the house, comprising our normal team of the three jolly lads, their boss & their electrician, the boiler service man AND the washing machine repair man after the laundry emerged smelly on Friday afternoon.

The main project has been painting external woodwork, and the blue I chose last week is being applied today. It’s rather more lurid than I was expecting, but I’m getting used to the cheery tone. They’ve had a cherry picker in too, to reach the eaves of the house, which is three storeys, with 10′ ceilings. Rather them than me up there wobbling about.

It’s been a bit of a hot and sticky week for them, especially for the Jolly Lad who’s been doing the plastering in one of our attic rooms and in the bathroom. I’ve been keeping them supplied with ice lollies as well as coffee.

So here are a few shots to update you on how things are looking:

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Well, actually, it’s not Evensong, here in our more contemporary parish. But it’s our weekly 6.30pm Evening Service. And usually, the Vicar comes home at about 8pm and spends a little time with any still wakeful children (usually the Queen, sometimes the Joker). Then he and I and Happy gather around a plate of cheese and biscuits with maybe a glass of wine or port. We might pray and then we watch some TV comedy on DVD (currently Scrubs and Outnumbered). Sometimes we say Compline together before bed (an innovation since Happy, who’s far more Anglican than we are, has joined us).

A good relaxing way to finish off a very busy day. But last night Happy was out, and this is what the Vicar did when he got back:

The Vicar hard at work

Yesterday afternoon, some local kids were ‘enjoying’ themselves by throwing gravel from our front garden all over our street whilst we were in the house. They were throwing stones at my kids in the garden at one point but once I went to sit out there in the sunshine too, they desisted.

This is just a minor annoyance, but it’s this sort of stuff which wears down folk in our area who are already exhausted by daily life. The loud music played by a neighbour late at night, the kids banging the playground gate repeatedly or throwing stones, other kids smashing glass in people’s recycling boxes, cheek, rudeness, name-calling, lack of respect. Small things, but a massive headache when you live with them day after day.

We don’t know who the gravel culprits are exactly, but we have some very good ideas. Sadly, it’s mainly kids without much to do at home, or with a home situation they like to stay away from. Sunshine is lovely in many ways but it brings out the worst behaviour in youngsters who lack good boundaries and supervision.

This morning the Vicar preached from Colossians 3&4. The tragedy is that so many local children are embittered and discouraged (Colossians 3v21).

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This week our Quinquennial work started. Our Victorian vicarage needs a fair bit of patching up and the diocese very kindly pay for it to be sorted out every five years. The work was identified back in February and we now have three cheery lads stripping paint, sanding things and generally working their socks off to make us look respectable. They’re taking advantage of the good weather to work on the outside stuff just now. All the indoor bits should be done next week.

The photos aren’t great, but they give you an idea of the work that’s begun. More will follow next week as our exterior paintwork changes from faded red to a marine/navy blue. Most of it’s grey just now as they’ve now put the primer on.

I am making a good few cups of coffee and tea. On Thursday I gave them lollies as it was stinky hot by the end of the afternoon.

The woodshed (aka garage) door loses its red paint

Rather blurry picture of the van. This cheery lad spent most of Friday high in the air (we've 3 storeys) painting our eaves.

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I did some gardening at the weekend. To make sure I got it absolutely right, I tried to dress like Alys Fowler. But I only took a piccy of the skirt and wellies, as I’ve a long way to go to grow my hair and make it look all Pre-Raphaelite. I need to dye it red, too.

I’m sort of hoping that if the seeds see the look, they’ll behave as they would for Alys, but I may be being wildly optimistic.

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I saw this today and thought it perfect for some of the paler skinned inhabitants of the Vicarage, given their Scots heritage.

It’s actually a necklace available from MuchTooFun. They also do other Scottish bling:

I think this one would suit me

[HT India Knight]

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My five year old son, the Engineer, is very good at making friends. So when he started telling me about his new friend Cap a few weeks ago, I didn’t think much of it. Then we found out that Cap was living with his mum and her partner, and another couple, just over the road. And the Engineer started talking about wanting Cap to come over to play.

So Cap came to visit us one afternoon after school. The two of them had a very happy time, playing out in our roomy garden. Cap’s house doesn’t really have a garden to speak of, and the small yard there is home to two Staffies. The two boys got on so well. The Engineer started talking about Cap as his ‘best friend’.

Lots of fun with Cap and his family ensued over the following weeks – a trip to the park, a big Sunday barbecue and happy school runs back and forth with chasing and squealing, as little boys love so much. Cap’s mum and her other half joined us at my school parent’s coffee morning. All seemed happy and stable. Cap’s mum told me how contented he was and how he was benefitting from going to school and how much he was loving it.

Then, just before half term, I heard that there were some housing problems and that Cap and his family were having to move out. Some parishioners started looking for suitable housing for them. I spoke to Cap’s mum in the street early in half term week – she looked sad and worried but said they were looking for somewhere new to live. ‘You can always stop with us for a bit if you need to’ I told her, but she said they had some new friends  down the road who’d said they could stay with them.

That was the last time I saw her. Her housemate came over to the Vicarage on Thursday and asked if we’d seen her. She, Cap and her partner had disappeared. And hadn’t paid the rent. And now someone else has told us that they’ve moved to Wales.

I’m glad I knew before school started back. I was able to tell the Engineer. He was amazingly philosophical about it:

Cap is still my friend. And I have lots of other friends.

But still I’m sad for my son, losing a friend he was getting on with so well. But I’m more sad for Cap, who’s moved away from a school where he was happy and beginning to feel settled. I’m sad for his mum & her partner, both barely out of their teens, and both carrying a whole lot of baggage that can’t simply be shed by moving towns.

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