Posts Tagged ‘Vicarage Hound’

There was some bright sunshine as I walked the Vicarage Hound this morning, as well as a stiff breeze. The stonemasons working on repointing the church building at the moment reported that it was a bit bracing where they are working up the scaffolding on the South side.

To get to our most local park I walk past the church, down the stubby road where the drug dealers often lurk, and then along the Metro path. There’s a patch of wasteground there, between the back of our church school and the allotments. You can cut down through it to the entrance to the park, although I walk further on and enter the park by the tiny concrete skate park, just by the next Metro stop down.

Sometimes you can find people drinking in the wasteground, or even consuming more noxious substances. And last summer someone set up a pretty serious camp, with tents and old wooden doors and washing lines. It’s pretty scruffy there – people drop their beer cans and other litter and sometimes there is some more substantial flytipping. The trees and plants aren’t really tended at all, but we’ve found a mix of maples and sycamores growing, along with brambles and other messy bushes.

And silver birches seem to do well there, especially right by the path. And today the sunshine lit up their bark, showing the intricate broken patterns. Peeking past the trees on the edge of the wasteground, you can see newer, skinnier trees growing up, with smoother shinier bark. Old beauty growing out of simpler beginnings, in amongst the mess and debris. Works of the Lord’s hands. Praying that I would see that beauty in all the intricate broken patterns I encounter in the people of this messy parish and beyond.

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On Saturday afternoons I head to the Secret Field with the Vicarage Hound. There we meet up with an enthusiastic retired greyhound for a run about. The Vicarage Hound is rather put out that the greyhound is faster than him, but is always excited to meet up. On the way to the field today, there were some signs of Spring.

Some gentle Spring emerging

There was a steady drizzle as we waved to each other across the field and the dogs sniffed about and occasionally legged it. Another couple of dogs were paying a visit, a busy Westie and a nervous whippet, who thought that both the big sight hounds were too scary to chase, even though I’m pretty sure she’d have given them a good run for their money. The Westie definitely made a valiant attempt to show the big boys how to play enthusiastically though.

Springy dogs and Spring flowers. And definitely Spring weather – there was an odour of wet dog for quite a while once we ended up back at the Vicarage.

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The boys have been somewhat resistant to exercise that isn’t the gym, taekwando, bouldering or school sports. But today we insisted they venture outside with us and the Vicarage Hound. They emerged, blinking, into the afternoon and we all went down to the secret field, hidden just at the top of the park, near to the gate where we come in. In deference to the Engineer’s desire to not actually really walk anywhere we took a tennis ball and the favourite floppy ring frisbee and installed ourselves in the field.

The Vicarage Hound is very keen on the frisbee, which he can catch in the air, and loves to shake vigorously to ensure its complete surrender. The Vicar and the boys threw the frisbee around and the Vicarage Hound ran between them, at full racing tilt, occasionally successfully grasping the prey and then looping around the field to remind us all that he is by far and away the fastest runner in the family.

I am a little embarrassed to report that I, meanwhile, walked gently round the outside of the field, looking at Spring flowers and tree buds. Although I was taking my exercise more gently, I did have to bellow instructions when the Vicarage Hound took an impressive tumble on an unsuccessful mission to take the frisbee in the air. In his usual fashion when sustaining a minor injury, he held his paw up and whimpered pathetically. No amount of patting on the back was enough to comfort him. The boys had not realised that a sore foot requires attention. You have to look at it properly like a medic called out to a footballer clutching a hamstring. Then you have to stroke the afflicted leg tenderly before the hound will even attempt putting it back on the ground. This is then followed by a limping walk for ten paces or so until, to everyone’s relief, normal service is resumed.

After all the dashing about, and the pseudo injury, the Vicarage Hound took a well earned rest on the grass whilst the rest of us continued with our vigorous and not so vigorous exercise. He has barely moved all evening, and the boys have been much jollier, so I think we were successful in our government mandated exercise: happy teens and dog make for a far better lockdown.

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Into the second week of lockdown and, in common with the rest of the country I’m sure, things are somewhat unravelling here in the Vicarage.

The Engineer has had to deal with double woes today, not even including having to do homeschool. Since there are no leaving things on the bus woes at the moment, we have had to find them somewhere else. And so it proved. Last night he’d left his headphones on his computer screen and caught his feet in the wire, pulling the screen over onto its face. When he came down this morning he found that the screen was completely borked. There’s a new one on its way, but until then there will be some less pleasing gaming, which is important when you’re 15.

After recovering from that shock, he took solace in playing the piano, only to find that the D and E flat keys above middle C were sticking together. I’ll not tell you how the Vicar dealt with the sticking keys, in case you know anything about pianos ought to be mended, but now the D doesn’t play at all but at least it doesn’t play the wrong note. We can live with that until the piano tuner is allowed out again.

Anyway, after that start, I asked the Vicarage Hound what he thought about it all. And he gave a very considered opinion. Since I last blogged WordPress has disabled videos, so I’m afraid you’ll have to click through, but I think what he has to say is worth hearing.

Blond lurcher looking thoughtful

The Vicarage Hound being thoughtful



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It’s been another mad busy day in the Vicarage, wrangling technology, reformatting flyers and delivering service sheets and information to parishioners. Our first online service is broadcast tomorrow. And tomorrow we’ll see if it works…

So here, to clear my head, and for some Saturday evening cheer, are some snaps from this week – life in the Vicarage and Spring in the Valley: daffodils and hawthorn in bloom, the Vicarage Aslan guarding our front door, a lunch made and arranged artistically on a plate by the Joker, a bunch of Mothering Sunday flowers sent by the Queen, the Vicarage Hound gazing longingly at a crisp in my hand.

There is still beauty and joy around, even when things are busy and messy and scary. Looking at beauty and joy captured on camera – and even arranging the photos in a pleasing layout – helps my messy head to remember it. And that helps me to remember that the Lord, the Lord who created beauty and joy, reigns.

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