Getting to the Holidays
Posted Friday 13 July 2012
Horatio at home
For the first time in a long time, I was unable to do anything but lie in bed, I cannot remember anything about Monday or Tuesday but by Friday I was well enough to welcome the Scouts back to Arpafeelie for their end of session wide game and chat with the Bishop. As usual with groups of young people this lot managed to ask some wonderful questions, to which I hope I gave clear answers.
On Saturday, Inverness was visited by the Dali Lhama, I decided it was right for me to attend the gathering at Eden Court and I was delighted to be introduced to him at the end of the event. The Dali Lhama spoke about the need to look to the next generation and so I might have been more in tune if I had stayed at home and helped with the Bishop Eden’s Primary School picnic. Jane and a group of helpers dealt with this event and as it is the summer of 2012 the picnic took place in Bishops House as the garden was being liberally watered by the rain. I returned home just as the last of the children left and I must confess to feeling pretty guilty for that.
By Sunday morning I felt fit enough to face what was going to be a long day. It started at St Ninian’s, Invergordon. I was to license a new ministry team, all was going well until it was announced that today was the day that the first of people’s favourite hymns would be sung. Everyone had been asked to suggest a favourite and Treasurer Robin’s choice had been first out of the hat. We all sang Silent Night during communion as I kept checking that Father Claude Broun was coping with the extraordinary singing, Claude was smiling and checking that I was coping!
Lunch followed in the church hall and as usual we had good soup and good chat before heading over the Black Isle and down to Nairn. I was the preacher at the Nairnshire Jubiliee service in Nairn Old Parish Church. The service was well attended, The Lord Lieutenant and a senior pupil at the Academy read and during the hymn I climbed into the pulpit and scanned the congregation. I almost jumped out of my skin as a bodiless head floated into view, I then realised that directly in front of the communion table the organ consol was sunk into the floor and the head I could see was the organists. How I wish the organ had been designed to rise up from the floor, sadly it just sat there. The service was followed by tea in the hall and Jane and I then walked briskly to St Columba’s Nairn for more tea and chat before we set off for the final service of the day at Holy Trinity, Elgin.
In Elgin we were celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of Canon Robin Forrest’s ordination to the Priesthood. The church was full and I was delighted to preach my third sermon on a third gospel reading, delighted because I was able to tease Robin and also to remind everyone of his loving and loyal service to our church. Service over and through to the hall for wine and chat before we drove off home, tired again.
I had a quieter day on Monday, but not a lot quieter. I had a couple of meetings in the morning and then a meeting over lunch, with a prospective young ordinand and Canon Alison, back to Arpafeelie for a Grants for Ministry meeting, shared tea with the Dean, celebrated St Moluag in St John’s, Arpafeelie and then ended the day with a vestry meeting at St John’s, Inverness. This was all in preparation for a week in the South.
Tuesday found the College of Bishops in Glasgow meeting with the Roman Catholic bishops, as usual we had a polite meeting before a good lunch and a tour of St Mary’s Cathedral, led by Archbishop Mario Conti. I then headed for Edinburgh and my tiny hotel room. I then went out for dinner with friends and had a couple of drinks with another friend before retiring to my cupboard and preparing for the Provincial Standing Committee meeting the following day. That passed with as much excitement as such a meeting can create, to calm myself down after such excitement I went to look at the tram tracks being laid before I headed back to my garret. Thursday morning I packed my bags and walked to the Overseas Club where for the next two days I was attending a meeting of the College of Bishops. “Which floor is my room on?” “Right at the top, fifth floor!”
I got home on Friday evening to a house full of holiday excitement, term had ended that day and Jane and Mara were free for six weeks, Beth and I were still working of course. In fact the following day we drove to Dornoch to begin the Licensing of Rev Chris Mayo, only the beginning as halfway through we all got in out cars (shared them) and drove to Tain to finish the service. Chris is to serve East Sutherland and Tain and for the first time in a number of years a full time priest took up the challenge of mission in those communities.
On Sunday I celebrated at St John’s, Inverness and experienced some very generous and loving care from a member of the congregation, it is so easy for all the problems to retreat for a moment when someone goes out of their way to care.
Monday and Tuesday saw us drive to Carlisle and back - we went down empty and came back full. All Aidan’s belonging were coming back to Bishop’s House for storage as he sets out on the next part of his journey, university finished, wide world here he comes. There was one emotional moment as he handed me his cuddly toys, realising that a few weeks of moving form floor to floor and guest room to guest room precluded any extra baggage. He handed me Horatio to look after for him, Horatio hippo was the cuddly I bought him the day he was born!
Not long now and our first real holiday in nearly a year and a half will begin, we are getting ready, girls packing but still two great events to preside at. On Saturday I conducted the Wedding of Saul and Helen at St Margaret’s Aberlour, Helen having been brought up in the family of St Margaret’s and on Wednesday in Gordon Chapel, Fochabers I presided over the wedding of Thomas and Kristina. Thomas Forshaw was a server in Elgin and his mum is one of our Priests. Two great days and two good dances.
Today is Friday, tomorrow we head off to pitch the tent, here comes the sun!