A New Experience

Life at Hargreaves Towers is very much in “calm before the storm” mode. Except is it very stormy here at the moment as it is in most of the South and West of Britain. I seem to vaguely remember being talked into moving here because this was the Riviera of England. We expected to spend our evenings sitting in the back yard sipping cocktails batting away mosquitoes. I was not ready for putting towels up against the doors to stop the rain getting in or tying down the garden furniture to avoid chasing it down the road before it damages life and limb as the wind whips it through the back alleys of Plymouth. I want my money back. When does it get all balmy round here?
Anyway, as I was saying, all is calm here as the preparations for December and indeed within that month, Christmas, are about to begin. Before that, we have a parents evening to negotiate. I like to go and harangue teachers as early as possible in the evening because, in my experience, they tend to get a bit grumpy once it gets past 5pm. That’s a bit rich because, usually the reason it is running late is because they have spent more than their allotted 17 seconds per pupil talking to some idiot parent about a mutual shared history at Heart of England University where there were both heavily involved in the Deep Purple Appreciation Society. Do not do this now! Go to the pub afterwards! After we have spoken to you, we have approximately 14.8 seconds to negotiate three flights of stairs to get to the Drama Dept., only to find that he is running an hour behind because he has been showing some poor sap his Malvolio, which he created for the Leamington Spa Dramatic Players in 1994. We then usually retire to McDonalds which is a traditional treat for FOW2 if she gets a good report. Remind me again? Who is it who benefits from our offspring getting good results? Me or HOH? I think not. So why do we have to pay for tea?
I have done a few shopping lists. Money is being transferred from savings accounts ready to be spent. Amazon baskets are being filled. HOH and I have agreed on a few dates. One is when the Christmas Tree will go up. I would like it to be up when FOW1 returns from uni so it will be a bit like “Driving Home for Christmas” but good. HOH, who feels that Christmas decorations make the place untidy, likes to leave it longer. Much, much longer. One year, we were stopped in the street and asked if we had become Jehovah’s Witnesses as it didn’t seem like we were bothering with Christmas this year. So we have compromised and we are doing it on the day I want it done.
This morning we went to a Church of England service. (Long story) It was my first Anglican service that wasn’t a wedding/funeral/Nativity/Seminar on “Sharing” and it was really good. Really normal. I wasn’t really sure what to expect. Possibly a lot of Call and Response and altar kneeling. But it was fine. We were a bit terrified by “Sharing the Peace” but this just seems to mean getting up and after saying “Peace be with you.”  to as many people as possible, chatting merrily about garden furniture being blown over your wall and damaging your pergola. In the Baptist church, we have a thing where we “Say the Grace to one another” This involves saying Grace while looking round at people and saying the Grace to them. I can’t say I am that comfortable with it but, over time I have perfected my own technique of saying the Grace while moving my head from side to side in an encouraging way without actually making eye contact with anyone. This only fell apart a little when I told a friend about it and he now leans out from wherever he is sitting in church and stares at me until he gets my attention. He thinks this is funny.
So C of E was good, really good. I have a strong non-conformist background which, in my younger days, could lead to some quite intolerant behaviour. I am not proud of it. As I have got older, I am less sure of many of my old certainties. I am certain about this though. God was there this morning. We felt him in the quiet, “getting on with it attitude” of his people and their friendliness to us. Was a bit disappointed we didn’t sing “O Jesus I have promised.” but you can’t have everything.



  1. November 25, 2012 / 8:50 pm

    Come to my church and I'll sing it for you, though I doubt our organist would know how to play it!
    Jane x

  2. November 25, 2012 / 10:39 pm

    Great hymn. My hope to follow Julie…

    Was in a meeting recently where the leader said "We will close by saying the grace together" and THEN said "May the blessing of…" just as everyone else said "The Grace of…" and nobody quite knew what we were supposed to be saying, And the less spiritual among us had to avoid eye contact for fear of giggles. Oh dear!

  3. November 27, 2012 / 9:08 pm

    I like your definition of 'compromise'. I also like your 'grace' friend who thinks he's funny! Hahaha.

    • November 27, 2012 / 9:11 pm

      p.s. Parent's evenings are entertaining when you home educate. Tee hee.

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