Tuesday, 30 June 2009

More reflections on 25 years

It's strange how different the passage of 25 years seems from subjective and objective viewpoints.

When I was 11 and a bit, my parents celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary. Then, and now, looking back at the photographs of their wedding day in May 1939 it seems like a different world, which of course it was.

Pre-war, but with clouds thundering on the horizon, the society that enjoyed those last few weeks of peace was soon to be swept away, and daily life changed out of all recognition. To me it was history, the past, something I read about in books or saw in the flickering black and white images of the old two minutes-worth of movie film taken as the bride and groom exited the church. I had no appreciation of the continuity of their lives from that moment up to the anniversary. I was an objective observer.

Now, subjectively, I look back on my own 25 years, and it seems like the blink of an eye. Yet the early 1980's were also a different world. The Iron Curtain had yet to fall. We worried about IRA bombs rather than those of Muslim extremists. European travel involved border crossings, passport stamps and wonderful currencies. Roads were less congested. Convenience foods were few and far between.

I've been trying to recall how I washed my clothes whilst at Theological College in Salisbury. The College had its own Utility Room, but I don't think I used it more than once. I have faint memories of sitting in a Laudrette in Fisherton Street, and I know I washed some stuff by hand in the bathroom of the "digs" that four of us occupied, but the details are a blank.

Some clergy celebrate their 25th anniversary with a special service or a parish party. That's not for me. Today is a marker on the journey, and gives a certain sense of satisfaction that I've made it this far, but I don't intend to wave flags or inflate balloons.

25 years ago today I first put on a clerical collar. These days I hardly ever wear it. "O tempora o mores!"


  1. Congratulations on the anniversary of your ordination. May God bless you and those you serve with many more years together.

    You look like your father, you know.

  2. 25 years! That's the silver-haired anniversary, isn't it. Yet in the photo, your mother looks most like the queen.

  3. GM - thank you. I think I look more like my mother. It's the frock on Sundays that does it!

    RJ - Silver hairs have been evident for many years ... and centuries past in the family line there is blue blood, so our true nature will always out. You may kiss my ring!

  4. Two years junior to you, its funny how my memory focusses less on the college lead-up to ordination, and more on the laundry!

    As I recall, every other day I did my socks and 'smalls' in the sink in the corridor outside my room. Often sharing the soapy water with Ralph Blackman, Stephen Jones, and others. My main (jeans, trousers. shirts etc) laundry was done weekly at the college laundry room, with the newly installed (1985) high-speed dryer (the hydrostatic extractor!) and tumble driers.

    Ironing What ironing?

  5. You look like your father, you know.


    You look like your mum.

    If there's going to be constant bickering, I'm leaving.

  6. I look like me. It's all me me me me me me me me ....