Sunday, 26 December 2010

On the Feast of Stephen ....

A cold and frosty morning, but 9 brave souls turned out for the Sunday service at 10.30 a.m. Inside the church of St. Michael South Elmham the large Calor gas heater was blasting merrily, keeping the icicles at bay as we sang unaccompanied carols both familiar and less-so.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Just for a change ...

... yesterday I went early-morning shopping to the local Co-op, and decided to throw caution to the four winds and have a freshly-cooked breakfast. The sausage may look burnt, but actually it was nice, albeit slightly crispy at the ends, but at least it was cooked through. Nothing worse than a sausage with a pink middle. The egg was fine, the bacon tasty, and lurking underneath that mound of beans is a hash brown. All it needed was a slice of toast or fried bread, but that would have cost extra, and I've already spend a lot preparing for Christmas.

I might well go back for another breakfast at some point. After all, a single serving is hardly an objective sample.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like ....

Christmas has finally arrived at the Parsonage with the purchase, erection and decoration of this year's tree. I like to leave it until the last minute, but this year I almost left it too late. The usual Nursery I go to had sold out, and the large Garden Centre near Norwich had just two left, and I paid double what I usually do, although it is a nice shape and the right size for my low ceilings.

It's a lot less cold tonight here in the north-eastern Suffolk borders, probably because we have a lot of cloud cover. Much of the snow around the roads has gone, though packed ice is still a problem in the shaded parts of the lanes.

But with snow on the ground, and the possibility of wintry showers forecast for tomorrow, it will be a White Christmas, and even if it doesn't snow on the actual day, it will still be seasonal to sit and look out at from my lounge in front of a burning fire.

Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful ... etc.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Return to the country

A smooth train ride back from London today and a return to the rural ministry straight into several messages from a funeral firm who are trying to arrange a service and burial. Away for just on 48 hours but some people expect me to be instantly available every day. Tough. I need my space no matter how pastoral the demands are. Even Jesus strolled off into the hills every now and again. The needs of the sick and dying didn't stop just because he wasn't around for a short while. Twenty minutes on the phone and most of the arrangements are sorted.

And just to make another point clear - I did not see any students in London yesterday, and I most certainly did not walk around the city with tins of white paint.

Now ... where's that turps?

Thursday, 9 December 2010

London - Day 2

A morning walk up to the Albert Memorial, over the frozen Serpentine, and across Hyde Park to Oxford Street. A rummage around several shops, including Selfridges (somewhat expensive), then down Regent Street for a quick view of Hamleys, and down Piccadilly. I had a look in the permanent market in the grounds of St James church, then continued westwards to Fortnum & Mason. Here the prices were laughable, and I came out without purchasing anything. It was educational to browse, and I discovered that the marzipan fruits that I often make at Christmas sell for about 18.00 (and I would enter the GBP sign if I wasn't using a Mac that only has $). I then strolled back into Knightsbridge and went into the Harrods Food Halls. Here I considered buying a small Stilton cheese at 6.85 that would fit in my empty Harrods Stilton jar at home, but thought better of it, reasoning that I can get a piece of Stilton from a supermarket and put it in the jar and no-one will know the difference.

So apart from a couple of small purchases along the way, I got back to base in Kensington with money still in my wallet. Who says that holidays cost a lot? Or am I just a miserable ageing git who won't spend? (And that's a rhetorical remark rather than a question that needs answering!)

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Since I'm not going to Brugge ....

I've taken a couple of days in London again.

Walking down from St. Paul's I came across the church of St. Martin-within-Ludgate where there was a lunchtime recital just about to begin, so I went in and enjoyed an hour of classical music from the Dego/Leonardo Duo, Francesca Dego on violin and Francesca Leonardi on piano, playing Schumann's Sonato No.1 in A minor Opus 105, Mozart's Sonata in B flat major K.454, and Paganini's Caprices Opus 1, 5 and 10, concluding with his Opus No.8 "Le Streghe". It was a superb hour out of the cold north wind.

My route then took me through Trafalgar Square and down into Kensington where the Natural History Museum has its Winter Ice Rink and glistening trees. All very festive, and tomorrow I shall wander through the shops, probably looking rather than buying as I already have most of what I need for Christmas. But there might be something in Harrods ... so long as it's small and cheap!