localfreak: avatar which I have used as mine since scarboard days 10 years ago (Default)
Can't believe it's been so long since I posted (also I am currently not receiving comment notifications so if I have neglected to respond to you, apologies). I've started a few posts but never had the concentration nor the heart to finish them.

St Raphael's has closed. Today is the first weekend without that stalwart family in my life. Mum and I went to evening Mass at the church I go to sometimes when I'm visiting friends nearby, and cased the joint for disabled access for Nanny. That meant I had nothing to do this morning until going round to cook the dinner at about 11ish (Nanny would've put the beef in herself).

I did not like that. I had a decadent lie in, dressed with classical music film scores playing, had breakfast (I don't, usually) and then tried to be productive by gathering up all of the Christmas decorations, wrapping paper, boxes and piling them on my bed to be sorted into new containers. After dinner Mum and I sorted them and they have FINALLY gone in the loft! Huzzah!

Now I can see portions of my room again which is nice, and also it means that I can't get away with going "oh I can't sort this out now because all that is Christmas stuff and we need two people for lifting those".

Overall though the house is worse than ever, but that couldn't be helped. The Powers That Be announced on Wednesday that the locks to St Raph's would be changed on Saturday (you know, to stop us secretly saying prayers or whatever, bastards) which meant that Mum & Nanny among with plenty of other people then had only Friday, after the last Mass on Thursday night to get out all their stuff that isn't the Church's (such as my mum's craft supplies she bought for children's liturgy and her books and my Auntie's bicycle and my Nanny's vases and so on). So of course it is all here in our house (or Shed, in the case of the bike which has been living under the stairs of the priest house for twelve months). Mum said afterwards Nanny was fretting too about my Auntie Nik's mirror which was donated to the cause of the disabled bathroom. It was a huge monstrous thing and quite frankly if Auntie N was still alive she would be the first person to go absolutely mental at the idea of my Nan wanting to hoard it away as a memory. She DID NOT DO holding on to stuff like that (apart from, weirdly, paperclips I found out...). Anyway it was too late to go back for it anyway which was a slight relief for all (there is NO WHERE TO PUT IT)

Just got in from rehearsal this evening. It wasn't as cheering as normal but then it's been so grey and miserable all day nobody's bound to be in much of a good mood. And the director is getting really frustrated with the amount of cast who basically can't manage to turn up on time (or some at all) so he's putting on the pressure with how little time we really have in rehearsal time before the show. GULP!
localfreak: avatar which I have used as mine since scarboard days 10 years ago (Default)
Nanny is home from hospital so that is very good. My mum and Aunties have been staying with her each day, making sure she eats and drinks as she didn't do much of either when she was in hospital and is weak with it. I am still not clear on exactly what the diagnosis has been except that "they are trying to manage it conservatively with a combination of beta blockers and some other tablets". I might learn more on this when I see her. My lurgy is slowly clearing but I have still been kept away as I am still coughy and cattargh-y and I certainly don't want to risk Nanny catching it.

I have been very slow at work since I went back on Wednesday but I have been trying to just plod on and do a bit- it does mean that things are still building up to bite me on the rear but at least I can comfort myself that less is building up.

There is so much parish politics building I can't even-. Tomorrow I'm off to serve at a "special" Mass for the Altar Servers. I have been watching my mum in between running back and forth to the hospital/looking after the dogs/doing Nanny's messages with Nanny being ill, doing the shop and the flowers for St Raphael's and St Bede's, making booklets, writing out certificates, threading the red thread on the new medals. Whilst the others in the "team" (all men) send paltry emails with inaccurate or vague answers and - what?- sit the fuck back.

Honestly, whilst off ill I finished writing the last booklet for them and designing it, watched Mum take it off to print it then spend an evening stapling copies together and it really is enough to make converting to Quakerism really, really appealing.

Quakers don't have ministers and servers and priests- sexist or otherwise. They just ...sit. In silence.

10 minutes of all this *waves in an expressive manner* and it sounds JUST PERFECT. I had to resort to googling newsfeeds on Super!Pope Francis to make me feel better.

Pope Washes Young Offenders Feet At Holy Thursday Mass- Including Women

Time Is Running Out To Fight Climate Change Pope Tells Summit

Pope Francis ditches the red shoes

Pope suprises Nuns with a voicemail
localfreak: avatar which I have used as mine since scarboard days 10 years ago (Default)
Well the Christingle & Nativity Pageant, our twentieth and final one, has happened. I am exhausted, the house is a tip and we have no decorations up.

So it's looking to be the usual Christmas situation then. The service went well I think. Well, actually, it was manic chaos as happens when the vast majority of your cast are under five, but people left smiling, saying how much they enjoyed it- and how sad they all are that it will be ending.

I don't know where we will be next year. Or even in eight weeks time I'm not-. Chloe said, when she realised the whole to do was started two years before she was born (and boy did that make me feel old. I was eight!) that "she didn't know how to feel about that". That's kind of how I feel. Everyone's Christmas cards from church say things like "thank you for everything over the years"- it is a breaking of a family, a community, and yet we knew it would come. We knew it would happen. We are helpless to prevent it. God works in very mysterious ways.
localfreak: avatar which I have used as mine since scarboard days 10 years ago (Default)
Aaand cue pre-Christmas turmoil.

This morning I ended up going out with mum and we bought an excessively large number of oranges and some sultanas and took them home to make Christingles. I also, whilst mum was at church setting out the costumes, managed to wrap some of her presents on the sly so that was good.

We then put some Christmas music on and sat getting increasingly sticky from orange juice and threading nuts and sulatnas on cocktail sticks. This will be the last Christingle and Nativity Paegent at our church but I have to say, as depressing as the thought is, I will NOT MISS making bloody Christingles at all. I do hate getting my hands dirty.

In the meantime Auntie Maura and Uncle Paul were battling the plumbing at my Nanny's trying to install new things in the bathroom. Things went wrong, I understand, so the next thing I know I was called to walk the dog and have subsequently had several rows and conversations in which everyone told Nanny to come and stay with us for the night as she has no running water and she adamantly refused citing a thousand reasons and basically just refusing to be swayed. After trying telephone negotiations I gave her an hour (during which Mum got upset feeling like no one actually likes to visit us in our family and are we really so horrible that they wouldn't come and stay? and I got upset because I hate rows and stubborness and the pressure was on now that all my Aunties and Uncles were expecting me to enforce what they had decreed, which I knew that if Nanny was being stubborn there wasn't anything I could really do and so I mostly made tea and cried in the kitchen). I then went round to try a face to face debate including using the "I know you'll be fine but please would you just do this for me and my sake because none of my Aunties will ever speak to me again if you don't comply they'll all blame me and hate me forever?" tack to no avail and I was forced into a retreat.

Tomorrow will be: Mass in the morning, followed by making a quick dinner for Nanny and anyone else who is around, iron the costumes, set up the church, check the music and then NATIVITY PAEGENT. It is lovely but it is increasingly stressful as I don't even know if our usual Wardrobe Mistress will be coming and so it might just be me and Mum and I do a lot of the setting up these days, including compering, ushering, booklets, music and sound tech etc but I really REALLY don't to getting the kids into their costumes. I leave that to those more talented than I.
localfreak: avatar which I have used as mine since scarboard days 10 years ago (Default)
Mass was hard today. I was serving solo with one of the least-liked priests we've got. He's weaselly, snide and astoundingly sexist and dismissive. There have been a few run-ins already. Mum very politely did not correct his Latin, which he was declaiming at her to demonstrate his surely superior knowledge of everything. *scowls*. Endeavoured to behave myself, respect the cloth if not the man, as a wise lady once told me, but honestly it was like serving for the most objectionable teenager-!

We have so few Masses left to us, I wondered idly if a petition could be made to only get Fr Tony and Bish John who we like, until they close us?

To make the mood much worse the hymns were absolutely dreadful. Not a whiff of 'O Come O Come Emmanuel', some misery-making one at the begining and two desultry 'chants' at Offertory and Communion. I didn't sing the latter one- fed up of it! Made me recall that line from Goodnight Mr Tom "Yer call that singing? You're meant to raise them up not bury them!" (paraphrasing).

Anyway, the weather (I'm British, I'm blogging about the weather. I'm sorry. But not that sorry. It's a reflex.) was sudden downpours of rain and hail interspersed by sun, so Auntie Irene was not best pleased as she wanted to get out and brush the water off the veranda. She was then subsequently even less amused as she was going to go and get petrol and went out to find her car has gone kaput. Uncle Paul said it is a garage job (he was a mechanic by trade for years) and our other family experts concur with this so I have a horrible feeling that she's going to be wanting money for Christmas- the dog's vet bills have already been high enough lately.

Cooked the dinner, did a quick nip to the shops for work-supplies and then a quiet couple of hours washing up and then scrubbing the bathroom. Rock and roll lifestyle. Oh, and watching Songs of Praise which had much better bloody hymns so there.

Trying not to thing about tomorrow. Oh heavens. Bloody conference. Shitshitshitshitshitbuggerwhatzitpoo.
localfreak: avatar which I have used as mine since scarboard days 10 years ago (Default)
So in just about an hour I will be picking up my cassock, medal and belt and being dropped off at St B's to serve at the Welcome Mass for our new Archbishop. The one who has the somewhat unenviable task of approving the plans to knock down St Raphael's. I don't blame him for it- no matter whether he approves the (frankly, rather dumb) plans the 'team' has 'put forward' or whether he knocks them back- either way our days have been numbered a long time and the new guy doesn't even know anything about the area that would enable him to make a decision weighted on more than what 'the team' plans to tell him.

I am very nervous about this Mass. Not because it is the Archbishop, I've done this shebang before, but to me a Mass of Welcome should be about being friendly to him, saying 'Hi, welcome, we don't bite or hate you or anything,' and this really, really isn't. It is political. I have little option but to serve because Napoleon has been put in charge and he already thinks little enough of me and our little group at St Raphael's and at least one of us needs to be there to show face and the girls simply will not go. But also Terry, who serves in the week, can't go due to a bereavement in the family so I have no idea who will be there, if there will be any friendly faces at all or if it will all be look-down-the-nose-ing and supercillious self-importance. Also the local team is having a home match with one of our biggest rivals, the Wolves, so the Mass may be raather a poor show. (And Hahaha to whichever eegit planned that one) I don't know whether this will mean we will get only a small number of servers- which looks decorus but I don't like serving at St B's because I never know where anything is- or if it will be similar to the last joint Mass we did for something which was, quite frankly, a farce in which the servers more than outnumbered the priests- it looked absolutely bloody ridiculous.

I have told mum to please have a bottle of ale waiting for me when I get home. I'm sorry, God, but I need something to get me through this without having to bite my tongue in two.
localfreak: (BAH!)


Mum and I were going to go the pictures this evening to see Ruby Sparks but when I got in she'd forgotten about it and had already started cooking tea. So I finished my Nationalism work instead and now my wrist is killing and my hands have lost most of their circulation (so forgive any excessive typos). I'm thinking we might go tomorrow or Friday and I was going to treat her to a meal. The only issue with going on Friday is that our meals are limited now that the Church has gone back to specifying the old Fish Rule. There is a Frankie and Bennys, A Carvery and a Nandos near to the pictures - I haven't been in either Frankie and Bennys or a Nandos but I thoroughly expect a great deal of meat-based items on the menu.

I wanted to treat her because Parish Politics went mental in the last couple of weeks and she is now giving up volunteeing and doing the Newsletter and the Mass Intention Lists and everything. I'm not going to go into huge amounts of detail why because it is long, complicated and probably very boring for anyone not directly involved but basically it comes down to the fact that Ole Punch is a wanker, and was rude and horrible and quite frankly people should know better than to be evil and hurtful to people who volunteer to help you. The past week has been a huge faith-test really (actually the faith in God isn't the problem, just in people particularly those who should be fucking better representatives). I've had this before with the odd priest and it really isn't new in that sense (when I was about ten or eleven one old lady who didn't approve of the way one of the priests spoke to his servers- me included- told me her Mum had said to her 'if you can't like the man then dislike the man, respect the cloth' and I take that as some comfort. This is the first time that any priest though has every actually caused hurt to One of Mine. Me? Yeah I'm a wimp, I've had a few moments in the past- even with Ole Punch himself once or twice now, but my mum? No way. So I'm still very very angry about it, and obviously she's upset still so I want to try take her mind off it. Doesn't help of course that between people dying and now this means that her social calendar's going a bit bare and I'm going to have to be creative I think in coming up way to help fix this.

Anyway so that's that. I met up with C from Uni at the weekend too and we went for a meal then at Patisserie Valerie in Liverpool, which was very nice and so I also think that maybe going out for a nice meal is just a generally good idea. We are not a family who often do this ever and I find I do actually quite enjoy it; it feels decadent and luxurious and hopefully other people will feel the same way.

Slowly I am coming to terms with my new phone- I definitely like being able to text people when I like without worrying about whether I've enough credit on which is a major plus, but it's just trying to work out different apps and things (any reccomendations on fun apps would be much appreciated by the way, hint hint) I took the above picture on instragram (provided it comes out when I click post) but I still am not 100% I get how it works so it's all very new. And All Tony Stark's Fault- don't forget.
localfreak: avatar which I have used as mine since scarboard days 10 years ago (Default)
I have finished reading The Chalice by Phil Rickman. I love that book. It takes me time to go through but just...woah. Right now I'm sitting back and just digesting it, breathing, taking it all in. I love many Phil Rickman books because they are historical and magical, clever and creepy and somehow Things Seem To Happen when one reads them- strange co-incidences which, as comes up several time in this book, coincidences seem to happen an awful lot when the spiritual gets involved.

I'm trying to fix in my mind, too, my holiday experiences. I managed it last time with the last trip to Spain so that I can conjure it up and remember as close and real as I can the smells, the sounds and also the atmosphere. I want to keep that with this holiday too- everything from tramping up the road putting the fear into tractors and standing on gates to get a better look at the Tor warmingly pleasant in the distance- even the sound of cows making brontosaurus noises!

Work is incredibly stressful, and really not helped by problems with my course and e-enrolment for this term. All very frustrating.

I am serving at St John Fisher tomorrow night, they're doing some kind of Novena thing- I volunteered but I have to admit there are political reasonings that are not particularly high-minded involved. Nanny went (in the downpour!) yesterday to the one at St Bede's and she said it was a wash out (ha) and nothing like a proper Novena service-thing. Not that I've ever been to one, anyway so I suppose I won't know much different. I would like to say I will spend it as a time of spiritual musing and peaceful prayer but I've never served at St JF's before and, as I said, everything like this these days is a political minefield. Ah, parish politics.
localfreak: (carryon)
I want to take a moment to write about a topic that I've, thus far, kept my mouth well shut on: gay marriage. More specifically, gay marriage and the Catholic Church.

I know. If you're like me your immediate response to the above sentence will be either "Oh no, another person babbling on about it? As if I don't get enough of that!" or a feeling of deep trepidation, because whatever happens, whatever I write is likely to upset someone, and they probably won't agree with me.

Putting it under a Cut Because Long )
localfreak: (Mr Toad in Rehearsals Cosgrove Hall)
Happy Easter to all!

The euphoria is well-founded considering how excellently the servers coped considering none of us had much of an idea what was going on and no time at all with which to formulate any real sort of plan. But we survived and it looked good and nothing went disasterously wrong. Although I confess to being shocked at "heathens" at the back. During communion I took the jug of new holy water down to fill the empty stoops and I was truly FOLLOWED by people as they hurried to dunk a hand into the water and get out of church! Mass wasn't finished! One woman actually asked me, "Where do we get bottles of the holy water that Father mentions?" and I just blinked at her and explained th water was in the font at the front and she could collect some after Mass- to which she gave a look of disdain and left.

I do not usually encounter the "heathens", as they are called. Being a server means I am up at the front from before most people arrive and we do not usually come down to the back to the end procession. I know that some people do leave before the final prayer- certainly I hear the tuttings-over of that kind of behaviour (except of course when there is good reason) but to witness people actually fleeing as if to say "We came, we got, quick splash of the water and we're clear" was quite shocking.

Anyway it was all okay and we survived, dripping from holy water and my nerves jangling like taught strings but all is good and lovely and happy and yay.

Now I'm going to slope tentatively off into a quiet corner where looming deadlines terrify me into inertia. I may also take my modest collection of chocolate eggs with me for company.
localfreak: avatar which I have used as mine since scarboard days 10 years ago (Default)
...staying home. Wait- what?

Really. I can't actually remember if I've coherently blogged about it this year or not (I did have a mega rant on facebook) but the Parish Politics means that St Raph's has nothing for me to do until Easter Sunday.

Whilst I was on holiday my mum did get a couple of badly-written sheets of paper telling me to "Inform what out of the listed services below the servers will be attending" for today (there's only one at St Mike's, which is miles away, tomorrow 'Adult Stations of the Cross at St Raph's' (I'll come back to this one) or something else that was incorrect but what they meant was 'Veneration of the Cross' (at St Bede's) or The Easter Vigil (at St Mike's, probably won't finish till midnight, no buses). and then I was to "submit this slip to A Bloke Who Was Once A Scoutmaster and Thinks That Makes Him King". Erm. No.

There are hardly any services across the area: that means that there are MOUNTAINOUS AMOUNTS of servers. At Veneration of the Cross you need AT MAXIMUM three servers, and this is when you've got one priest who is perhaps old or frail and can't hold the cross up for the duration. At Stations of the Cross you don't need servers, Maundy Thursday you need a maximum of three- two is perfectly do-able and at the Easter Vigil there will be no less than 5 priests and a deacon already present. With 1 priest you ideally want 4 servers, but I when I was around twelve served it On My Own with 1 priest and a deacon. St Mike's has their own servers plus, we can safely assume, the officious twonk who wrote the slips, plus in all probabilty several other of the adult servers who are the type to go to that service anyway. It's all a case of too-many-cooks.

In Addition The Powers That Be have decreed that the Adult Stations of the Cross, which have always run at St Pius will be at St Raphs, whilst the Children's Stations, which have always been at St Raphs, will be at St Pius. AT THE SAME TIME.

As nobody in St Pius or St Raphs wanted this change because people were quite happy going to their preferred service for the past nine years, there is next to no buy in so we're pretty much running the show. Well, Mum. But I have to be there, I'm always there and they've no chance of getting any of the servers under me at the Adult Stations because they are all children

If it wasn't for doing the children's stations I was thinking of spending the next few days in Lancaster as the chaplaincy centre there is so REFRESHINGLY FREE from this kind of narkiness that comes of officious cliques and centuries of grudge matches.

Don't get me wrong, tomorrow is going to be horrendous combining fasting with dealing with potentially many people in a venue we barely no and with next to no support is going to be FRAUGHT, but once that is over I will have Nothing To Serve At - and no services to go to- until Easter Sunday.

It's actually quite sad. And bewildering. I don't think I've ever had so little to go to for Holy Week before. I mean I only started serving and going to the veneration of the cross in recent years because before that I always served Maundy Thursday and the Vigil and then did the children's stations Friday morning, so Friday afternoon I would collapse in a tired heap at Nanny's for a bit as my mid-way recovery period before the vigil.
localfreak: avatar which I have used as mine since scarboard days 10 years ago (Default)
So I went to [personal profile] still_lycoris’ birthday party yesterday and brought cakes inspired for the book Auntie Nicola got me for my own birthday which Nanny and I had been working on for three days :) was very pleased with them!

pics under the cut )

Anyway the party was greatly fun and entertaining and side-splittingly humorous which was most enjoyable.

Today was the "Family Mass" which has caused so much contention in the planning and much disruption of our humble hovel. It was also the day that we had the New Translation in action in our own church for the first time. So naturally one of my altar servers phones up sick and my other older one doesn't appear (this is not unusual due to the fact her father has never been one to be concerned about either waking her up if she oversleeps, or informing me/us/her if she is going to be somewhere else one weekend. It's...weird, but has always been this way) So, Mum needed kids for this Mass anway and I was all "get the new ones before they get here because it's fine, I can do it on my own and if one of them got to and not the other the other would be really upset" but what naturally happens is both of the little 'us turns up and were all ":( I want to serve. I can do it!" Which is great! Despite my blind panic! Anyway put me to shame because they did exceptionally well. I was a nervous wreck of course but they both did the acolytes and managed it all extremely well- a couple of polishes and they've both got that down pat. It just goes to show it's been so long since I trained up young ones that I forget the whole 'just throw them in and see if it works' approach does sometimes have something to be said for it.

So that's also over. Which is a major relief. Not that I think that will mean much in the long run but it's something.

I haven't really been mentioned all of the family Mass and parish politics stuff much to people. Mostly because it's just so bloody frustrating but also because all these changes really do seem to be rocking around with people- and mostly the mood isn't a happy one. And it's all rather negative and picky and there's not really much to articulate but there are...worries...undercurrents? There's been a real sense of Things Afoot, and as with any change, it is not being met with ease but with a sort of raising of hackles. Stupid little comments about reasserting authorities and not listening and side swipes that are all rather shaking. I'm used to the usual pissing contests and backbiting- I don't necessarily like any of it but I thought I'd got pretty immune to it over time- or at least learnt to manage it all better- but this is...shaky. Uncertain. And now I'm spouting bollocks as my bathwater grows cold.

Tis nothing. Probably an undigested piece of beef,a blob of mustart, a crumb of cheese etc etc babble babble.

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localfreak: avatar which I have used as mine since scarboard days 10 years ago (Default)
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