Missed Opportunity

Nothing like being immured on a wet Welsh hillside for a few weeks, crippled, sick, suffering unimaginable indignities*, for encouraging a definitely different view of the world. Take Eglwyswrw in Pembrokeshire, for example. This is the Welsh village which, three days ago, had endured 82 days of rain.

And all they were wondering was whether they would break the UK record of 89 days held by a Scottish village for the last 92 years! How pathetic! Today’s OT reading should have given them a hint.

Genesis 7:v12 And rain fell upon the earth forty days and forty nights.

That’s just half the time the people of Eglywswrw endured, and survived, thanks to God’s rainbow promise. (Rainbow as in Genesis 9:v13)

So why weren’t they celebrating? Why no great church festival of worship and thanksgiving and joy, and a very definite feeling of “Look at us. We’re Biblical record breakers.” It’s a farming community, for heaven’s sake. Why not a mad, messy service for everyone, including representatives of every living creature in the village, from the school hamsters to the biggest carthorse?

Does anyone still read Dorothy L Sayers? In ‘The Nine Tailors’ there’s a wonderful description of how a village survived a flood, thanks to the church. Having grown up in Christchurch, one of the most isolated of Fenland villages, she knew what she was talking about. Something that comes across in that scene is the sense of exhilaration from triumphing over disaster.

There’ve been more than enough watery disasters this winter, and people have overcome them with cooperation and community spirit. If there have been lots of glorious celebrations in churches in these areas, of thanksgiving and joy at what has been overcome and what has been achieved, I wish they’d been better reported. Welby and Co have played a blinder but pigs in the church porch would make such a welcome change from Primates and sex.

*The ice cold hands of my one and only husband, so far, doing up my bra.

Wales is not for Wimps

I hope you don’t think I’m such a wimp that a mere broken arm would prevent me from blogging for so many weeks. It has taken the might of Storm Frank on Boxing Day to shut me up — or down.

Do you remember the story about St Teresa of Avila, when she was thrown off her donkey into a stream? Bruised and shaken she stood up in the water, looked up at heaven and said, “If this is how you treat your friends I’m not surprised you have so few of them.”

I have felt exactly like that most of this year.

We came home at the end of December to find that the lane leading to our house had been washed away. Wales is not for wimps so the Welsh are endlessly resourceful. At first I thought I might have to be carried home in the bucket of a digger but in the end an ancient Land Rover Defender managed the journey. It had about a dozen gears, but no proper seats. Not quite the mollycoddling pampering I’d got used to in Dubai but we were safely home in time to welcome the New Year.

When we tried to call family in Scotland a few minutes after midnight we discovered the phone was not working. (By climbing further up the hill my son-in-law could get a mobile signal.) My grandson was the first to go to bed. 10 minutes later he was down again to announce that a nest of mice were already sleeping there. Fortunately, there were two other spare beds in the study. Unfortunately, mice had taken up residence there, too.

On Friday morning I was determined to get out a New Year blog to wish everyone a wonderful, ponderful 2016. (No, that’s not a typo.) However, when I tried to publish it I discovered I had no Internet connection either.

The following day friends came from inner-city Liverpool with five children who were delighted to be able to run wild around the fields and woods. Of course they fell over and of course they got gloriously muddy. When we tried to wash off the worst of the grime before tea we discovered that we had no water! No, of course we’re not on mains water. It comes from a well and, probably thanks to Storm Frank, the pump had stopped working and the holding tank was now empty.

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Last Monday BT announced they had fixed our phone and I wrote the above to be posted Tuesday morning. But BT were exaggerating. This Monday I still don’t have a phone, but I did have a flu jab and I do have flu. But this is Wales so I daren’t be a wimp and I do have faith. This will get published sometime!

St Teresa is one of my favourite saints. I feel she would be very happy in North Wales, although I’m not sure what our Bishops would make of her.