Friday, 7 January 2011

A hip and trendy vicar? Conversations in a Chip Shop

The first (short) week of term is over and I have returned to my weekly commute - and swapping from teacher to curate's wife for the weekend. I feel a lightness in my heart this week - is it because I know that this duel life may have an end date in sight or is it because I actually arrived back on the North coast in day light? The days must be getting longer (although the mornings have seem very, very black at 6.30 when I get up). 
The Curate looked tired and we decided that a fish and chip supper would restore both of us. Fish and chip shops are superb around us and when we found our local chippie shut we were not too perturbed. We decided to cross the river to buy our supper from the fish and chip shop in the pretty fishing village. We were welcomed into the small, warm shop and the owner chatted to us, asking The Curate if he had had a busy day and other small talk. It was all very convivial and The Curate hedged round the questions as it was clear that the Chip Shop owner hadn't realised that The Curate was a curate. With no slip in plastic collar and a checked clerical shirt on, how was he to know? So, feeling sorry for the Chip shop man, I told him The Curate was a curate - explaining it as an apprentice vicar. Well that was it. I thought we were never going to get our supper. At first the Chip Shop man didn't believe it  - saying "but you're so hip and trendy."!! ( On being told about this, youngest son said that the use of those terms meant that The Curate must be about twenty years out of date.) Next, The Curate was asked if he swore. To this he replied that it was quite possible that he did on occasion. Another look of disbelief, then the Chip Shop man asked if he drank. When The Curate said that he brewed his own beer I thought we might have got free chips. There then followed a long discussion on how The Curate got to be a curate and why aren't churches fun. The Chip Shop man was so surprised that The Curate had been a marine engineer prior to training ("You did have to train to be a vicar then?") He wanted to know if The Curate had to read the Bible and did any young people actually go to church? 
By this time I was beginning to think the fish must be burning and I was wondering if we were actually going to get fed. How is it that people have lost touch with vicars - or who has lost touch with whom?  But we were fed - with excellent fish and chips - and the promise that we would be seeing him again. With curious conversations in unexpected places, life certainly doesn't seem to be dull when I am with The Curate!

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