Saturday, 30 April 2011

Sustaining rural villlage life - bring, buy, barter, be a part - belong.

Clams (and mussels and oysters) for sale in the village on Saturday morning - lunch sorted!
The church with a crooked spire.
The reading rooms
Welcome to the small South
Devon village of Ermington.
This is where I spend my working week so I can commute to work. Here I am not 'The Curate's wife'.

We have lived here for over twenty years and enjoyed the changing rhythms of village life.I have written before about the difficulties of living in a village when petrol costs so much and central Government seems to care only for those who live in cities. It is a case of having to help yourselves when the post office (which was also the only shop left in the village) closes

Ermington has a reputation for arranging community events. Years ago we helped to organise the Golden Jubilee celebrations. There was a millennium party and fireworks and New Year's Day walks. The village is lit up each Christmas with lights and there are Carols in the village centre. There is a rhythm to  village life - sometimes people are enthusiastic and there is no difficulty in getting people to muck in. Other times a few individuals are the driving force. For some years now, there has been a village fund committee who drive forward community events. Since the post office was closed,  people found that they were missing the social aspects of shopping in the village on a Saturday morning. A community shop would be too difficult to keep open in such a small village as ours, but there was a decision to try a fortnightly market. Here people could meet, sell, buy or swap produce and crafts - as the slogan says - ' bring, buy, barter, be a part - belong.' The first market held in March was a great success- read the press release here.  
I guess the Government would say this is what they mean by 'The Big Society'. Ermington has proved that it is a resilient village and it has had to learn to deal with the lack of Government interest in rural living long before any 'Big Society' label.

Thursday, 28 April 2011


Word cloud made with WordItOut

Tuesday, 26 April 2011


  Pulled - shackled - chained - attached - linked - strengthened 
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. 

Sometimes I feel torn between two worlds. I guess that's what is going on now. We had a fantastic Easter service led by The Curate and our youth and family worker. We have had beautiful weather and I have been with The Curate for over three weeks - and now we are back to the travelling routine. I don't want to be doing it. I am seriously beginning to question whether I should carry on working despite the fact that we are moving very shortly which will make it easier for me to work. I guess it is because I am unsettled at the moment but I can also feel a change in my attitude to being a curate's wife. I even considered striking through the 'reluctant' in the title of this blog - so it becomes 'The (reluctant) curate's wife'. I never thought I would feel like this. 

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Four weeks to our move and a gardening challenge. New word of the month is TRUST .

The new project.
In four weeks time we will be unloading the lorry and moving into the new house. I have very mixed feelings about it. If you have followed these blogs, you will know how difficult The Curate and I  find the separation and travelling, due to me not getting a job on the north coast and not wanting to give up work (which is situated on the South Coast.). The sun is shining, the sea is beckoning and the north coast looks at its best. I think of last summer and the ease of going to the beach and bodyboarding. Then I look at my blogs across the winter and I am reminded of the travelling. The Curate can't quite understand why I am feeling like this - I wanted the move. (Does that mean I am the cause of the move?) New word of the month is TRUST.

The builders are in!
The Curate is back at work after a lovely break and he is hearing - "I do wish you didn't have to move" or similar comments from people he visits. I expect that he is thinking that too but in true military fashion, he just says to me that we have to get on with the next stage. I guess that means looking forward not back. So I have been to visit the new house which is having a major overhaul and has the builders in. We are taking over another house that has a very neglected garden and I have been spending evenings there trying to begin a garden makeover. 

Why is it that every house we have lived in seems to have an untamed leylandii hedge that shades the rest of the garden? Do you know of any plants that likes to live in the shade of an evergreen hedge? I would like some suggestions please. I actually enjoy creating a garden but I am no expert. I can never remember the names of the plants I put in. My gardening advice would be - if it grows leave it there - if it doesn't, move it!

The untamed hedge.
The vegetable plot?
 I have started on the vegetable plot although it does seem to be rather shaded by trees. I have transferred some or our raspberry plants and excavated large amounts of old builders rubbish (not our present builder). The spade decide to give up at this point and it  bent in half.
First bed

So I have spent the last two evenings on my hands and knees moving gravel and sheeting that covered more builders rubble. I have now begun to plant this area with cuttings and spare plants from our other gardens. All the time I am planning the layout and thinking how to tackle it. I relish the challenge - especially with summer coming up. Which reminds me, I must check we have plenty of water butts. 

So I am looking forward  - this move is really happening and I must trust that this is where we are meant to be.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Making the best of a grey day - Exmoor adventures

On the wall of Countisbury church
The gorse had an intense smell and colour.

              As our break  from work is coming  to a close, The Curate  and I decided to do adventurous pub walk number 2 from Michael Bennie's book. It was a very grey day but the walk was inspiring.

             The start of the walk - looking across to Lynton.      

The first part of the walk took us down through the woods to the East Lyn River.The woods were full of spring flowers and the bare trees allowed us to see the deep valleys and distance views.
After a bite to eat at the Rockford Inn and half a pint of Exmoor ale, we started the climb out of the valley, led by our very enthusiastic collie. The view from the top was spectacular and the climb was made all the easier as we were watching some deer and they were watching us as we climbed towards them. A very special experience!
What slope! Get a move on!

Still being watched

Worth the walk.

P.S. We didn't do all the walk - it is 12 miles long. We managed about 4 miles but we had an excellent introduction to Doone Country

Saturday, 9 April 2011

When did you last have some playtime?

Home (my real one!) on the south coast.
 Are you aware of how important play is for children? Without it they become irritable, tired and unable to concentrate.  And are you aware how important play is for adults? The Curate and I have just returned to our house on the South Coast after a few days playing at Center Parcs. We had intended visiting our son who lives in Dubai but he was busy playing in Australia. So off we went to Longleat on our own (no accompanying children or pets). We felt a little strange as everyone else seemed to have children as their excuse for being there.

 I can thoroughly recommend it if you are still young at heart. 
We cycled everywhere, we played badminton every morning (ask The Curate who is the all time champion) and we threw ourselves down rapids, tubes and slides in the subtropical swimming paradise. We have the bruises to prove the extent of our enthusiasm. We had a lovely villa next to a lake and we were greeted by squirrels and moorhens at our door each morning. Despite our proximity to other villas, it was incredibly quiet and peaceful. We avoided the more populated areas and cooked for ourselves.
We appreciated how much we had needed the playtime. We have a little more time before we return to the North Coast. But our break reminded us of our plans for a play group for adults which we had wanted to start on the North Coast. We are very aware that a lot of couples have very little opportunity to have fun together. Once children arrive,  often the parent becomes the chauffeur, the encourager and the bystander while the children are challenged  and entertained. The Curate has already encouraged the start of a men's evening once a month in a local pub. This has no set agenda except a game of skittles and fellowship. As it is arranged by a group from the church, it provides opportunity for conversations and questions in an informal setting. This was originally inspired by the work of CVM.

The next stage is to provide activities for couples, we have looked at surfing, climbing, high ropes, clay pigeon shooting and the possibilities for funding. We have been thinking along the lines of the Would You, Could You, Should You? group. The aim being to encourage couples to play together. Isn't there a saying that says those who play together stay together? Have you tried something similar - we would love to hear about your experiences.
The dogs playing in their home territory.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

The Curate and the Kama Sutra Room

When is The Curate a Rev’d and when is he a Mr? This is something we have debated since The Curate became a curate. Do clergy always use their clerical title? I notice The Curate doesn’t use the title very often. He has changed it only on a couple of things (the motorbike registration doc being one) but not all. The question usually arises when he is asked his occupation and he has to declare that this has changed since the last time he spoke to the person concerned. This happened recently with the house insurance company. The Curate is always one to strike up a conversation with any telesales person and so declaring that he is now a minister of religion tends to provoke further elongated discussion. 

The Curate is usually a Mr when he books hotel rooms, or I book them in my name. This was the case last Sunday when we arrived at a lovely hotel prior to our stay at Center Parcs. Being Mothering Sunday we knew it was going to be very busy and we were pleased to be able to book a room. All the rooms are very individual and decorated in original styles. The hotel itself says the rooms are comfortable, if a little unconventional (just right for us) and describes itself as ‘more quirky than quaint.’  Each room is individually named to reflect its style. As we were taken up to our room, we were told that we had a lovely room...and it was. It was a double aspect room with windows that looked out onto the rural surroundings and distant views. It was decorated in warm earthy colours and with delightful dark wood, Indian furniture and ornate metal worked chests. There was a framed film poster and a large intricately carved bed head and wall decoration. The bathroom echoed the colours and the walls were covered in a patchwork of Indian illustrations of textile patterns and pictures. 

It was a superb stay and the evening meal was amazing (not fish this time). We had breakfast in a room with three huge chandeliers and pink silk curtains. I hope we get to stay again but I bet we don’t get put in the Kama Sutra Room if The Curate books it as the Rev’d.

Friday, 1 April 2011

April 2011and A Foot in the Door

It's April Fool's Day, the first day of my Easter Holiday and my birthday so I will not be spending time blogging - except to say I have had the best birthday present as I heard that younger son has a job (not an April fool). Not where he expected to start but a start, a launchpad, a foot in the door.