Friday, 7 September 2012

A Week in the Life of a Curate Day 4


The phone is ringing and I wake up at 8.45am, Roaring returning the favour of last night's call. It's just as well though otherwise I might never have woken. The entire morning is out of kilter. The booze bear has savaged me. I'm a lot poorer, my skin has aged 3 years, and I look terrible. I attempt restoration with an eye-stick I reserve for emergencies, while my partner in crime scuttles out and across the park to enjoy his holiday. I make it to playgroup feeling like Jack Whitehall in Bad Education. Fortunately I have a very sympathetic co-leader who gives me German aspirin with miraculous effects and when followed by 2 coffees and a biscuit I'm back to form. We rattle through the songs, guitar playing a bit clumsy and voice as gravelly and weedy as a Welsh driveway. Afterwards I take the Sunday School leader back to my house and put on CBeebies for her blonde twins - straight out of a Roald Dahl book - perched attentively on the sofa, while we go through the Kids' Club's plan.

Then I take a brief nap. Praise the Lord. On the way back to church I pop into a few restaurants hoping for vouchers and prizes and it's all very friendly. It's irritating this begging tour of every business in the area every year, but it does mean you do get to know everyone in the neighbourhood, which is handy and quite nice. Most of the rest of the day is taken up with emails and admin. Arranging someone to fix the house, sending photos to a local newsletter and Time Out, a coffee appointment, trying to sort out funeral arrangements for a parishioner who died in prison, putting up an even larger poster with our service times in the porch, as an elderly priest peering in claimed he couldn't make them out last Saturday (the only day the church is shut - apparently also unable to check the website or the Church Times). The vicar tells amusing stories about being in America, chortling that on his flight back he met a man in the first class lounge complaining that he couldn't get a copy of The Guardian.

After evening prayer I haul our white vestments home and change quickly to head out to Bromley for a choir rehearsal for Roaring's first mass. I change my mind when I'm at the bus stop and miss a bus. Then decide I should go and it will be fun and get the next one to Victoria. I'm reading a book on Tragedy and Theology which is due for a review by the end of last month. The traffic is appalling and I just miss a train which means I won't stand a chance of getting there less than half an hour late. Despondent, I go and buy a Whopper meal which both cheers me up and makes me more miserable. The vestments languish accusingly on the floor casting aspersions on my priesthood and general fitness as a human being. I bus back reading 'East Coker', a manual on transcending the London gloom, then fall asleep on the couch.

I manage to pull myself together a little later and put in an hour's cycle while watching Bletchley Park and reading an LRB article on The Sorrows of Young Werther. Both are very good. I sing through Roaring's music and then watch episodes of New Girl and Bad Education. I read the paper but it never feels worthwhile in the evening. It's a relief to have The Times today and Ann Treneman's sketch is excellent as usual. Almost as good as yesterday's Mrs Cameron's Diary, which is the very pinnacle of journalism. Productivity wise, not a great day. I resolve to be more useful tomorrow. Go to bed with The Neigbour and his Irish chapter (he is half Irish) - his alzheimic grandmother's last advice: "whatever you do, son, don't marry a Catholic." Eyes shut. 2:26am.


  1. Really enjoying these. It sounds like you're reviewing my book; for which journal?

  2. For Theology. I've very nearly finished reading it. Edited collections are notoriously difficult to review but I've really enjoyed reading it - Despite the breadth of concerns Mackinnon is certainly central, almost the organising principle, which gives it coherence and makes your piece pivotal - fortunately it's a really excellent essay! Especially liked the section on evil - privation certainly has the upper hand in almost all recent theology which makes him all the more interesting.

    1. Thanks! Ultimately, I find MacKinnon *almost* compelling on evil. I've subsequently read Rowan Williams' essay 'Insubstantial Evil' (in 'Augustine and his Critics'), which manages to address MacKinnon's concerns while maintaining a convincing account - at least I find it much more convincing than, for example, Milbank's - of the need for understanding evil as privation, an account which understands the moral seriousness of MacKinnon's rejection of privation, while seeing the theological value of maintaining a nuanced and tentative understanding of evil as privation when viewed theologically. I guess this is where I was trying to go with adopting Luther's 'good, but not for us' stance.

      It's great to find someone else who appreciates MacKinnon. Looking forward to reading your review!


DreamHost promo codes