This has been my first full week of work after our ‘ordination moon’ in France, and I can honestly say that I haven’t laughed so much in at least four or five years, it’s been such fun. I love the team I am working with, they are a great source of fun and encouragement as I have grappled this week to deal with first week nerves and trying not to run ahead of myself.
So what have I learnt this week?
Firstly I have learnt that it’s not cool, when wearing your dog collar (or any time come to that) to run your parishioners over. Golders Green parish is massive with over 20,000 people living in it. It has two long main roads, both leading to the A406 North Circular Road coming together at a cross roads outside our church. If you go east to west you travel between Hampstead Heath and Brent Cross; and north to south between Central London and Barnet. I travel to and from work on the North to South route taking me through Temple Fortune, an area that Steve and I used to live in, and that Steve policed for 10 years when he first came out of Police Training School. I know this area well yet it still amazes me every time I drive through it how appalling the driving is of those that use the area for shopping. They park outside the shops, often two abreast with their ‘parking’ lights on (hazard lights for those of us who don’t know what ‘parking’ lights are) and then they jump back into their cars, signal to move out into the traffic and then instead of pulling into the lane they do a full U turn in front of you, unannounced and often even more to shocking those coming the other way at the same time!
My tendency in the past has been to bless them verbally and with a loving hand signal of some kind, however when wearing your dog collar it seems that this hand signal is no longer appropriate and my verbal blessing not quite the blessing I thought it was!
It also seems that zebra crossings in the Golders Green area are some kind of magic carpet affair. Pedestrians are not required to stop at the kerb but keep walking, at no time taking any notice of the oncoming traffic, and then by some miracle the drivers will read your mind and know not to plough you down, as they drive along expecting some kind of warning that you intended to cross the road. Sadly yesterday I had a close call with a young man dressed as a hot dog, which I admit did help a bit as he was a bigger target to avoid, but afterwards I did have to question what a man dressed as a hot dog was doing in one of the most Jewish areas of London!
The second thing I learnt this week was how amazing it is to at last be working in a church which has a High Street location. This has always been one of my dreams to be working somewhere which has a ‘passing trade’ and other shops nearby. Three times this week I went for a wander along Golders Green Road in my dog collar chatting to people, having interesting conversations with people in shops and getting £3.50 off my bill in the key cutting shop! My fellow cohort at St Mellitus are having a competition to see what the most random thing we can acquire free of charge as a result of wearing our dog collars, I must submit my entry today, but I am sure I can do better than a key.
There have been lots of other things I have learned, like how the vicar likes his tea, how you must never annoy Sylvia the office manager, how to change the toilet paper in the ladies and where the charcoal is kept for the smelly handbag. But the best thing I realised today is that Thursday is the new Friday and Friday is the new Saturday. So dog collar away, get the dogs collar on for a walk in the sun, the weekend starts here!
Have a blessed weekend my lovely friends, don’t forget I’m available for hatches, matches and dispatches – not done any yet but if you don’t mind being a guinea pig!!!
May God bless and keep you always, Revd. Sally