Tuesday, 26 June 2012

How to Be a Modern Vicar's Wife

Marriage to a vicar is a science. It requires mastery of the hot water urn, for tea fuels parish life. It requires dexterity with chrysanthemums and an encompassing memory for human biology. At the church flower festival I display all of these. I swill glasses, tweak blooms and enquire after a spectrum of parish ailments. I'm balancing a spire of dirty plates when an old lady clutches my arm. 'I'm so glad you're not a typical vicar's wife,' she says. 'Fifty years ago you'd have been a slave to the parish, but you - you just do your own thing!'

The picture below is the prompt this week's 100 Word Challenge from Julia. It reminded me of my weekly rendez-vous with the church tea urn, the power behind the prayer, and, particularly, a disconcerting reaction as I toiled over the buffet lunch during last year's flower festival. 


16 comments:

  1. I think vicar's wives did used to have a reputation for being a bit stuffy, they seemed to be when I was young! Your post reminds me of the Alpha courses I used to do and the tea urns that always posed a problem because I generally forgot to switch them on!

    CJ x

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  2. I may or may not be stuffy, but it amused me that she chose the moment that I was doing what every typical vicar's wife has done down the decades to tell me that I just please myself!

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  3. Makes me think of our rector's wife - aside from organizing the acolytes and making sure somebody's supervising the children's chapel, most weeks she has to run downstairs and get the big urns set up for coffee hour! Well, somebody has to do it...

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    1. I regard them as essential ballast. Would feel adrift without one.

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  4. Interesting how they think you do nothing, if they only thought for a moment.

    Love the picture!

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    1. Actually, I can hardly claim to over-exert myself for the parish and the old lady evidently intended her remark as a compliment, but it was an odd moment to pick as I was clearing the table where she sat awaiting the pudding I would bring!

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  5. It's like being a parent. When kids don't want to go to school and say 'It's all right for you, staying home and doing what you like all day'. Couldn't you do a little light work??!

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    1. Grrr! Yeah, we all get paid for that, dont we!

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  6. I can so clearly see you pouring the tea and chatting to the parishioners. What about the cake though? Where's the cake?!

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    1. I bake every Friday. 'No wonder he spat it out!' beamed a mother one week taking a bite. And 'Did you forget the baking powder?' said another the following week. So our church is propped up, in the main, by Bourbon Creams.

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  7. Did I ever confess to you that I, too, am a vicar's wife? Though Husband is no longer a parish minister, so I don't know if it counts.

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    1. I didn't know that, no. Bet you were a wonder with the tea urn!

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    2. Tea has always been my forte. Wasn't so good with people, though.

      Have enjoyed the freedom of 6 years in role of university professor's wife (ie, no role at all). Am now about to take on role of school chaplain's wife. Any tips for me (apart from the PG ones)?

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    3. I was only a school chaplain's wife for 11 months, but I think the key is to buy a big hat, wear a big smile and keep out of the way.

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    4. Big hat... Right-oh!

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