Term’s ended at Mirfield!
So now, what with the removals firm going into liquidation, Peter and I are live aboard. We have no other bed, or hole, or nest to lay our heads. There’s nothing for it but to take our time and enjoy the Leeds & Liverpool over the next week or so, while we wait for the British Association of Removers Advanced Payment Guarantee Scheme to kick in, so another removals firm can do the job of bringing our furniture from a warehouse in Thetford to Workington. The date offered now by the latest firm Peter’s found is 18 June. We’re not anxious.
Many of the other ordinands leaving Mirfield face similar uncertainty about where they are going to live. But they were all in good heart – leavers and returners alike.
Thursday – the final day – was Corpus Christi and the Mass at noon found us worshipping God as Fr George presided, and admitted my friend Mark Howarth into the Society of the Resurrection.
Fine singing from Schola, the choir, and Fr Peter playing Messiaen for the voluntary. The Messiaen was nothing I’d heard before. Sombre, intriguing, unresolved. Fr Peter and I talked afterwards about how Messiaen knew the monastic traditions of chant that have continued – as they do at Mirfield – since the 7C or 8C, and with his inclusion of birdsong, how the influenced helped him as he tried to capture the natural and unself-conscious theology of premodern music and nature. That tension between the conscious intention of a composer since the Enlightenment, and the pre-modern traditions of monastic chant, in which one simply loses oneself in singing that is done to the glory of God, is an ongoing study for Fr Peter. The self, lost and found, in music.
This Christogram is at the foot of the wonderful icon above the altar in Upper Church. I’m going to embroider it onto Peter’s stole. There was a blessing of stoles at the end of the Mass. Peter’s isn’t finished yet, so Fr Peter blessed some embroidery silks, and a fine piece of gold linen. The blessing will permeate the rest. When it’s done.
Peter has made many friends during his short nine months at Mirfield. We left on Friday morning, after a night of dining and dance, carrying many wonderful people in our hearts. Some we will see shortly, as we travel through Chorley, where Lois lives, and on to Blackburn, where we’ll catch up with Emma and Jonathan. Others will come from the South East, we hope, to visit in Workington. Perhaps even to do a placement with us next summer, who knows.
It has been a rich and wonderful year. The Church will be very well served by these curates, who have been prepared in patterns of prayer and the disciplines of holiness.
With hired van packed to the nines, and the car as full, we set off on the M62, then the M6 to Penrith, then the A66 via Keswick to Workington.
Our new home, to be. And St Michael’s Church.
Lorna and Steve met us. Lorna is the parish administrator, Steve, her husband. Together we made light work of unpacking into the garage. We examined the lovely rich colours now on the walls, the newly installed woodburner, and Lorna assured us the carpets would be done in time – whenever the move happens!
Our daughter Tilda joined us for cake and grapes on the back lawn, and we talked and caught up with news as we pulled moss, before Peter and I set off for Wigan.
The Lark Ascending is how we left her, on this Saturday morning.
Peter – bless him! – has come without thought for any clothes or shoes he might need for the next ten days (three weeks?!) or so. The charity shops beckon, and M&S for underpants. We also seem to consume inordinate amounts of ‘data’ with this new dongle, so a visit to the EE shop, too.
And, you know, I’d quite like to try my hand at fishing. There are starter kits at the Go Outdoors mega shop just around the corner. Izaac Walton will be turning in his grave. His Compleat Angler might be there, in the Charity Shops – or Op Shops, as Jenny would have called them (that’s what they are in Australia). So much to read! I would like another lifetime.
I’ve heard from the publisher that the publication date for Full of Character is to be 21 March next year. I had hoped it would be out in 2018. Never mind. That’s just in time for Easter. I’ve been asked to lead Holy Week at Carlisle Cathedral, so lots to look forward to.
Today we head off towards Liverpool for the day – to Parbold. Not parboiled, as Peter calls it. There we’re going to have tea with Fr Richard Peers, Jamie and their dog Marnie. He’s the Director of Education in Liverpool Diocese, having previously been a very successful head of a large school somewhere in the south. He now blogs beautifully at educationpriest.
It’s lovely having Peter here, getting used to The Lark Ascending. The gentle, almost imperceptible rock and the loveliness of the space holds us with a sense of adventure for what the next days, weeks, months and years hold.