May I introduce our lovely new home. Featured on the front page of the parish website for some time, I thought I would expand its cyber-fame.
House meet Readers
Readers meet House
That's that sorted then.
And what a lovely house it is. It has all we need plus thirty rooms that we can count as surplus (or where I can count my surplices, who knows), a wonderful mature garden with large trees and concomitant squirrels. We have presocratic Rhododendrons, a superfluity of lavender and much Christmas fodder in the form of re-planted trees and a significant sting of emergent holly. We have two foxes (those with fluffy tails, boys) and a significant flutter of wood pigeons. The two wild green parakeets are a mystery to us and out-yell Boeing 747s, but they add to the ambiance.
But this pile isn't simply home. To Mrs Acular and the Twins Aculae, it is - but to me it is the office, as it is to the parish administrator. In the last house, it was more home than office, as I didn't 'have people round', and we were miles from the church (all by plan - I am a welcoming host). This house will be where I receive guests, entertain visitors, hold meetings - and the usual scripting of sermons and all that. There has to be a boundary set, for the preservation and protection of all concerned, and then there is the invisible boundary that I have to set that means that I am not always at work (or never at work if I am a lazy sod). In this, I journey along a new road.
Yes, having tied accommodation is a joy, honour and privilege. We are incredibly fortunate and considerably blessed by it. At Theological College the tell us to 'work' a number of sessions a day, but not all. Some clergy abide by this fastidiously, others (read 'me') do not. The failing is on my part, as I am a self-confessed workaholic; though it is easy with work such as mine as it is so darned good.
Clocking off, for want of a better term, is hard. I can retire from the study and pad across the newly carpeted hallway to fashion a meal for la Famille d'Aculaire, but then I am only ten feet away from The Harridan Emailer and the Siren Telephone. They carry on unremittingly, and we clerics are endlessly lured to their bidding. Days off to date have been grand as the kids have been home, but from now on, they will be at school. Wife might even find herself a job, so my day off may mean me sitting at home with nothing but Harridan and Siren - to wit, no day off (much). It can be a problem.
Advice for clergy is to bugger awf on days and weeks off. To undertake a Staycation is to maintain a de facto Stayatworkation. So, we have to escape home which feels odd at times. This boundary setting permeates much of what we do. We want to be gracious and willing hosts all the while preserving safe space. We want and need to relax but our diligence means that very often the danger is we carry on until the job is done (which it never is). Danger!
For now, before 'work' starts, I will enjoy the new Cloake Castle. God Bless this house and all who dwell in and visit it.