Monday, 31 October 2011

The danger of euphemism (as it were...)

A close shave was had this morning.

The rectory rabbits (domesticated rather than wild) have reached a stage in their physiological development where they are a little problematic to each other. They are both male, one rather passive, the other much more active. And the active one has matured physically to the point where he is behaving inappropriately towards his passive companion. This is causing much stress and anxiety to the passive one. So the vets were called this morning. The above story explained (maturity, aggression, unwanted attention etc. all mentioned). So I requested that the rabbits, being old enough, were ready to be 'done.' (I'm pretty sure that's what I said)

Those two preceding paragraphs can be de-euphemised to: the male rabbits are now sexually mature and one is try to have sex with the other. They both need to be castrated.

To my surprise they said they could see them a little later that morning. I said, 'I assume I just drop them off and leave them with you while you do it?' Reply: Pause. 'You could do that if you wanted.'

The rabbits were duly caught, caged up and taken down.

For their appointment for euthanasia.

Fortunately, this error in translating euphemism came to light pretty quickly, a proper appointment for a whole day, a couple of days hence was made, and the whole episode was turned from a potential disaster to what we actually wanted.

The moral of the story - just ask for what you want, rather than tiptoing around the perceived euphemistic sensitivities of whoever you are dealing with.

But that could become rather uncomfortable in church life...

'Nice sermon, Rector,' becomes, 'That wasn't as boring as I thought it would be.'

'The beautiful sense of the numinous,' becomes, 'What a cold, old, damp building.'

and the list goes on...

Friday, 21 October 2011

The boats go dry...

The seasons here in Argyll are marked by many things. The rains gets warmer or colder, and even eventually goes white and falls as snow. The leaves appear as buds, and grow (obliterating the sea views) and whistle with the wind. Then they go brown and fall (this year twice, with storms!) and have to be blown from the drive. The holidaymakers arrive in larger and lesser numbers. Caledonain MacBrayne change their timetables - the last ferry from Bute is suddenly an hour sooner.

But one seasonal barometer that I am rather drawn to is the sailing boats. They are in the water for the good weather, the spring and summer, but they come out every year for the autumn and winter. I believe yacht insurance requires this - but the sense of making a boat safe ashore before the autumn gales arrive and start tearing out moorings is a very practical aspect of seasonal life. I'm not a yachtsman at all - I am no expert on such things. My canal boat stays in the water for several years at a time. But she's made of thick steel, pitch coated, on inland water away from storms.

As the moorings in Port Bannatyne empty, you know that winter is finally on its way. Warmer clothes are needed, the heating needs a service, salt needs to be stockpiled. But the boats are just dry, not gone. Their owners will do all the jobs that the winter holds - fixing, painting, varnishing, preparing. Because come the spring the sea will beckon again.

There are many seasonal heartbeats - but the boats coming out is one of the best!

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Most inconvenient...

Molly the rectory collie has decided to reach puberty this week - so we have something like three weeks of walking her on a lead, fighting off overly-interested dogs and generally not being able to do 'the usual' when it comes to dog ownership. She spent a bring-and-share lunch today cooped up in the rabbit run in the garden. It is a very big rabbit run!

But development, whether human or canine, is not designed for our convenience.

It's designed to make us grow, gain experience, achieve new levels and types of maturity.

So I suppose that's a good thing.

But it is all a bit inconvenient.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Holiday over...

A ragged end to a week's holiday, as we return and the answering machine and e-mails and lovely folk popping round seep back into life.
A week on a narrowboat, with a little sailing and a lot of just being, is a good holiday. Having no identity other than a person who's on a narrowboat. Or in the cinema. Or at the theatre. Or in the shops. All good things to be.
What did we do?
Sailing to Auchinstarry, to pump out and fill up, with a canalman who used to be broker in the city.
Sailing to Stockingfield Junction in Glasgow, through a pretty deprived area of the city (ah - I have story about that that I must re-tell here on day...).
Meeting eleven hired narrowboats with Swiss canal-buffs all 'doing' the Scottish canals.
Rekindling the children's dislike of clowns - and hopefully letting them glimpse what mime and performance art can actually do (ah - I must blog about minimalist performance art and liturgy sometime)
And coming back, ready for more - including tomorrow's baptism (ah - I must blog about baptism and witchcraft, when it feels right).
(and ah - I must change back the answering machine)
A good holiday!

Sunday, 2 October 2011


The view from a 20 minute walk up the hill - the Clyde Approaches past Cloch Point, looking up to Kilcreggan, Gourock and the Clyde itself.

A little minehunter is pootling down the river, dodging between the ferries and sailing boats.

...and the midges have started to go back to sleep for the autumn!