Joseph of Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy bottle and dropper

Yesterday, while preparing the slickly-titled Services and Ceremonies for Ash Wednesday and Holy Week 1967 liturgy for the SEC website I did a spell-check on the scanned document.

The two most amusing spell-checker offerings were: “Judas Escargot” for “Judas Iscariot” and “Joseph of Aromatherapy” instead of “Joseph of Arimathea“.

I like the idea of Joseph of Aromatherapy taking Jesus’s body to a relaxing cave, filled with essential oils.

My favourite spell-checker ‘correction’ to date, however, was when I worked in the Shaftesbury Society homeless hostel in London. WordPerfect 5 (for MS-DOS) would constantly want to change “keyworker” to “coercer”.

Sometimes coercer might have been more accurate!

A tale of two niggles

A tub of Lurpak spreadable margarine on the left, Clover on the right.

In our nearly seven years of marriage Jane and I have got on remarkably well. We’ve had very few major rows, always make sure that we make up and sort things out before we go to sleep, and I still love her dearly on this the 2,436th day after our wedding. But like all relationships there are still a few things that repeatedly niggle, that we haven’t yet resolved.

For us there are two. (Okay, it’s probably more like: for me there are two. !!)

Niggle #1

The pronouncation of the meat that comes from pigs. As you are probably aware here in English-speaking-land we tend to name the live animal after the Anglo-Saxon words, eg pig, sheep, cow, and when it’s dead we refer to its meat after the Anglo-Norman word, eg pork, mutton, beef. (I think that’s right; I can’t remember where I read that.)

Anyway, Jane pronounces “pork” as poe-rk. Pronounced something like the surname of that great writer of macabre tales and poetry, Edgar Allan Poe, but with “rk” at the end. Edgar Allan Poerk. Whereas I — and almost everyone that I know outside Jane’s family — pronounce it as paw-rk.

Q1. How do you pronounce “pork”?

Niggle #2

Niggle number two is a practical one: how to scrape the margarine from a tub.

My preferred method is to gently scrape across the top layer of the margarine, working my way down in a similar fashion to the way that an archaeologist might excavate a tub of Clover: working evenly across the full length and width of the tub, gradually working down towards the bottom of the tub. The only difference being that I’d probably get quite alarmed if I found any bones or Roman coins in my margarine, whereas an archaeologist wouldn’t.

Jane’s method, however, is to treat the tub of margarine more like an open-cast mine or quarry: she will start at one end of the tub and dig down to the base of the tub and then work her way gradually towards the other end of the tub. (See photographs above.)

Obviously — obviously! — this eventually renders the tub a little unstable as at about one-third full you now have much more margarine at one end of the tub, which weighs that end down. More than once I’ve taken the margarine out of the fridge only to immediately drop it on the floor as I’ve pulled out the light end, and as the heavy end has slid off the shelf it has pulled the whole tub out of my hand. “My” method, however, evenly distributes the weight across the full length of the margarine tub thereby making it much more stable.

The other inherent danger of Jane’s method is what I like to call Spreadable Fat Tub Interior Side Detachment Syndrome™, or SFTISDS. Which is where the whole block of margarine detatches itself from the side of the tub and ends up as a loose lump of pure yellow rattling around the inside of a plastic cuboid tub. It’s like carrying a small box with a hamster running around inside it. I would imagine.

You can clearly see the Clover tub on the right in the photograph above is currently suffering from a pronounced case of SFTISDS.

Q2. Are there any other techniques that we’re missing?

Mil Millington would be proud of me!

… and relax!

I’m not leaving the ministry

Terminal sign showing an airplane taking off and the words Terminal Check-in
When leaving one chapter of your life not everything is terminal!

Today was my final Information and Communications (I&C) Board meeting as the representative of the Diocese of Edinburgh, and I managed to make an entrance by turning up about 50 minutes late having just shown a nice man from Pickfords (whom it turns out was born in Selkirk in the early 1970s) our house and contents so that he could quote us a price for removing it all (sans the house) to Cellardyke sometime next month.

The latest edition of Inspires magazine was revealed and on flicking through this advance copy I noticed something that I should have spotted when I cast an equally hasty eye over the proof that landed in my email inbox a couple of weeks ago.

The article in question is about Episcopalians who blog, and paragraph six begins:

The Rev Gareth Saunders, who will shortly be leaving the ministry to become St Andrews University’s Assistant Information Architect/Web Manager, is one veteran who has recently been designing the Provincial website using the WordPress blogging tool.

Hang on a minute! Who will shortly be leaving the ministry?! No I’m not! Oops! I obviously didn’t spot that one when I was correcting my job title (the first draft had me in my boss-to-be’s role, which I’m sure wouldn’t endear me to him on the first day!) and ensuring that WordPress had its rightful ownership of two capital letters.

It’s interesting because words are important, and I know what the author of the article means. He means that I’ll be leaving stipendiary ministry; a ‘stipend’ being money that the church pays me so that I don’t need to find a job to support my ministry. And ten years ago I would probably have phrased it in a similar manner.

In those days, Ministry — true, authentic Ministry with a capital ‘M’ — equalled ordained, stipendiary ministry. How my time at TISEC and my reading and thinking around the whole area of Jesus’s call on all that he calls to be disciples, knocked that out of me. Anyone who is baptised Jesus calls to Ministry. Some are called to ordained Ministry. Some are called to stipendiary, ordained Ministry.

Ironically I’m now on a position where I feel that I need to go and get another job so that I can in some way exercise more fully part of my ministry, which I believe has something to do with the whole IT venture. I trust and believe that God has lead me to this point — the doors certainly have been flying open, which is most encouraging — and I trust too that God will lead me forward into whatever He has in store for me.

It really is quite an exciting time, looking ahead to my new job, new responsibilities, new opportunities. But I’m certainly not leaving the ministry. That’ll teach me to look beyond spelling and typos when proof-reading Inspires and pay attention to the content too.

Making up for lost time


Not made much time to blog these last couple of days: sorry. We appear to have lost an hour, too!

On Sunday Jane and I travelled down to Selkirk to spend Mothering Sunday with my Mum. A lovely lasagne, and then extended sleep for all of us during the afternoon. Jane was rudely woken on the sofa by Mum’s dog, Elijah, licking her in the face. Yuck! We spent the rest of the afternoon playing Cat-opoly, a Monopoly-clone game where you buy … cats!

Today (Monday) I’ve had my head down and been plugging away at more Scottish Episcopal Church liturgies for the SEC Website. Today’s one document has so far taken about 12 hours, and I’m still not finished with it.

Tomorrow is a maze of meetings. Team Meeting at 08:00. Then Pickfords are coming to evaluate the house for removals at 11:00. After which I hot-foot it eastwards towards the General Synod Office for a meeting of the Information and Communications Board at 11:30 (or nearest offer!).

There is much to do before we move! Much to do.