I think I mentioned that last weekend I was at the Convention of the Convocation of the Epoiscopal Church in Europe – we went to Munich and stayed in a very impressive Schloss that is now a Catholic Retreat & Conference centre.
The Convention was very good. Nick & I missed the first afternoon’s session because our travel time was so long – to keep costs down we travelled the cheapest way. However because the person organising flights from our end hadn’t got their act together (despite the fact we’ve known for a year we were going!!) the cheapest flights involved going Lyon – Paris CdG, hanging around for 2 hours and then flying to Munich. We left here at 7.30 and arrived at the Schloss at 5.15. It was a long day!
There was, of course, business to be done, which can be a bit tedious, but it was interspersed with hearing presentations from other churches in the Convocation (including Rome, Florence, Munich, and others) about their work to support the work with refugees. Also we had small group discussions about how the convocation can support each individual congegation in what they are doing in their local area.
I was asked to go onto the Resolutions Committee. I agreed, having no idea what this meant. In the end, it just meant that I was tasked with reading the “Resolution of Gratitude” at the end of the convention, thanking various people for the part they played – it included some fairly scary German and Roumanian names, but I simply worked on the method I use when reading the OT reading in church: if you come across a name you don’t know how to pronounce, just say it anyway, with confidence and firmness, and people will generally just think “Oh, so that”s how it’s pronounced….” They may not have thought that (especially if it was their name!) but at least I didn’t sound all stumbly and apologetic!!
The first evening the clergy and partners went for a meal, while the other delegates could choose where to go, being led by members of the host church. However, as Nick and I were tired, we decided to go to the pizzaria called “Tutto Bene” at the end of the road, just the two of us, so we didn’t need to socialise, and could go to bed early. Rob, our Rector, came with us for a glass of wine, as he was meeting his wife at the bus stop. We chatted, and ate a good pizza; the waiter and his family (who owned the pizzaria) were lovely, speaking a mixture of Italian, English and German. They even gave us a complementary glass of limoncello at the end of the evening
The following evening was the Bishop’s Dinner – this is always a posh do, and this was no exception. We had to wear our glad rags – but I’m very glad that my glad rags don’t include high heels. To get to the venue we had to do a 5 – 10 minute walk in the dark through the grounds of another Schloss. I was very glad I was in flats withv a warm wrap!
The venue was spectacular though! The Palm House (now cafeteria) of a grand chateau/Schloss:
Here is the Bishop inspecting the high table
Here’s everyone enjoying their dinner.
Here’s Nick & me in our glad rags. My photo of Lee and Nick won’t load. Nick & I are church delegates, while Lee, also from our church, is Chairman of COMB (Committee for the Ministry of the Baptised)
The following evening was a buffet meal in the Schloss where we were staying with a “dance” – slightly surreal…It was held in a room that was almost entirely white, with a photograph of a stern looking cardinal/Pontiff glaring down over us,as vicars, bishops and various lay people boogied to eighties disco classics, such as YMCA and I WIll Survive…
You can just about see the glaring Pontiff in the background!
I do have to say, some of those Vicars are lovely movers. One of them, an American, reminded me very much of the Dominic West character in “Pride” (although Steve didn’t leap onto the table, or thrust his crotch in quite the same way, he was a very *cough* flamboyant dancer)
I joined in with gusto, and afterwards he said “I didn’t know Brits could be such fun!!”
It was a very good conference, and I made 65€ selling cards (see my last post) to raise money for Phone Credit for Refugees. This translated into 3 x £20 phone top up vouchers that were given to three young lads in the Jungle, to give them contact with workers, friends and family as the camp was being dismantled. That was a good amount to raise…
…but it led to the Bishop of the Convocation asking me to make his Christmas cards for this year to raise money for the same cause. That is, 200 hand made cards by the beginning of December. Gulp.
Luckily, the design he wants is quite simple, similar to this one:
The words are copied – I’ve already copied and cut 100 of these – and the background is a simple rectangle stuck on. I’ve bought some non-shiny, but cheerful paper for that, which needs to be cut to size. The final “bling” is a stuck-on gold band, rather than the jewels shown here. I’m hoping to try to make 50 of them on Tuesday – a bank holiday here in France – which should help me guage how much I need to panic!
- Just to say, it took me all of one Kermode & Mayo film review podcast to stick on 100 strips of bling. And all of another to cut out and stick down 45 pieces of backing paper with the “Joy to the World” bit on it. I’ve completed 45 cards then. So, I should finish them all in another 4 podcasts. (That’s about 8 hours) However I’ve left myself with nothing to do on Tuesday now, as I’ve used up the 50 pre-made cards that I bought on Friday! I can’t buy any more til next Thursday!
On to the “Cats” part of the title.
Since we lost George – and sadly, Sandra, there has been no sign of him. We are pretty sure he has gone forever. We are imagining it is to another home where he is loved and kept well-fed, rather than (as one helpful lady suggested to me) taken by someone to make “little bags from his fur”. Thank you for that picture (not). – anyway, since we lost him, I’ve been feeding the “poor cats” who live near the HLM housing in the village. There is someone else who looks after them too, as this person had set up a kennel with straw and a kind of rabbit hutch for the cats to sleep in. I always thought this looked rather unplreasant and draughty so I set out to make some cat beds I’d seen on t’internet:
It’s a cardboard box, insulated inside on every side with a double layer of polystyrene tile plus another layer of cardboard. It is then wrapped in a plastric bag, and put on top of 4 cat food pouch boxes (to raise it off the ground). There’s a heavy rock in the boxes, to weigh it down, and then it’s all wrapped in another bin bag, with a hole cut out. Straw is put inside, and it’s ready for cats to creep into a curl up, sheltered from the weather.
I placed three of these out about two weeks ago, behind the kennel, and was pleased to see that they’d been used, although I was a bit sad that the rain had obviously penetrated the binbag (despite them being heavy duty ones) as the boxes felt a bit soggy. I was happy though, when I went back yesterday – the other person had been there and done a lot of housekeeping. The kennel had been moved so the entrance was sheltered, and they had also rejigged the hutch type thing, so that my box-beds were now under a roof, and the biscuit tray (seen above in a makeshift shelter) was also in a covered area. It looked so much cleaner and nicer for the cats.
I’m also pleased that the cats are starting to recognise me: they are still very, very wary, but know that I’m bringing food, so they don’t run away when they see me. I save the leftovers from our fussy cats, plus fat and bits from our meals. So far the pickings and skin from chicken legs has been very popular, and the biscuits soaked in duck grease then covered in thick gravy were extremely popular too! The other person who feeds them is obviously not rolling in money, as quite often they seem to put down a lot of stuff like mashed potato with a bit of meat in it, so the biscuits in duck grease were mixed in with the potato to make it more palatable for cats. But, TBH, these lovely Poor Cats are grateful (in their Kitty way) for anything.