Christmas 2018 from @s1eve and @tilley_liz
'So I found you on your back in the bedroom, eyes wide open, bleeding from the head and apparently deceased?'
'So you say.'
'And you'd like me to start the Christmas letter with that?'
'It was important.'
'But I should make it amusing?'
'That's what you do, word-god.'
OK folks, this conversation never happened involving two separate people, but it happened in Steve's head and that's close enough.
If you've had the flu and haven't eaten for three days don't try to get up in the night to go to the loo. Unless you're absolutely certain that bouncing off the wardrobe door and landing on the bedside table will wake your husband, sleeping in the next room to avoid catching the flu. Big up to the BRI A&E. You guys know how to staple a head.
Happy ending. A brain scan revealed one, cuts heal and flu passes. Next.
'Were you really sad when you thought I was dead?'
'Not fast enough. Back to the spare room.'
This year's Christmas letter is sponsored by GWR. We say sponsored. The money goes in the other direction, quaintly. Without their jaw-dropping incompetence Liz would have no after-dinner stories. Anybody want a reserved seat in the part of the train that is too long for the Nailsea and Backwell platform? Fancy moving. Don't expect there to be a door between coach F (too long for Nailsea) and Coach E (Just right). Everyone coming home from Christmas shopping in Bristol? Two carriages will be enough surely? Leaves? Don't get her started on leaves. GWR is run by the wrong kind of people. If caught out by the inability to alight at Nailsea we recommend the Railway Tavern at Yatton as a pleasant place to pass 45 minutes.
Last year we announced that Steve had accepted limited responsibilities under the heading Assistant Rural Dean. At a training event for Assistant Rural Deans, Rural Deans, Area Deans and Assistant Area Deans Steve's Rural Dean colleague announced she was leaving. This led to a rapid escalation to Acting Rural Dean followed by a request from the Bishop to become Rural Dean and then a change of title to Area Dean (keep up at the back). Then, after a fortnight of relative stability, two further local clergy announced they were leaving so, to cut a long story shortish, do any of our clergy pals want a job in Backwell, Nailsea or Long Ashton? On successive nights in February we saw Macbeth at the Tobacco Factory, Reginald D Hunter at the Everyman in Cheltenham and had an enhanced Synod. Tragedy, Comedy, Deanery.
Continuing the theme of confusion varying with the rate of change of nomenclature, the Lay Chair of the Deanery Synod was renamed Lay Dean although every time we say that we are compelled to repeat it three times and sing 'I'm begging of you please don't take my man.'
That is three very niche jokes in three paragraphs. Only Anglican, railway-using country and western fans will get all three. Or the well-read. Our money's on Stephen Lynas (@bathwellschap - great virtual company).
Steve did a Speed Awareness Course. What a strange collection of people in a room with only one thing in common that is. Friend of ours is proudly boasting he is the first person to get on one in a electric car. Still, learned something, not least that Liz has been on two, not that she's competitive.
Welcome back Baggies v Villa which seems to be a fair fight these days. That said West Brom drew by cheating, which upset the claret and blue half of the marriage. The biggest mistake in the World Cup (controversial this) was using that brilliant free-kick routine for one of the unneeded goals against Panama rather than a much needed one against Belgium or Croatia.
Got a new car. Noticed it was RV 18 VKR. May keep that. Slight improvement on previous MF 15 NYH which we recalled in a different way.
Field Music, Calexico and The Blockheads entertained us both. As did an excellent Backwell School production of Chicago and several fine acts at our own little club Nailsea, Cafe Create. Steve went alone to enjoy The Vryll Society, Dan Reed Network (less hair these days but still stormingly, singalong rocky) and, a while after the last time, Keith Christmas, at Nailsea Ring 'O' Bells rather than Birmingham Town Hall supporting Ten Years After. Got a gig programme signed 47 years too late. He also saw Wave Pictures with junior.
Liz had a school re-union which filled our house with love and laughter at breakfast and then filled National Trust Tyntesfield with a load of badly-behaved 62 year old little girls. Steve played 'Here's what you could have won' but declared himself satisfied with his original prize. Which was probably wise given previous conversation.
Gary became a family friend. Gary is a heating and plumbing engineer who chased a leak around the block a couple of times and changed every tank and pipe in the house. Then Steve found the leak in a toilet mechanism. Anyone outdone by Steve's DIY expertise should resign in shame but Gary is knowledgeable about music and good company so that's fine. Gary and apprentice Harvey win the sugar consumption award this year
Steve's Mum made 90. We had a party for 90 minutes until she told us all to get lost. Liz's Mum fell over and broke things. We went on a pre-retirement course where we learned to be afraid of the deadly qualities of tea cosies and slippers. We also met Richard Whittington who helped us sort our finances. Insert own punchline. To settle a dispute we both had hearing tests. Liz says she won, not that she is competitive or would mock the disabled. Spare room?
For ten years we have been writing to every newcomer on the estate welcoming them on behalf of the church, with a response rate of zero. In fact minus one if you count the letter which was scrawled on and sent back. So we decided to give newcomers a cake instead of a letter. It works. Liz, embracing traditional clergy-wife responsibility after 34 years, makes them. Drizzle my lemon baby. We partnered up with CAP (Christians Against Poverty) to help people in debt. Also the local Foodbank. This in a wealthy parish in 2018. Disgrace, not joke.
Liz is still at Lakeland Bath four days a week. After months of being in charge because nobody was (a family trait) she inherited a store manager who she is training well (a family trait).
Our great friend Mike decided to move on from Morecambe and we looked forward to him coming a bit nearer. He got a splendid new job in Beverley which is six miles further away. Met former curate colleague Alison at his induction service and had a great catch up. I should probably call her Bishop Alison now, 'cos she is. Also had first former youth-group member made archdeacon. The fruit of youth work takes a while.
Interesting items that didn't make the cut this year include Brummie Curate, Gozo, Diesel, Nailsea Beer and Cider Festival, Prodigal Arts and Bible Book Club. Enquire if interested.
GT of C & J from St and TCMT