notes from a small curate
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK
Some of these things actually happened!
Your task is to judge each of them either TRUE, FALSE, or IN YOUR DREAMS.
Check your answers by clicking on the links after each entry.
 Rescued from Iona by helicopter after a week stranded by terrible storms. The post office overwhelmed by sand, fences and boats scattered around the village street, and power cuts bring the New Year in. [?]
 Spent one lunchtime in the Guild Church of the Worshipful Company of Carpenters, under chandeliers, eating boiled eggs purchased by a religious sister from a street hawker seeking pity at the door of her Hackney convent. [?]
 Lots of funerals including (a personal record) four in one week, and (just personal) - gave the eulogy at Auntie Muriel's service. [?]
 Elvis Costello at the Royal Court and a snowy journey to the NEC for REM with Pete cheer up the winter nights. [?]
 Was described by a Manchester Metropolitan University website as 'Liverpool's leading psyhcogeographical curate'. [?]
 A week at St Beuno's on the North Wales coast, formerly the college where Gerard Manley Hopkins studied, seeking the muse. [?]
 Bought my first DVD player so I could watch Alain De Botton's Status Anxiety. [?]
 Said goodbye to David Sheppard, a massive, massive influence on me. [?]
 Ran a retreat at Bishop's House, Iona, for a group from St Mary's Ealing gathered by Kenneth and Suzanna Rust. Theme: Healing Places, around the theology of place which has become my obsession these last 18 months. [?]
 I was handed the chaplaincy of Everton FC after years of waiting for the previous chaplain to step down. In time to celebrate with David Moyes and team our best ever Premiership finish. [?]
 Attended the Roly Howard farewell match at Marine (Liverpool v. Everton old boys) marking the end of the country's longest-serving term of management and the man whose teams' achievements excited my youth. [?]
 Stood naked on Crosby beach for a whole day, looking seawards. No one noticed as I integrated with the one hundred Antony Gormley statues also on the beach. [?]
 Went to see Waterson-Carthy at the Pacific Road with Paul and Adrian, but Eliza wasn't there due to ill health. [?]
 Welcomed new colleague Helen Bennett to our group of three churches. From Beverley Minster - quite a contrast to Norris Green. [?]
 Went to see Kathryn Williams and Eliza Carthy at the Liverpool Academy with Adrian, but when we arrived the gig had been cancelled. [?]
 Married Deirdre who I met at the Green Man folk festival last summer. She is a geography teacher and folk singer. Looks like Joanna Newsom and sings like Vashti Bunyan. Subsequently spend each Thursday evening at Pen 'n' Whistle Folk Club supporting her polished act with examples of my newly-penned beat poems. [?]
 Holidayed in St Ives again. Gorgeous. [?]
 Took a day trip up the Manchester Ship Canal by Mersey Ferry. On the banks cows grazed, sheep scurried, all manner of aquatic and bird life flourished. Herons pursued us past the Anderton Boat Lift. The sun shone on Salford Quays. [?]
 Joined a coach load from Our Lady Queen of Martyrs, our Justice and Peace Group partners, for a day in Edinburgh protesting Make Poverty History. [?]
 Stayed on for the Gleneagles protests. Joined the Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army and was arrested for performing cartwheels down the middle of the A9. [?]
 Honoured to preach at Dave Appleby's priesting in Middlesborough. Lots of jokes in the sermon and Stewart Henderson's brilliant Priestly Duties. [?]
 Got a good mark for my essay on the two-day Liverpool University Continuing Education course The Making of the English Landscape. I wonder if I'm the first person ever to apply landscape studies to Croxteth and Norris Green. [?]
 Sat in Norris Green park every day for a week while a group of young people from Rochdale applied themselves to tidying the place up, in preparation for a two-day festival. At that event I rediscovered my true vocation, operating the music system. [?]
 Jim Hart guided me as I drove his route The Alternative M6, Liverpool to Carlisle by a series of twisting lanes and marginal A-roads peripheral to the motorway. It took all day and provided a wonderfully different view of the great north-west. [?]
 Went on a walking holiday around Glasgow city centre. [?]
 Was present at the premiere of a Mersey Film and Video production, Getting the Boot, a film about - and hosted by - Jane Canning, the bard of the Boot Estate, one of our city's worst housing policy disasters and the place where we live. [?]
 Met Mark E. Smith at the South Bank John Peel tribute concert. He bought me drinks and told me how much he had always admired my work. [?]
 After a fifteen-year gap I was asked to be someone's godfather again. Honoured to hold Gregory Housley during the baptism service his Dad took. Odd for me to be on the receiving end of those tricky baptism questions, for a change. [?]
 At Southwark Cathedral to celebrate with Linda on her graduation from the Centre for Youth Ministry course. Brother and sister both now through Ridley Hall: she got through with top honours, we're very proud. [?]
 Helped organise the Iona Community Regional Plenary - forty-five folks from the north of England at the Friends meeting House, Liverpool, exploring Capital of Culture issues. Included two morning city-centre walks via churches and clubland. [?]
 Bought an iPod. Filled it with Fall classics ready for lengthy listening on a London train journey. Sat in the Quiet Coach by mistake. [?]
 Removed from my post as Everton chaplain after run of dire results. Bill Kenright turns to a psychic for divine assistance and we lose 0-4 to West Brom. [?]
 Presented with runner-up, Priest-in-Chaos category in the Submerging Church awards in a big empty room at Bishopthorpe Palace. Everyone else was at York Minster for John Sentamu's thrilling inauguration. [?]
 Said a prayer at the Beatles Statue in Cavern Walks, for the Liverpool Beatles Appreciation Society on the 20th anniversary of John Lennon's death. [?]
 Back on Crosby Beach for an open-air Nativity play starring those Gormley figures again, plus a real-live camel. [?]
 IN MY DREAMS. It'd be great to be airlifted off Iona but I wasn't there then. However I did have to wait for postponed ferries to get off the island on both of my Iona visits this year, and this New Year weather report was true.
 Completely TRUE. All Hallows on the Wall is the church where Greenbelt has its offices, and Sister Sue from St Saviour's Priory brought a bagful of eggs with her.
 TRUE. REM review here.
 TRUE. Except I've spelt psychogeographical wrong here.
 TRUE - and I hope to be there again in 2006 because it's a fantastic place!
 TRUE. And Spaced as well. As I blogged here, draw your own conclusions.
 TRUE. The former Bishop of Liverpool passed away this month
 Yes, I did, which was a first for me. I've written it all up here for you to see.
 Sadly, the chaplaincy remains firmly IN MY DREAMS. But the finish ... that was incredibly TRUE.
 Yes, it was like a reunion at Rosset Park as we all gathered to say goodbye Roly.
 Erm, there are a hundred Gormleys on the beach as this Pic of the month confirms. As to whether the bit about my standing naked among them is FALSE or IN MY DREAMS - I'll leave that for you to decide.
 Frustratingly TRUE (Though Norma Waterson and Martin Carthy are excellent in their own right, but they were all full of colds)
 TRUE. And we'd had a good day out in Beverley beforehand.
 Frustratingly TRUE again. We spent the evening filling ourselves with Cains beer and large pizza to offset our deepening sense of Eliza-lessness.
 FALSE of course. There is no such place as the Pen 'n' Whistle in Liverpool. It's the Pig 'n' Whistle.
 TRUE. Though if The Tate gets its expansion plans through, sadly, it may be my last time at Seabirds House.
 Got a bit carried away here. Most of it was very TRUE, but of course the sun didn't shine on Salford Quays.
 TRUE, and looking back it was an encouraging day.
 IN MY DREAMS. I'd love to have the nerve to become a member of The Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army but I have to make do with preaching weakly about these issues instead.
 TRUE. If you want to read it, it's here.
 TRUE. This was for Merseyfest, a Christian event I approached with some caution but enjoyed a lot in the end. It proved, if nothing else, that [Christians] are pretty good at putting on a party
 TRUE. More off-track travelling next year, I dearly hope.
 Happily TRUE. And it's a beautiful, fascinating city to roam.
 FALSE. Not IN MY DREAMS because I suspect that what Billy Bragg said with a thin grin on a Peel tribute show, is probably correct: Smith isn't a very nice man to meet. Nevertheless a musical genius whose visionary rhythms run through my bones.
 Again, TRUE, and a lovely autumn occasion.
 TRUE. The walk I led was full of great surprises.
 TRUE (though the bit about the train was slightly exaggerated for comic effect)
 First part FALSE (see ). But even more regrettably every detail in the last sentence is entirely TRUE.
 FALSE but if there was such an award I'd be happily up for it as unlike many of my peers I've settled on viewing all the anxious agitation about emerging church from an uncomfortable distance. Sentamu's inauguration was something to applaud, though.
 This was TRUE, except it was the 25th anniversary, another sign I'm ageing...
 TRUE too, thanks to some enterprising and thankfully very silly church people in my home town.