Thursday 22 April 2021

Happy Surprises

Thursday already? The week has flown by with wings of coffee and lovely walks outdoors. When the younger generations ask, "What did you do in the pandemic, Auntie?" I will say, "I went for walks. I planned meals. I gained but then lost weight, and I took a lot of vitamins. In short, I tried to eliminate as much stress from my life as possible."

It has been a week of happy surprises although the first surprise was rather mixed. Great was the consternation of the congregation of St. Trad of Invertradling this Sunday when not our pastor but young Father Novus processed from the sacristy. I had heard rumours that Fr. Novus had been learning the Old Rite, but I did not expect to see the evidence so soon. It was Good Shepherd Sunday; where was our own good shepherd? Was he on holiday? Was he ill? Was he dead, and no-one had seen fit to tell us? 

Fortunately, there was a homily, always a reliable source of news at St. Trad of Invertradling. Fr. Novus revealed that Fr. Vetus had taken ill. The congregation's silence of curiosity turned into a silence of sharp concern. Naturally I thought first of the vile germ and then of my mother's explanation for the Reformation, which was that the Black Death had killed all the good priests who bravely ministered to the people and spared the bad ones who ran away to their country estates. The prayers of St. Trad of Invertradling went up and into eternity and helped get Fr. Vetus out of hospital, for--behold!--when we emerged from the church, there he was in the carpark under a beanie, looking wan and thin but most definitely alive. 

So that was the first happy surprise. 

The next happy surprise was that a Canadian accountant had vanquished the Canadian Revenue Agency on my behalf and wrested my 2017 money from them. Round two should see the return of my 2018 money, for valiant is my Canadian accountant. 

The third happy surprise was the sheer beauty of Edinburgh's Old Town on an April day. Benedict Ambrose and I have had no reason to be in the Old Town for months and months, and it is still largely untouristed, which means that the lovely streets and buildings are uncrowded. We went to the Princes Street Gardens to see the Polish Soldiers' Memorial, aka Wojtek the Bear. The Gardens were utterly lovely. 

B.A. and I were in the Old Town to make little videos for my workplace, for someone had the excellent idea of stressing our international reach. Naturally I didn't think our garden was quite as iconic as Edinburgh Castle, so that is where we went before visiting Wojtek. I borrowed Wojtek to stress my own international reach. On the way to the Castle, we stopped by another local monument. 

Here is Princes Street Gardens. So lovely! 

I now feel inspired to offer some life hacks I have found particularly useful this week: 

1. Wear the same hard-wearing skirt for ordinary daily wear and have one good suit for work occasions (like above).

2. Plan out meals for the week and write shopping lists. 

3. Spend an hour in inspirational reading and prayer before turning on the computer. 

4. Write down every penny you spend and make a note of why you spent it. 

5. Leave battles with the taxman to a good accountant.  

6. Conversations in foreign languages are really very relaxing once you know how--and with whom--to have them. 

7. Always leave time for a walk in the woods, especially on a sunny day. 

8. Foldable exercise bike. 

9. Wellness journal. 


  1. "the Black Death had killed all the good priests who bravely ministered to the people and spared the bad ones who ran away to their country estates." -> Thank you for the lesson, will explain to my kids when apportunity arises. I knew it was because of corrupted priests but never thought about why corruption increased.

    1. Well, I'm not saying it is true. I am just saying that's what my mother told me. But that said, the Black Death ended around 1353, and Jan Huss, arguably the first Protestant, was born in 1372.

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