Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Hospitality and all that.

There is a certain delicious variety in living in a community with a ministry of Hospitality.  One night you sit down to dinner with an RC sister who was a headmistress in Rwanda, the next with a woman who hung out at the Colony Room in Soho in the 1960's and who turned down Francis Bacon when he asked her to model for him! (On the entirely reasonable grounds that she didn't fancy spending all day with a nasty egomaniac genius looking at her private parts!).  For the next 2 days I'm on days off but am brother Guest master.  Ora pro nobis!

Community is one of those things that can be both disturbed and enriched by visitors.  It's maybe why Churches are so odd about them.  In some you are warmly welcomed, in others frankly ignored and in others desperately grabbed!  My experience of American Episcopal Churches (both Diocese of California and affiliates of Fort Worth) has tended to be the latter.  Expatriate Anglicans in Europe the second (although Cyprus was better than Tenerife - slightly) and the last almost never.  If you welcome the visitor in they can be a disturbance to the even tenor of life (dietary requirements for example - try cooking for Crohn's Disease sometime!) but they can enrich it unexpectedly and startlingly.  Conversations can lead to friendship and even, indeed, to deeper relationships.  Which seems to have happened to me.

Yup, I am officially besotted with a former guest.  We chatted long into the January nights discovering shared experiences and interests.  We agreed to meet up in the future to view art galleries (a mutual passion) and we did.  And something rather odd grew. Well, odd to me anyway.  Affection that was reciprocated.  My version of the Great Leap Forward was that it was meant to be a peck on the cheek as we said goodnight but a head movement and my lack of specs meant it landed on the lips. (Honest!)  The next meeting started with a smooch and things really progressed and deepened from there.  So last weekend it was off as a couple to the Significant Other's work colleagues' wedding.  God save us!  Me part of a couple - I still can't really quite take it in.

Obviously, a few peeps know about this all. Fellow members of this community.  A severely dazed Chaplain of Fettes College (poor David nearly dropped his torte in Peckham's when I told him!).  Two rather stunned mothers! (I head south to be introduced on the 8th of October!!!  The Scottish event is yet to be sorted - Ma was in Turkey at the time).  Interesting times indeed!

Oh, I suppose a name might be in order for future reference.  It will explain the dazedness of the Chaplain of Fettes I suspect.  Her name is Rachel.  Don't ask me what happened (the lack of booze may have had something to do with it). That and someone said to me they had thought they were bisexual until they sobered up .  Then they realised that what was up was that they were broken and were desperate for anyone to love them and fix them and weren't fussy which gender.  I heard that several months prior to meeting Rachel by the way.

Good heavens!  I seem to have done a "coming in" post (which has been gestating for ages).  God of Surprises anyone?


  1. Congratulations, John. Good luck to you both.

  2. John, I am really happy for you (if a little surprised!)

  3. Ruth, I scarcely imagine you were more surprised than myself (or indeed me mother:-))! But thanks to all of you!

  4. Undazed now and still delighted for you both!x

  5. Blimey John! I'm just getting back into the blogs and that was a surprise I wasn't expecting. The best of luck to you both!

  6. Unexpected surprises are the best/worst! Like the other day when I bought a really soppy fridge magnet! Romance fair addles the brain so it does:-)!