about writing and life and God

Shrinking Victorian violet, me?

on January 27, 2013

Naps are not just for cats. Or the under-fives.



It’s been a tiring weekend. Fridays are always draining. Saturday,while delightful, was also a strain. (Stepmother is not an easy role and I wasn’t feeling up to Cruella de Ville red fingernails, the furs and a wicked chortle despite what the accepted script seems to demand.)

Then today. I woke to a transformed world. When I threw open the curtains, I stared at this astonishing new green world! The snow had vanished overnight. No need to stand outside scraping ice off the windscreen. Whoopee, I cried as I ate my breakfast. So much better!

And off I went. Generally, peripatetic lay preaching is a pleasant, peaceful activity. The congregations I serve are unfailingly pleasant and welcoming. The demanding bit, in my opinion, is the prep during the week. So, off I went in good spirits.

Till the only road that is able to get me to where I wanted to go disappeared beneath a lake. A lake so big and long, I couldn’t estimate the depth nor see the end of it. And there wasn’t another vehicle on the road.

I may have mentioned before that I have decidedly craven tendencies. Chicken, that’s me. So having started into this flood and seeing it was much worse than I realised, I reversed back to the lay-by on my side of the road. I should mention I did this before my side of the road was more than an inch or two deep, so my exhaust was in no danger of filling with water.

I lived on the Levels in Somerset for twelve years. I have driven through many a flood. But a lake? And one with a tide on it, flowing strongly across the road?

Two cars passed me and vanished into the flood. (I should mention it was on a sharp bend.) I waited and they did not return. Then two cars sloshed their way with huge wakes towards me. My courage began to revive as it became clear that all was not lost. As three cars – the front one a large substantial four-wheel drive, came past and tackled the flood, I pulled my little car out and, praying fervently every inch of the way, drove through the lake. And it was every bit as horrid as I feared.

Through the next town and onto the main road, my shaking started to subside. Then I took the first right instead of the second and found myself in a highland landscape with torrents flowing across the road. Very scary.

But I got there. With one minute to spare and no thanks to me. I think I took several of those torrents splashing across the road with eyes shut and loudest supplication.

The congregation, bless them, were unworried and cheerfully welcoming. And before I set off for home, one of them got out his van and preceded me down the correct route to make sure it was all right!

Noel Coward was wrong. Norfolk is not flat. I’d also like to state that prayer does produce miracles. But by the time I got home, having been diverted several more times due to floods, I had decided that what I needed today was a nap to help me recover. So it sounds like a shrinking Victoran violet, or a three-year-old or a cat?

So I’ve had one.


4 responses to “Shrinking Victorian violet, me?

  1. Penny Bailey says:

    courage in the face of adversity – well done you and thank you God – together you DID it!!

  2. Congratulations on your perseverance!

    The worst thing to happen to me when I’ve gone out preaching is bursting a tyre – this was shortly after I’d passed my test! I managed to put the spare on, with the jack in one hand and the manual in the other, dressed of course in my Sunday best preaching suit, and eventually arrived at the church, to find that they’d given up on me and gone home!

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