Blogging has to take second place to endless work at the moment. But the work is brilliant. Meetings with different groups of people, committees, services, rural briefings, etc. are all great. I am loving it.
However, in what seemed like a good idea a couple of months ago, I and some hardy colleagues used the longest day (sunrise to sunset on Tuesday 21 June) to work our way through the Diocese of Bradford. The aim was threefold: (a) to help me orientate myself geographically and culturally, (b) enable me to meet people from across the urban/rural spread in quick time, and (c) allow those who wished to to meet me briefly en route. It also offered a great photo opportunity at every stage.
Unbelievably, this was questioned by one or two people who thought it gave out the wrong messages. I make no comment.
I got up at 3.30am after four hours sleep and set off with my Chaplain and the Archdeacon of Craven for the drive to one of Yorkshire’s three peaks, Pen-Y Ghent. Despite the forecast, the weather just got worse as we went north. We were met by 14 others at Horton in Ribblesdale and set off up the mountain. Within a hundred metres we were soaked through – and quickly reached the point where there was no point trying to stay dry. Anywhere. I’ve never had so much fun with my clothes on.
We got down three hours later with the rain still fluctuating between ‘lashing down’ and ‘hammering down’. Visibility was very limited and views non-existent. But it was a brilliant start to a great day with some wonderful people – especially the ones who met us at the top with coffee and cakes!
We went from there to a farm cafe (to get changed and have breakfast), then visited a farm to meet a great farmer and some surprisingly ugly sheep (with the greenest snot I have ever witnessed) and try dry-stone walling. We visited schools, tea shops, churches (Bolton Priory), traders in Haworth (Bronte country), an English language class for Asian women in Bradford (run through a church), a youth project on a large urban estate (inspiring), a seminar with theological students from Durham on interfaith matters, then a curry in Bradford.
I am now wondering whether I should do something similar on midsummer’s day every year. The suggestion that we should do this year’s itinerary in reverse is just silly: start at 4am with a curry and end on top of Pen-Y Ghent in the dark rain?