"My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together." “When I hear people say politics and religion don't mix, I wonder what Bible they are reading.” (Archbishop Desmond Tutu)

"And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, and to love kindness and mercy, and to humble yourself and walk humbly with your God?" Micah 6.8

"Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." Philippians 4.19

"Work out your salvation with fear and trembling." Philippians 2.12

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Man-flu, righteous umberellas, WWGF do? high disclosing physicists and intimidating Bishops.

I've been off work for three days with man-flu - bravely borne and without fuss, of course. Just a white wine spritzer please. Larry, one of my American friends was unfamiliar with the term. Two of my female friends felt well placed to advise him.

"Man-flu" is the worst kind." June is in her 70s. She is very wise. "Women never have it."

Erika developed the idea. "Man flu can be anything from a slight runny nose right through to a tickly throat and the occasional sneeze. It requires absolute bed-rest, lots of heroic suffering and being looked after. It must be borne with strength and fortitude and one must make sure not to make too much of it."

I think man-flu is a great existential balance because while it is about male stoicism, it is essential to hint at significant suffering.

So: I had uncontrolable shivering and every joint, bone and muscle ached. After three days I also had cabin fever. Isn't day-time T.V. rubbish?

I note from Facebook that Larry now has a sore throat. I've no doubt that this is the onset of man-flu so I'm pleased we were able to put him right.

The problem is that in our house each of us only has a twenty four hour tolerance of other people's illness. For the first day all is sweetness and light. Beyond that, tough shit. You're on your own. Get over it.

I had trouble with the DVD recorder while I was off and was too wooly headed to cope. The answer to all such problems is to ring the mad physcist.

"What-ho shit for brains. Can I ring you back? I'm in the loo. Oh bollocks, I've got shit on my phone." One of the things I love about John is that he likes to keep you very well informed.

I set off for church this morning in the pouring rain with an over-large sports umberella. About a hundred yards from church a passing knob-head decided to drive very fast through a large kerbside puddle. At times like this I should ask What would Jesus do? I don't. It's much more fun to ask What would Giles Fraser do? Or What would George Carey do? This latter one is easy because he would, of course, see it as a direct attack on Christianity in modern society - and outside a church too. My, isn't Christianity being marginalised?

Had the traffic lights been red I have no doubt that my umberella would have left a series of impressive dents (and a shattered windscreen) in said car. As it was he accelerated away leaving me dripping wet and cursing loudly. It was probably a good job I wasn't wearing my dog collar but I did feel I could identify with the righteous indignation of Jesus and can now picture him cleansing the temple with a large sports umberella. I like a bit of muscular Christianity. I could be the military wing of the C. of E.

That's not to say that I necessarily believe that Giles Fraser would beat the living daylights out of the driver, but hey, that aggressive haircut? Enough said.

I spent the first ten minutes standing against a very hot radiator in the vestry, smelling of wet dog and looking, I have to say, rather as if the radiator and I were on far better terms than was absolutely healthy.

Talking of dog collars - good segue, huh? - my Boss related an incident with the Diocesan Bishop. We don't get many episcopal visits in school, in fact I think this was the first. I had been intrigued when the Boss told me the vicar of Wakefield was coming to see him. I should have realised he meant the Bishop. The purpose of this visit was unclear but as we have a local clergyman who keeps going on about church schools, we both suspected that this might have been the clerical agenda. The Boss has been very open to this possibility: "Over my dead body." Yes, that open!

How did it go? I asked the next morning.

"Well.." The Boss had a wicked twinkle in his eye. " ... it was very amusing. Poor Mrs. Fox in reception was dealing with a particularly awkward parent who was becoming spectacularly aggressive about the fact that his daughter's mobile phone had been confiscated. Just as he was reaching a crescendo of cursing he looked around and saw the Bishop standing there, legs firmly planted and an eyebrow raised."

Ah, well, the flash of a purple shirt can often work wonders.

"Purple shirt? Not a bit of it! He was in full papal regalia, mitre, staff of office and all. He never uttered a word but the parent gulped noticeably, put his head down and departed muttering "You've not heard the last of this!" Mrs. George has decided that she'll dress as a nun when dealing with parents from now on."

Comprehensive education is indeed a broad church.


  1. I think if you had "uncontrolable shivering and every joint, bone and muscle ached" you had real flu and my sympathy. It has always irritated me when people refer to sniffles and a slight headache as flu. That is just a head cold. I use to get real flu at least every 2nd year while teaching but "touch wood" never since having the annual flu shot, highly recommended. Continue to love your writing.

  2. June is in her 70s. She is very wise.

    You could have left out the first part. Just saying. ;-)

    My dear man, it seems your troubles never end. Woe is you.

  3. I only had it for three days Brian, but then I've also had the jab.