Tuesday, July 17, 2018

A Story, Some Biography and a Life Lesson

The great Frank Knowles of Walter Halls School, Mapperley may have had more than one assembly in him (he was Head-Teacher) but I only heard him do two assemblies ever and he used this story both times.

A man was being driven out of his mind by his family. They all lived together in one room, the man, his wife and their four daughters.

Driven to desperation he went to see the village wise man and asked what he could do to get some peace. After a few minutes deliberation and scratching of imaginary beard, the guru said, 'You should get a puppy.'

So the man got a puppy, but two weeks later he was back at the door of wisdom complaining that the children now chased the puppy, and the puppy messed on the floor, plus it need two walks a day and everyone else in the house refused to do it since he had got the puppy. Things were worse not better.

'The puppy needs its own companion' said the source of all knowledge. 'Get a cat'.

Result. Kids chase dog, dog chases cat, dog eats cat food, gets fat needs more walks. Man exhausted.

Now Frank could expand this story to fill the time available until Lesson 1, adding goats, lambs, cows, small furry animals and a mother-in-law. We cut to the chase.

Man, covered in animal hair and dung and with bruises from mother-in-law's broom (it was the 1980s - be gentle with him)  goes to tell the wisdom-dispenser that he is rubbish and is fired.

As he leaves he hears a final apology, 'I was wrong. Get rid of  .'

The man does so and two weeks later he is at the door again dispensing his own wisdom. 'Whatever made you think that all those extra creatures in my house would give me peace. They've all gone now and it is wonderfully quiet. I can hear people speak, the children are playing nicely together in the corner. My wife has time to make tea even more delicious than before and the girls help her.'

Well when our friends who were doing 'Women's Studies' at Nottingham University had finished with Frank and the bruises were healed he played Joni Mitchell's Big Yellow Taxi  and we all reflected on not knowing what we got til it's gone.

So. I was a busy clergyman and became Assistant Rural Dean, then Acting Rural Dean without the admin support the previous Rural Dean had enjoyed and without an Assistant Rural Dean because the old Assistant had got himself promoted in mysterious circumstances. Then the water system played up and we regularly, for six weeks, couldn't get a shower (at no notice) and Diesel the dog came to stay and got himself lame. Yet today the fault with the water system has been identified at last (I did that with a Saturday afternoon's curious experimentation. Dead proud. The engineer now calls me Inspector Clouseau) and is being fixed, the dog is better and is going home, I have found some administrative support from an unexpected source and I have a new colleague who is competent, self-starting and looking for jobs. Paradise will be unpaved as soon as the drilling noise stops.

1 comment:

David said...

Re Rural Dean: the Bath & Wells website lists the Portishead Rural Dean as one “Revd Vacant”. If sufficiently curious to click on the link enabling you to “email Vacant”, you are directed to the email address of St