Monday, 22 March 2010

Birds and bishops

Yesterday I woke up early to hear a blackbird singing very quietly inside my left ear.  It was a very peculiar sensation, because normally blackbirds don't fit down one's ear hole.  But however I turned my head it certainly wasn't outside in the garden.  In the end I put my finger over the ear and - silence!  So I deduced I was deaf in my right ear, only as a result of a build-up of wax, probably a result of not cleaning them properly.  (I blame the MND, of course!)  It's become a recurrent temporary problem lately.  It made me repent of my lack of sympathy for friends who are becoming 'hard of hearing'.  It is both disorientating and inconvenient.  In my case there's a simple remedy; but most people aren't so fortunate.  It can be a real disability.  Anyway this morning I bit the bullet and we phoned the surgery.  'Oh, that'll be the new nurse,' we were told.  Jane wasn't convinced that was good news, but in my experience new nurses can be less brutal.  The first time I had my ears syringed the nurse blasted freezing cold water through the ear canals.  It took two goes, as I remember, to shift the blockage!  Nowadays they prescribe two weeks of softening up with olive oil first.

The news broke this morning that the bishop of Reading is being promoted to Chelmsford - presumably in the summer.  It's back to his roots for our Stephen Cottrell.  He was brought up in Southend and will be one of the few bishops educated in the state system, I believe.  We used to like him in Stanford, which was saying something - He's a good people person and communicator of the good news.  Funnily enough months ago, a friend of mine from Chelmsford rang to ask what he was like as a bishop - part of the discreet consultation process before appointment.  I'm not saying it was my recommendation made the difference...  no, no, no!


  1. We lay people don't have much to do with bishops (if we can avoid it) but I remember that when Stephen was first appointed to Reading he came to visit us at St Andrew's, Shrivenham. At the 'kiss of peace' he came all round the church and shook hands with every member of the congregation. I thought that was a perfect introduction. I wonder if we'll get a Wenham next?

  2. I think the only eligible Wenhams are too old. We could start a 'Wenham for Reading' group, but I suspect Clare wouldn't thank us. And anyway, to be honest, it's not a job I'd wish on a friend, let alone a brother!