A view backstage at Beverley Minster

What? Who? Where?

You’ll have to excuse me this week, may not be up to my normal standards, busy, busy, busy – can’t stop, see you later…. Etcetera, etcetera.
Frankly I don’t know what day of the week it is at the moment. It’s all very well saying how unpredictable my job is but it’s also nice to know that there’s normally an underlying regular sequence to it all that gives it a rough form.
It’s like jazz, a basic structure upon or within which you can improvise as the mood takes you.
Well, Easter week has taken that structure and thrown it out of the window – it’s felt as if someone changed the song we were playing and I wasn’t given time to practice.
Bear in mind that my weekly cycle normally starts on a Thursday, so while many of you are starting to wind down for the weekend I’m in Monday mode.
It’s fine – Thursday is nice and simple: communion service at 10am, followed by coffees across the road. Then I just coast through the day, doing roof tours if necessary, some cleaning up after the Emmaus Group activities from the night before and whatever other little chores come my way.
During the afternoon I set up the hymn books and service booklets for Choral Evensong, put up reserved notices for the choir in the quire (don’t ask, I haven’t got an answer to why it’s spelled that way. It’s not as if you can confuse a large, ornate room containing lots of seats with a mobile group of men, women and boys who make a noise, but there you are).
Anyway, once I’ve switched on and checked the sound system for the night then that’s it as far as services are concerned. I can spend Friday just rattling round the church and Saturday, often in partnership with John, setting everything up for Sunday, getting the different altars ready for the 8am and 10.30am services respectively.
Sunday I look after the services themselves, tidy up afterwards and then Monday is my Friday, with various meetings, roof tours and cleaning, normally working alongside John again and a general feeling of winding down for my midweek weekend.
Not this week. Now let’s see if I can remember this properly:
Thursday wasn’t normal because we had a special Maundy Thursday evening service combined with the Methodists that involved washing the feet of a few selected members of the congregation (presumably those with the smelliest feet, although I don’t know as I wasn’t there). This was to remind ourselves of a Bible story where Jesus proved to his disciples that he was their servant as well as their leader.
John had set up a stage and chairs for this and took it down again afterwards so all I  had to do was prepare for Good Friday.
The altars had to be cleared of all dressing and decorations, the cross taken down, the church emptied of banners and flowers as we prepared to remember the murder of Jesus. An early service, like normal Sundays, then the Passion play starting from our North Door, then three hours of meditations from the pulpit, (which isn’t normal),  Then an afternoon service (which we do on some Sundays) open to all ages (which we normally only do in mornings).
So no roof tours that day – meaning that it definitely had a ‘Sunday’ feeling all day as far as I was concerned.
Saturday was fairly normal but busy – two large groups for roof tours and I also had to do all the setting up for Sunday by myself – John had, mysteriously, chosen this week to go on holiday.
A few hours overtime was needed to get everything in its place for this and, of course, this Sunday had a bells and whistles All Age Communion. In brief, this means that more pews than normal have to be moved into different positions, a massive projector screen is carried into the pulpit, various extra musical and electrical things moved around, railings installed in critical places, extra seats put down the aisles – you get the picture. Still, it was nice to see the church full when the service finally started.
Then, Bank Holiday Monday was like a Saturday, only more so.
One team was serving refreshments in the Hall so I had to get them a float, provide coffee-making facilities and dig out various other little things they needed, while also preparing another team for a day of roof tours.
Thanks to publicity in the papers, on this blog and via Radio Humberside these turned out to be extremely popular and I climbed those 113 steps to the Central Tower five times in total.
It felt a very satisfactory way to finish my week, but it wasn’t to be like that because, thanks to John’s holiday, I had to work Tuesday as well (my normal Saturday).
So today (Wednesday) my mind is telling me that it’s either ‘normal world’ Monday today, or normal world Friday, whereas it’s actually ‘Pickford’ Sunday and I’ve got a day off.
So that why I’m sitting here writing this blog one day later than normal while someone’s yelling at me that it’s time to go on a day trip with the family. I’d better do what they say.
I haven’t got a clue where we’re going either.

First published April 2009


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