Avril at Romsey

… and Lancefield and Riddells Creek and Mount Macedon

Various matters of little interest to anyone but myself

It is the first of September. The first day of spring. Hooray! Even more importantly, the date means that I have been going to the gym three times a week for a whole month! And I’m weirdly enjoying it. Last Friday I dragged myself out of bed, moaning and groaning, and only went to the gym because I knew that if I skipped I wouldn’t be able to look an Internet friend from Sydney in the eye. (Which, given we’ve never met in the flesh, might not actually be that much of a problem.) And after all my moaning and groaning I actually felt energised and inspired as I headed home after my workout. Weird and bizarre! Exercise may be working for me.

This morning one of the other gym-goers called out “Good-bye, Avril” as I left the gym, and then said to the woman next to her as I made my way down the stairs: “She’s a lovely girl”. I was torn between being strangely moved by this; puzzled as to how on earth she could have decided that from seeing me exercise; and aggrieved that I am still, at 35, with my rapidly-greying hair, apparently a “girl”. The ‘girl’ part of the compliment didn’t seem accurate. Then I dropped off some groceries at my mother’s house and was told off for not calling her yesterday to see how she was (she’s been sick) and was told very firmly that the ‘lovely’ part of the compliment wasn’t accurate either.

Penguin has released a collection of what it’s calling Popular Penguins, books in the old Orange Penguin format at A$9.95 each. I have been absolutely sucked in. They are so cute and relatively cheap, and over the past week I have bought six of them: High Fidelity by Nick Hornby; Empire: How Britain made the Modern World by Niall Ferguson; Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson; Crimes Against Humanity by Geoffrey Robertson; My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell; The Classical World by Robin Lane Fox. I didn’t already own any of them; they’re all books that at one time or another I’d thought I’d like to read; and I’ve started High Fidelity and am enjoying it. But, basically, I was sucked in by the covers. When it comes to books I have no self-control.

Yesterday I talked about the Fairtrade campaign during the service, and we all taste-tested Fairtrade coffee, tea and chocolate at the lunch afterwards, and it all went wonderfully well. I was so nervous about how people would react to discussions of Fairtrade, but no one argued during or after the service and some told me that they thought that the congregations becoming Fairtrade Faith Communities sounded like a good idea.

I’m never sure which things that I do at church will raise people’s hackles, and which will be accepted and taken for granted. Things that seem absolutely normal for me, like preaching about the evils of the mandatory detention of asylum seekers on Refugee and Migrant Sunday, or not having flowers in the church or the Easter candle lit during Lent, or beginning the service with the acknowledgment of the indigenous custodians of the land, have got me into trouble. And then something like suggesting that we use Fairtrade tea and coffee, which I thought might have led to protests that free trade is better for everyone than fair trade and that such things need to be left to the market seems to have been uncontroversial. Apparently the only reason the congregations hasn’t been using Fairtrade products has been the difficulty in finding them, a problem which is rapidly being overcome as more and more shops stock them.

I bought too much chocolate and was given a couple of left-over blocks to take home. I swear I didn’t do that deliberately!

Went to an afternoon service down in Brunswick and met up with one of my favourite four-year-olds. I asked him if he was coming to my ordination; he asked what an ordination was. I explained, and he said I couldn’t be ordained.

Me: Why not?
Him: Because you shouldn’t be a minister.
Me: What should I be instead?
Him: Nothing. You should just be Avril.
Me: I promise that even when I’m a minister I’ll still be Avril.
Him: You’ll break your promise.
Me: I promise, 100%, cross my heart, absolutely, I’ll still be me.
Him: humph.

Then we went to play soccer. This is the four-year-old who acts as an angel for me, occasionally giving me messages from God when I need them. I suspect this was another one. I need to make sure that when I’m ordained I’m still me.

So, that’s my life at the moment. It’s pretty good, all things considered.


September 1, 2008 - Posted by | Life, etc., Ministry, Pop Culture, Slightly Higher Culture


  1. I know it seems oxymoronic but doing exercise, playing sport etc gives you more energy. Who’d have thunk it.
    And wow you only bought six of the penguins, I think that shows massive self-control. Imagine if they were comics …
    Though I’m not sure about High Fidelity, found it boring in the extreme.

    Comment by Pete | September 2, 2008 | Reply

  2. Hi Avril,

    My name’s Bronislava, and I first heard your name from my honours supervisor last year (I did my thesis on Catholic women religious & sexuality). Since then I’ve heard about you in ASCM circles and Uniting Network circles… and I google stalked you and found your blog 🙂

    I live in Sydney and I’m really an Anglican, but because they’re a bit crazy up here, I’ve started hanging around the Uniting church too. I’m involved in MOW (movement for the ordination of women) and various other things here and there…

    Anyway, I thought I’d track you down, basically because I’ve just decided I really need to step up my activism, in particular I want to start some kind of action group about lesbian/gay/bi stuff within the Anglican church, and I thought you might have some advice, because I gather you’ve had stuff to do with all that in the Uniting church. …and you sound cool in general 🙂

    Okay, I hope I don’t sound too strange or anything. I’d love it if you could send me an email (bronislava at gmail dot com)

    Cheers! Peace!

    Comment by daiskmeliadorn | September 3, 2008 | Reply

  3. Well, the way you script the 4-yo as “Him” makes it sound like a conversation with God.

    I saw that new/old penguin series in Readings. I was fairly gobsmacked to see High Fidelity being flogged next to Crimes Against Humanity. (The latter being the book that led me to Geoffrey, quite literally, when I read the author’s biog and realised his chambers were in my street. Can’t say the same for Nick Hornby. But I know someone who knows his publisher . . .)

    And please, if you could sort out the Sydney Anglicans?

    Comment by Olivia | September 6, 2008 | Reply

  4. I always knew your girlish charms would become evident!
    glad to hear you’re enjoying High Fidelity. Nick gave it to me for my 18th, with a Teenage Fanclub cd. apparently he thought it was a coming-of-age thing.

    Comment by Veryan | September 7, 2008 | Reply

  5. Nick Hornby?

    Comment by Olivia | September 7, 2008 | Reply

  6. What Penguin are doing is great and will probably expose Robinson to more people than would have looked at his work before, whether they will be bothered to actually read it is another matter. It’s not a real page turner.
    Many more people have read and enjoyed Hornby than Robinson. (Books are allowed to entertain.) I found High Fidelity boring but many didn’t and good on them. I would actually rather have dinner with Hornby than Robinson, then we could talk about his musical tastes, 31 Songs is a great book.

    Comment by Pete | September 8, 2008 | Reply

  7. Robertson, please. Thanks for the Hornby tip.

    Comment by Olivia | September 15, 2008 | Reply

  8. Oh Dear Avril,
    Chocolate….my nemesis and downfall also…..aah the memories of Swiss slabs of the stuff!!! We have Fairtrade outlet every month (with choc for the curate!)and moved onto Fairtrade Communion wine….but you may just choose to stick with that excess chocolate!

    Hope you preps for 5/10 are going as madly as mine! Here it is many people’s Harvest Festival…just to remind you that we head into Autumn here! Practising for my first Eucharist is surreal….chasubles are like wearing a cross between carpet and chair cover! But all shaping up well.
    Hey Sydney Anglican activists sounds good. God bless Linda

    Comment by revd. linda | September 18, 2008 | Reply

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