You know there’s something to be said about being a vexicologist. I’ve been one of them for some time now. It all started twenty-five years ago when I was visiting a friend living on the Cornish coast near Helston. “Frightfully nice to see you old boy,” he said, “but I can’t stop to chat or offer you coffee as I’m just orf for lunch on one of those German mine sweepers you can see there a mile out at sea.” “Good Lord,” quoth I, “how did you manage to get an invitation for that?”

Well it turned out that my chum, Fr Michael Hayes, was a vexicologist, and when he saw the German ship anchor off, he hoisted the (then) West German flag up his flagpole. The German commodore afloat noticed this and asked the Captain of Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose who might be the courteous chappie flying his flag. On being told that it was the Vicar of Porthleven, the luncheon invitation was issued and Fr Michael flew out to the ships along with Culdrose’s Captain where copious amounts of bratwurst were consumed and steins of beer downed. Ja! Guten appetite!

I have been a vexicologist since that day – though no-one has ever invited me to lunch as a result. However, on Sunday I was able to delve amongst my collection to find the pennant of the Commodore Royal Fleet Auxiliary which was duly raised on my flag pole when Commodore Bill Wallworth and his lovely partner Jane visited us for morning coffee. It was great to see Bill and to catch-up with news of the RFA for which I was chaplain 2000-2004 – and I must say hearing from a number of my chums from that unique, fascinating and essential adjunct to the Royal Navy, over the past few weeks has been immensely gratifying and enjoyable.

The double bonus of seeing Billl was that Jane just happens to be an oncology specialist nurse – so, poor girl – I was able to take advantage of her professional advice with a number of pertinent questions relating to my current condition. My wound has healed really very well indeed – but there is a slight gathering of fluid underneath which might need aspirating (are you saying “too much information” at this point??!!) also I am not yet running back on full power, which is frustrating, and my major concern is how much of my voice I am going to get back. Long-term one wonders when the radio therapy will start and in what form and how will it affect me and will it be successful in addressing the other carcinomas. One can’t but help turn these things over in one’s mind – especially during the watches of the night!

However thankfully Christmas preparations displace all this concern as on Sunday up went our tree and all the traditional tinsel and dazzle around the house making it look and smell and feel…well, “It’s beginning to look a bit like Christmas…”

Comments on this entry:

  1. Graeme and Fiona – top of the morning to you and hope you get the top off the Schh. bottle – we have just bought such a device and my does it keep it fizzy!!!
    Sorry we cant we with you New Year’s Eve but look forward tos eeing you both soon.
    You really ought to save these blogs- beautiful descriptions of yourself, events, countryside and memories.
    Been to rehab myself this a.m. nothing can be done to help alleviate my discomfort – only whisky can do that and its not yet on free prescription!
    Lots of love and wishes for a super holy and spiritual (!) Festival and better health in 2009

    Fr Peter Clarke · Wednesday 24 December, 2008 · #