Sabbatical: Back to Glasgow

I’ve arrived back in Glasgow. For those who haven’t realised what I’ve been up to, I’ve been on a big sabbatical trip that has kept me out of the country for 12 weeks.

I was a little cautious about indicating online that my flat was empty for an extended period of time. Facebook friends will know something about where I’ve been but twitter and blog friends won’t know as much.

It is very strange being back. I’m pleased to be home but have a bit of a dose of jet lag which is making me feel decidedly under par. I conquered it on the way out by going swimming in the Pacific soon after I arrived in Vancouver. I suspect that I’d better not try that down at Pacific Quay.

I’ve been living with my watch jumping around all over the place for weeks. Since I set off in September, I’ve shifted time zones forward and backwards by 22 hours altogether. I know some people do this in their work all the time, but it has been a new experience for me and one that has been, at times, rather disconcerting.

Anyway, for those interested, here is the list of places visited. I was trying to visit cathedrals and other interesting churches, looking for those which were growing and trying to search out those with a progressive/inclusive agenda. I find I learn from people who are different from me. You learn most I suspect from people who are different from you but like you in some ways. Some of these were substantial visits of a couple of weeks, other were side trips where I met with people for conversations along the way or simply experienced what was going on around me.

Fairly obviously, it has been a busy trip. An incredible one too. It is a period of time that I’ll never forget. Of course, whilst I’ve been exploring these places, I’ve been meeting the most amazing people – “12 weeks hanging out with cool people” was how one of them described it. I’ve also been enjoying learning so much not only about matters ecclesiastical as about Canada and the USA themselves.

Inevitably, coming back to the UK is a bit of a shock to the system. As I try to get my mind around what time it is, I am also starting to put it all together and pick out the themes and moods that I’ve been travelling around. On the plane on the way back home I looked through, sequentially, all the photographs I’ve taken. There are two and a half thousand of them.

I’ve done the most interesting and refreshing project I could think to accomplish with my sabbatical time away and am immensely grateful to all those who made it possible.

Just a few days more and I will be back at work in St Mary’s. Then the outworking of it all as I bring what I’ve learned into my daily life.

Egrets? I’ve had a few


A few years ago something happened that set all the birdwatchers in the UK atwitter. A snowy egret blew in on an ill wind and landed on the island of Seil. I happened to be there at the time and saw it in the flesh. It looked more than a little lost and was probably wondering who turned the sun off.

Recently I found myself on a beach in the Gulf of Mexico and lo, a snowy egret swooped in and landed right next to me just as I had my camera in my hand. That’s it in the pic above, looking a good deal more perky than its cousin who made it to Argyll.

Proof that I’ve not spent every single day of the last few weeks chasing around the cathedrals, big churches and cool Episcopalians in North America.

Almost, but not quite.

Of which more later.