Whilst I was training for the priesthood I was given another priest to follow around as she did her job.
For a year I would drive from the south coast of Cornwall to the north where Julia had three parishes.
She taught me the nitty gritty of the job.
I would arrive with a casserole so that we would have something to eat at lunch time and slowly, carefully she taught me.
My ignorance was astonishing...there was so much I didn't know but slowly, carefully she filled in the gaps.
Once I was deaconed I no longer crossed the county very often but she often came to me....she had a home in the same village and a boat here too....and often spent time on the water .
Very old friends told of the slim blonde beautiful girl who thought nothing of shinning up the mast to set the sail . But that was no longer possible. She had broken her back after an accident at the school she taught at and was often in pain.
When I married David she arrived at my house after a day in church for us both and we had a daft hen night. The next morning she married me to David.
We stayed friends during the years of interregnum and practical help was given fairly frequently to begin with as I learned on the job.
We planned her retirement in the village. Lots of good things would be possible in our old age.
My last conversation with her was when she told me she had pancreatic cancer. She died a week later.
I don't know why she is in my head right now or why I'm writing all this down again because I'm pretty sure I've said most of this before but I've failed to shake her off ......
This morning I am not working...and she always told me to make the most of these quiet times because they were inevitably followed by manic ones..so I am sitting up in bed...no eight o'clock this week....and I'm remembering her with a smile on my face...
It was my great fortune to have met her and to have been trained by her and I am sorry we shall not spend our retirements together.
Rest in peace Julia.
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