Flicking the Switch

I think Susan Howatch’s church novels talked about ‘flicking the switch’ – the idea that one can plunge into some spiritual realm just like that.  Well it isn’t just like that.  Three days with the Benedictines in Rostrevor.  It takes one day to begin to get yourself calmed down.  Another day of reasonable calm.  And then the ‘stuff’ begins to gather around you again.  But how could it be otherwise?

But it was great and I’ll tell you a bit more about it as we go.

Speaking of ‘flicking the switch’, Mr Easyjet said that we were sitting on the tarmac in Belfast with ‘just a slight technical problem which we hope to resolve very soon.’  Visions of him sitting surrounded by red warning lights .. or Canada Geese flying by.  Dublin accent.  Warm, friendly and reassuring – but maybe not quite that Sully calming effect.


  1. I think I’m much better at shifting from ‘work’ to ‘not work’ than I used to be. Change of clothes helps. The problem is that there isn’t enough ‘not work’ to go round. With the retreat, it helped to be back in the same place. But it was annoying how things began to creep back into the mind. Which means that one should really try to clear the desk before going.

  2. Oh yes…My current Spir. Dir says that one has to book at least 4 days to get anywhere – and certainly the white noise won’t stop for me until at least the end of the first full day…but then I come home in such a state of openness/hyper awareness that I am very little use to anyone without some sort of decompression process. REally tricky – and I guess it will only be more so now I’m a real vicar!
    As to Fr Darrow – well, he’s a bit of a special case, but boy oh boy he used to make me feel hugely inadequate!

  3. I read all nine of the ‘church’ series – Starbridge and then the London ones. Ms Howatch is excellent at shaping reality to fit her storylines.

    That pilot may hail from this parish – be very careful what you say.

  4. I know, it takes me 48 hours to unwind, and then I have to wind up again. I ask myself how Jesus managed, he must have had similar problems. The disciples were an unruly lot for example.

  5. It was only Nick who talked about “flicking the switch”. The other characters took a dim view of it. Don’t say you’ve read them too?

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