Monday, 13 August 2012

On Being A Clergyman’s Wife

Holiday reading been a little slower than usual, as the medication for my insect bites is making me incredibly sleepy – I have been dozing over a pile of magazines borrowed from SIL Marion! However I have finished one of the books I brought with me

pymjane and prudence

I loved it! Jane acknowledges her failure as a clergy wife, hoping that the move from the suburbs to a country parish will give her a fresh start and the opportunity to do better. I laughed out loud to read Jane’s statement that “clergy wives have to be very careful you know. They have to be sitting there in their dowdy old clothes in a pew rather too near the front–it’s a kind of duty”

Jane is also given to wearing a very old coat, described - more than once – as ‘the kind you’d feed the chickens in’ Given that I almost invariably sit very near the front, and my coat is from the last Millennium – all I need now is the chickens!

It is an amusing, clever book which I really enjoyed. If you want two great reviews, check out Jilly Cooper’s piece here, which is actually reproduced as the intro to my edition [pictured above] or the piece Mags wrote last year.


  1. I once new a woman who was a journalist for the Telegraph who was married to our local vicar, she always used to say 'I'm not the vicars wife, I'm the wife of a vicar. There is a distint difference!'

  2. Great. How about linking in to Books You Loved:
    Have a great week!

  3. Sorry that you are having a bad time post- bites. Get plenty of rest.

  4. You've convinced me! I'm going to check to see if I can get it on my Kindle.
    I'm so sorry to hear about your insect bites. You DO need rest though, Angela!

  5. LOL!!! I sit in the front and have nothing but hand-me-downs. I fit right in to the role! Actually, I'm feeling discouraged today about our congregation so you did make me laugh. :-)

  6. I LOVE Barbara Pym books and think I have them all. Angela I think I have a spare copy of Some Tame Gazelle, if you would like it. I found it on Ebay and because I'd got so many didn't realise I already had it.

    Do let me know and I'll let you have my email address, then I can find out where you want it sending.

    I wish I could have a beautiful summer house like that. I have a very battered shed which was 'refurbished' by a friend of my husbands. For what I paid him I could have had a lovely new one which would not now be leaking through the front of the roof as he did not put the corrugated roof over the edge at the front.

  7. I sit near the front too and do not wear up to the minute clothes either -must look for this book.

  8. All her books are well worth reading. They are all of a long gone period which are very refreshing in today's cut and thrust lifestyle.

  9. Oh, thanks for the nod! We mus discuss the one I'm reading at the minute when next we meet!

  10. Sounds like you're taking diphenhydramine - sorry to hear about the insect bites. The perils of summer.

    I must re-read J&P - I do enjoy Barbara Pym. Re fictional vicar's wives, another favourite is Agatha Christie's Bunch Harmon (who appears in the short story Sanctuary and also in at least one novel). I also like Angela Thirkell's Mrs. Miller, and Miss Read's Mrs. Partridge of Fairacre. For some reason we don't seem to have an equivalent literary tradition of "pastor's wives" here in the USA.


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