Richard Trahair shares an insider's experience of the wide-ranging 'goings on' in a large Church of England diocese in the south of England from the 1980s.
As estate manager - Diocesan Property Secretary - for more than thirty years, he reflects on the astonishing range of characters he worked alongside, and the diverse buildings and land for which he was responsible. Richard delves into the nature of a parsonage house, its parish loyalties, and the keen controversy over selling the grand old houses and replacing them with smaller ones so that the impoverished clergy and their families can at least keep warm.
Both people and places were a heady mix of the delightful, the worthy, the curious and the downright eccentric. With encounters recounted that range from wacky and hilarious, to thought-provoking and historical, catch a glimpse into the life of a twenty-nine-year-old surveyor in a diocesan office dominated by retired military gentlemen, rattling around in a huge 15th century former city workhouse, as he grows into his role.
Richard Trahair is a retired chartered surveyor and Justice of the Peace, a church organist and one-time churchwarden, immersed with his wife Biddy in the frantic life of a small rural parish community a long way from anywhere in particular. He has written two published novels during his retirement.
Rt Rev'd Dr Andrew Rumsey, Bishop of Ramsbury (Guest Review) - 01 Jun, 2022
A winsome, witty, and often poignant book. It offers an inside view of a period when the Anglican parish was undergoing a historic shift - away from a centuries-old pattern of rambling rectories and often eccentric arrangements to a Church of England that was more professionalised, but somehow less assured of its place in the landscape. These reminiscences of a Diocesan estate manager - often hilarious, sometimes grievous - are told with much affection for this ancient institution and those who faithfully serve it, providing a valuable commentary on what we have both lost and retained.