Although it's all still three months away, slowly, my timetable is filling with episcopal type things; little traces in the lightening sky, harbingers of what is ahead. I meet weekly with Bronwyn, our Diocesan Manager, and with Debbie who will be my PA. At the moment both have forgotten more about being a bishop than I know and both are extremely useful sources of data. There are some huge issues to find my way into the centre of, and I am starting from the outside and working my way in. I have begun to consider the peripheral bits of the office. Such as apparel, for example. I will have to wear some fairly strange clothes. Today my friend Carl popped over for a while to explain them all to me and to show me websites where you can buy Rochets and Chimeres and little red things that tie around your wrists. I'll need a mitre and a cope, which are available off the peg or I could ask someone to make them. Off the peg is expensive. Making is slow, and soon New Zealand will lose itself in the spending carnival we have replaced Christmas with, and then take a month off to recover; so time is slipping away, but I can't yet work up the required enthusiasm to act urgently on the matter. More interestingly, I have people already booking my time for next year, and I am pleased about that, as the folk with that sort of initiative have generally got something innovative in mind. And of course, there's also a parish to run.
I escape from all this by thinking about another peripheral detail. What will I drive? A big Australian six? A grunty little 4X4? A Korean wannabe? I'll need to be able to sit in it for very long periods. It'll need to be able to get past a milk tanker with the smallest of opportunities. It'll need to be able to tow a caravan. These are trappings, but they all have a bearing on the question which lies just over the horizon in the gathering dawn: what sort of bishop do I want to be? And that question is the really tiring one because I've starting lying awake in the wee small hours trying to answer it. Not worrying, but imagining. I'm thinking of what can be done and how. I'm thinking of what I have to offer the Anglicans of Southland and Otago and how it could all be most useful. I'm thinking of people we have and people I know and the talents they have to share. And I'm starting to feel a little stomach churning, heart fluttering, knee weakening excitement, like a kid before Christmas. This might be really, really fun.