Sunday, July 22, 2007

Church and chilling

Yes, time to sit down, people, as astonishingly we have actually gone to church today. Not to our former Sunday abode (God forbid - never again, I think!) but to St Mary's in Shackleford. Nice looking building - quite light inside, but with a traditional feel. And what must surely be the longest aisle in the county. At least for a village church. Sensible move therefore to put a communion table in the middle of it - if the priest had actually done the biz at the altar, we would never have been able to see him at all.

And, service-wise, it was okay. Only 45 minutes, fairly straightforward and with some much-appreciated periods of silence as we flitted our way through. I was rather taken with the priest's sense of humour too - he messed up the opening words, greeting us with "Grace, Merce and Peacey" instead of the more usual phrase, and then broke into some wonderfully ice-breaking giggles and explained that he'd been out at a party the night before. Well, it had been Saturday ... After which we all laughed with him and started again. Much the best way to approach any religious service, to my mind. Ye gods, but if we can't laugh at that, what the hell can we laugh at?!

The sermon was fine too - pleasingly feminist, and I liked the way he took the story of Mary sitting at Jesus' feet, listening, and Martha bustling away in the kitchen, and didn't give us the usual spin on it. Instead, he pointed out that the scenario actually shows how Jesus took gender expectations of male hospitality (the men should be entertaining the guest, and the women should be behind the scenes) and turned the whole thing on its head by allowing Mary the right to be there. Not something I'd thought of before. I'm all for equality (as long as I'm first, eh?!...).

Post-service, the (rather posh but perfectly pleasant) people of St Mary's were obviously so astonished to find some strangers in their midst that they fell upon us with cries of joy and biscuits. Which was a bit scary in its way, but strangely not horrid.

And the really, really good thing about St Mary's is that they only have two services a month - so no need to feel committed on a serious level, hurrah! So, we'll see ... but, bloody hell, I ain't going in for a sainthood yet awhile.

Back on the ranch, I have (at last! at last!) managed to get 10,000 words done to The Bones of Summer. And the plot (I hope ...) is beginning to rattle along more, which pleases me. Craig, I think, is turning out to be a character with his own timings and ways of doing things, in spite of his apparent level-headedness and quietness. Hmm, it's a funny life.

And I've written a poem inspired by yesterday:


My dreams are filled
with parakeets.
They fly,
green bodied and full,
from tree to river
across my path.

Surprising visitors
not native to this island
but growing so,
I would, like you,
take an unknown journey,
welcome unlooked for,
my own bright plumage fluttering,
glimpsed on an unsung shore.

This afternoon, I'm planning a well-deserved nap, catching up on my two "Will & Grace" videos, and later on I'll ring Mother and see how she's doing. Ooh, and tonight there's the joy and sorrow of the last episode of "Rome", as well as the need to video "Clapham Junction" (part of Channel 4's gay week). Talking of which, did anyone see the utterly marvellous "A Very British Sex Scandal" last night - about 1950s homosexuality and the lead-up to the Wolfendon Report? It was incredibly human and gripping, and extremely well done. And an eye-opener to me, who had no idea about the era at all. Also interesting to hear men today talking about how things had been then - social history is just so good. The older I get, the more it seems to mean to me.

Oh, and two kind Writewords folk have had pity on me and taken the review copies of A Dangerous Man and A Stranger's Table which have been hanging around since March - so another load off my mind! Unless they hate them of course - you never can tell in this game.

This week's haiku is:

Two grey herons
on grass: elegant S-shapes
carved in summer air.

Lordy, lordy, but am I becoming a bird-obsessive? Someone pass me the smelling salts ...

Today's nice things:

1. Church without fear
2. Getting 10,000 words done to The Bones of Summer without imploding (yet)
3. TV.

Anne Brooke
Anne's website
Pink Champagne and Apple Juice
Goldenford Publishers

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