Today, my day off, I decided to redeem myself with the children by a Proper Day Out. After an entertaining visit to the orthodontist, who had moved practice to the other side of Cheltenham without warning, so that we found her only after frantic drive across town....for an appointment that must have taken a good 45 seconds..we headed south to Somerset and Kilve. Amazing beach, with huge stones, and terraced rocks which make most convincing sleeping dragons...plus handy cave for lunch in the rain. All very happy, then as rain intensified and swimming looked increasingly unlikely, we went in search of Exmoor ponies and Lorna Doone. En route through some of the most beautifully wild country I've enjoyed for a while, we saw a sign to 12th century church....Children agreed we could divert, as reward for good behaviour....but have to say I wish we hadn't. The church itself was tiny and quite appealing...on the edge of a tiny hamlet of 10 houses. It houses the smallest and least threatening pulpit I've ever encountered:not so much "6 feet above contradiction" as "a small step above uncertainty". Amazingly it claimed to have both a vicar and a curate (the former being known as The Rev and the latter as Fr....which intrigued me mildly) and was actually planning to hold a service this coming w'end, Evensong taking place every 3rd Sunday...But what reduced me to silent misery was the fact that it was stuffed...and I mean STUFFED...with dead flowers. Three arrangements in the sanctuary, one by the font....they simply shouted of despair and desolation. Here, in the middle of all the tourist routes, signposted from 3 directions, was a church saying "We are dead. We are irrelevant. Even we don't care any more....why should you?"
G remarked in some disgust that only I could find myself in the middle of Exmoor doing theological reflections about dead flowers....sadly, I fear he might not be right...and that others might also see it this way.