Last week was exceptional for two reasons: I hadn't been well and then wrote a blog in a paeon of praise to spouse. Well, that state of affairs inevitably wouldn't last and it did not.
In case you think I am just putting my own slant on affairs I would ask you to consider some past history.
When we moved to the Durham Dales our nearest church was thirty miles away. It was a lovely little country church with a small congregation comprised mainly of local people. We were the 'incomers', the newbies and kept a low profile for a while, (you will shortly see why).
On one of our earliest visits to the church, there we were, before the start of the service, sitting quietly and so I thought, very prayerfully, side by side The church was quiet, lit by soft lighting and many candles prompting one to turn ones thoughts heavenwards.
Maybe that was what the rest of the congregation were doing. I certainly was in meditative mood and thought my spouse was too. Suddenly he leaned across to whisper in my ear. I leaned into him eagerly, sure he was about to share a great spiritual insight.
'You see those nuns in front of us?'
I looked and nodded.
'Well, that older one and the one sitting with her; they're keeping an eye on the two younger ones in front of them and if they make a run for it, the older one will shoot them, 'cos she's got a machine gun under that big coat she's wearing.'
So, dear reader, as you can see, that was not quite the spiritual insight I was expecting to hear. Only spouse could construct serial killers out of the loveliest nuns you could wish to meet.
So from the above episode, you will see that when spouse gets into the church, something odd gets into his soul. Here is another for instance - once more in the same church, we were sitting side by side in prayerful mood, or so I thought and spouse once again leaned across to share an 'insight' with me. He had been staring fixedly at the wall to one side of the altar.
'I can see E.T.' quoth he.
Now, I know for a fact, he had not been imbibing of the hop or the grain and to my knowledge there were no magic mushrooms in our fields that he might have partaken of in a moment of hunger or abandon. So what was with the vision of E.T.?
'No, seriously,' he urged, 'look at the wall closely.
He directed my gaze to an extremely damp area of plaster work to one side of the altar. I looked hard. Mm. Was E.T. there? Mm, maybe.
'Now,' he said 'look again. There's a Legionnaire on horseback, galloping away from us, with a monkey at his heels.'
I shuffled along the pew, not to get a better view, only I was a bit worried about spouse. Was it a touch of sun? Why couldn't he concentrate on his prayers like everyone else?
Every week thereafter, he unfolded a new piece of the story to me. You can have no idea of the adventures that E.T. and the Legionnaire got up to and as for the monkey, let's not even go there.
These are just two examples of spouse inside a church. I realise we have been talking historically, so I would like to bring you bang up to date.
We now live in North Yorkshire near to the sea and attend a new church, (not because we got run out of the other one). This week, at the end of the service I passed the comment to spouse that we had sung my all-time favourite hymn today, one call 'Be Still For The Presence Of The Lord', which was played at our wedding. Bear this in mind dear reader.
I reminded spouse of this fact and half expected him to go a little misty eyed at the memory. But no, the leopard does not change his spots, the lion does not lie down with the lamb if we are being biblical and religious. I remarked that I would like this hymn at my funeral. Spouse, true to form, had his own take on this.
'Well you will be still at your funeral, you'll be dead, can't be much stiller. You'll be in your coffin. You'll be still then, and quiet.' Did I detect a note of relish in his voice?
He did make it out of the church alive, only because I don't approve of murder in church. But the moral of this little tale is, DON'T TAKE HIM TO CHURCH, he may not make it out alive next time.