Breaking the habit of the best part of a lifetime (or an amusing similitude of one), I left Lady Arcos in charge of the family Pew at Little Pudding Church, and returned to the cess-pool Church, Norwich. Sunday morning service was at thirty-seven minutes past nine in the morning, as this was apparently the practice in some early church somewhere (I think it was in Antalya, in modern-day Turkey).
The service began with the lighting of twenty-nine candles. I commented that it should have been seventeen. When some gentleman asked me what deep theological reason there was for this, I replied that there wasn't, but that 'Seventeen Candles' was the title of a rather catchy ballad of yesteryear. He looked at me like I was something the cat dragged in.
We were then invited to join in a 'prayer of welcome' which mentioned everything except sin. The confession sounded like the announcer at Thorpe Station, Norwich, apologising for the fact that the last train to Attleborough has been cancelled and 'alternative road transport' (in other words a bus so old that its father must have been Boudicca's Chariot) has been provided.
We sang a 'chant' of some sort, which made very little sense. Then the lights were dimmed and two people recited some sort of what-not. Someone rang a little bell during it as well. Half way through, someone dropped the bell and it broke. The person made up for this by shouting 'dong!' every so often.
There was no pulpit, only a low platform, and three men stepped up onto it. They invited a man from the back to join them. The platform broke, and a rabbit ran out from under it. After order was restored, this quartet began to discuss the idea that Jesus Christ died to make atonement for sin. This got no-where fast, as two of the men were extremely deaf. The others retailed what sounded like old liberal theology after a lobotomy. An attempt to lower the lights again fused the lights and the serivice ended in darkness. The couple behind me seemed to think they were at the pictures, because that was when they started necking like there was no tomorrow.
I would have complained, but I couldn't see, and one of them had a torch.