Sir Richard Arcos writes: After the sort of long holiday that only I can take, Lady Arcos and I returned to these shores some time last week. I don't know exactly when, as I was asleep at the time. Fortunately, my daughters can handle a 'plane, even when the pilot's asleep.
Last Sunday, I decided to attend the little tin chapel in West Sundae, a village to the East of Little Pudding. The chapel belongs to the Elusive Brethren, but fortunately I have a membership card for them somewhere. In fact, they didn't ask for it.
The Elusive Brethren have strict rules about contact with the outside world, and believe that no-one but members of their church should have anything to do with the church. Since the membership is somewhat devoid of builders, their chapel is slowly sliding into dereliction. As I entered, I ducked a piece of chicken wire.
The current congregation consists of three old women, two old men and a circus freak who goes by the name of 'the Lion Man.' The sermon was on the duty of separation, which the preacher, Mr. Laidup has been preaching for the last thirty years, as I was told by one of the congregation. Not a series on the need for this, but the same sermon.
Some of the congregation took notes. Two of them went to sleep. The Lion Man started growling at something. One of the men went outside in the middle of the sermon holding his head, muttering, 'I can't take it any more.' He came back after the sermon, just in time to see the preacher go off to another way station of the Brethren, wishing the man a safe journey.
Afterwards I learned that the man had siphoned off most of the preacher's petrol and was hoping that he'd be stuck somewhere.