Monday, September 03, 2007

Sunday Supplement: At the End of the Pier

Sir Richard Arcos writes: My wife and I have returned from a long and most productive holiday, which was mostly spent on the South Coast. I spent much of it visiting old churches and finishing the proofs of my new book Diotrephes, or Cess-Pools I have known, while Lady Arcos did a little fishingt. She caught seven supermarket Trolleys, Five Sea-Bass and a Cross-Channel swimmer.

A few Sundays ago we happened to drop in on the pleasant resort town of East Haven. Not knowing of any fellowship there, we dropped in on a rather jolly place that billed itself as 'Christchurch: A non-Denominational group of Christians wor...' The sign was apparently a little too small for what they had wanted to say. Still, it looked nice, and the only other church we'd seen was the Cat-Baptists, so we popped in.

There was an old man in there playing on a battered little piano, in the manner of the accompanist of a silent movie. I looked for the screen but found none. The wife asked me where it was too, so I was not alone. Someone came and spoke to us. She asked where we were from and I told her we were from Norfolk, a village called Little Pudding. She then said she'd been to Norfolk once, but couldn't remember where. I told her I couldn't either.

Before she could say anything more, the minister entered the pulpit. We all stood, as he pronounced the opening benediction. The opening hymn, 'Marching to Zion' was given out. As she minister reached for his hymn-book, the organ began to play, as if from no-where, The lights dimmed, and coloured lights picked out the Bible verse above the lectern.

From below the pulpit, a huge Wurlitzer organ rose in stately fashion, its tones filling the vast space. All thoughts of worship passed, as Lady Arcos started laughing fit to burst.

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