Thursday, 27 October 2011

Coffee Morning


Week promises to get gloomier as I now have to pay my car tax. I started to get worked up about this several months ago because I mistook the date, and tried to pay on line. As I haven’t got to have an MOT it seemed more complicated, then they wanted information about the CC. Not just a bit but which category it came into. I wasn’t in a good state of mind at the time and nearly blew a gasket, as old motorists used to say. I went out and looked at the disc and saw I had two months to go and nearly died of relief.

Now it was the time to try again, this time by taking all my documents in a large folder to the Post Office. This was the big one in Acton. Although it has large premises only two tellers were open. As we queued up I had a feeling of doom. Quite a long way behind me an old man in an anorak who must have had sharp eyes, suddenly started up a great peroration against people like me:

“They come in here to pay their car tax. I ask you. Last time the bloke didn’t have any of the right forms and we all had to wait while he went off to get them. I ask you, it’s not right, it shouldn’t be allowed. ”

Acton is full of mad old buffoons like this. If they’ve got sticks they are dangerous. I gave him what I can only describe as a cool look.

At the counter I had all the right forms already filled in. The Asian lad behind the counter seemed quite sympathetic to see the nervous wreck in front of him and as I tried to jab the wilting papers under all the bars he tried to help by plying his fingers under the grill to drag them through. We both struggled but I had everything needed, paid the £100 and left as quickly as I could.

The next thing will be forgetting to put it on the car in time and getting a fine. That happened with my parking permit. I can’t understand it as I am a methodical person, making lists of everything I have to do each day. I must have some kind of brain moth, nibbling out tiny holes for comic effect.

I was on my way to the church coffee morning at St. Martin’s in Ealing. I bought two cream and jam sponges to celebrate getting through this tax ordeal.

At the vicarage Fr Bill was fussing about his quince jam which is too runny. He offered me a jar; he doesn’t usually so I think he was pleased to see the cakes.

He was also worrying about Christmas. St Martin’s is having its “Christmas Bazaar” bizarrely with font with snow on it and images of the Three Wise Men very soon in early November.

He says Advent, previously a time of austerity, is now the new Christmas and the “Kingdom Season,” in November, the new Advent.

“In 25 years time we will be having Christmas in August,” he said glumly. “But that might be better as August is so quiet.”

If that happened of course preparations would begin in May, and in time that would become the new Xmas, which would then begin in winter again.

He is planning to write an academic paper on the forces that have produced this situation. But he says that the church has always accommodated itself to fashion.

Maybe in the past that was a deliberate thing, absorbing pagan rituals and art work, but I wonder if they are even conscious of all this, and not just being carried blindly along. The church hardly opposes fashion these days.

I suggest that Bill should write a letter to the Church Times rather than an academic paper, as there are far too many of those around.

A friend of mine who has recently begun a flower arranging course tells me she is going to have to write essays about it. She has to write a thesis on which woman has inspired her most in life and then make her arrangements relate to that. I think she better choose Winnie Mandela or one of the women involved in the Arab Spring if she wants to get through. Are there any flowers shaped like grenades?

But Fr. Bill is determined to write a paper. He asks me to front the bric-a-brac stall. That is what my life has come down to and I don’t have anything better or more useful to do.

In the evening my friend rings again. She is feeling much better, and I feel a horrible uncertainty rolling away again, just out of sight. She is so kind and brave that she is worried that she has scared me.

I re-boiled the quince jam and that worked, it gelled much better. But it's too sweet for my taste. Quince as a savoury with that strange, flat, indeterminate taste is much better.


  1. I want to come to that coffee morning ... non-stop Christmas, it sounds very jolly!

  2. You can come! 11.20am every Wed, St Martin's vicarage, Hale Gardens, near Ealing W3. Fr Bill is very keen to get the numbers up!!
    Thank you for your message. How did you come across my blog?

  3. And thank you for commenting Penwatch. No one else comments on anything I say!

  4. We may not comment much but we do read your blog Jane. Keep it up as it's amusing and poignant.

  5. Thank you to Anglican! Do not be concerned, at least not about me, perhaps about Anglicanism.