Friday, 2 December 2016

advent service

I woke up this morning, cautiously emerged from the warmth of the electric blanket and divested myself of the chintz pyjamas, and provisionally decided that yesterday's threatened cold had not developed.  So far.  To be on the safe side I spent the morning going through old gardening magazines with Mr Fluffy.  Whether the non-appearance of the cold was down to having kept warm and rested or whether it was never destined to turn into a real cold, who can say?  Or perhaps it is biding its time and will come on in a day or two.

So I was able to go to my advent service, held at a church in Colchester.  The local custom appeared to be to park on the pavements, which were very wide, so I did the same while feeling bad about it.  The church was twentieth century, as I had guessed it would be, and heated, which I'd hoped it would be, and had a couple of very nice modern stained glass windows.  It was so toasty that I was able to take off my coat.  When we got to the carols I was rather croaky on the high notes and had to admit to myself that the lurking potential cold had not entirely gone away.

The two hymns we sang by Charles Wesley were immeasurably better than the modern ones, but there was an excellent update of The Journey of the Magi which I liked so much I badgered the organisers over tea to tell me who wrote it.  They couldn't remember off the tops of their heads, but I managed to find it when I got home by dint of typing Journey of the Magi into Google and ignoring all the links that were obviously to TS Eliot.  The poem turned out to be by a poet and performance artist called Godfrey Rust, who I had honestly never heard of.  Copies of his collected works are available on Amazon, where I discovered that people who bought them also bought The Journey: Daily meditations for Lent (fair enough, Godfey Rust's work has a religious dimension), Benjamin Grovsenor's Dances, and NeilMed Sinus Rinse 120 Refill Sachets.  Just occasionally algorithms let you down.

Then there was a lovely tea at which I sampled more different kinds of cake than was really justified on a day when I hadn't done anything arduous at all, and somebody liked my pink dress and scarf.  As I bought the scarf about twelve years ago and the dress within the past three weeks it goes to show the practical advantage of remaining fixated on the same shade of dark raspberry irrespective of fashion.

Addendum: The journey of the Magi by Godfrey Rust

The journey of the magi (cont.)
Coming as they did from the first century
they had a few problems with London traffic
and were seriously misled by signs
to the Angel and Kings Cross. 

Inquiring diligently about the star
they were referred to Professor Brian Cox,
who thought it was amazing
while smiling in a constant and strangely unsettling way.

In Harrods the camels
made a mess all over Soft Furnishings.

On the Underground
commuters glared at No Smoking signs
as incense wafted gently through the carriages,

and when the great day came
they saw the entire voting population
slumped on sofas by four o'clock,
rendered senseless by too much
dead poultry and the Queen,

while over Liberty's and Hamley's
the flickering angels sang
Glory to God in the High St

and they found him,
with the inns full up again,
in the old familiar place,
bringing their unregarded gifts
to the empty stable
of the human heart
where the infant Christ is born
again and again and again.

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