The recession, it seems, has hit the parish hard. The church roof is leaking. Even the church mice have abandoned it to look for dryer lodgings. At least, that’s what the priest said at the coffee morning today, while I lurked by the door.
There was a time when I was newly married and on top of the world, that I would have arrived with two perfectly constructed raspberry tortes and worked the room like a pro (and by that I mean pro-fundraiser) I knew my place in the world back then. Not anymore. If Fr Dylan hadn’t collared me on the street yesterday I wouldn’t have gone at all. But I couldn’t help remembering how kind he’d been to Aunt Dee after Fr John died. He’d ask her in for tea, seek her advice on his garden, visit her when she got too frail to get out and about.
So I went. And I drank my coffee. And I bought a slice of cake, and I stood there awkwardly pretending not to be aware that I knew no-one. And the next thing I knew someone was standing next to me, someone red-haired and eccentrically dressed. And embarrassed looking, just like me. And I realized it was Dómhnall’s mother.
So I drank my coffee and she drank her herbal tea and we sampled a piece each of the black treacle walnut and mango coffee cake which we agreed, after some silence and studied chewing, tasted . . interesting. Then she smiled, and I did too, and she asked how the broadbeans were doing and I told her about the slugs and she gave me the name of some new slug pellet that supposedly isn’t toxic and I heard myself inviting her to call in and see the garden and she said how about Tuesday and I said alright, that’d be nice.
And now she’s coming.
The eccentrically dressed red-haired lady who pelted me with tomatoes and shouted things at me is coming to my house.