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INTRODUCING MR. AND MRS. HOWARD WATKINS

    “Wild Man leaves Wales for love.” announced billboards across Neath on Saturday when Alison and Howie married in the Register Office.

     They regarded it as a merely civil ceremony, however,  and will sleep with a sword between them until the Church sanctifies the union in the Oxford University Church on November 6th.

 

A SMILE ON THE FACE OF THE VOLCANO

    Nine thirty is a little early in the morning for Jean to concentrate on a sermon these days but certain words can still trigger a response: “change,” in close proximity to “painful” for example and “modernise”, “openness”, and the implication that the Holy Spirit has sent a direct message to the clergy to throw out the pews, modernise the liturgy and pep up the hymn tunes.

    The Brands have been through this so many times and in the past have tried to have the right positive attitude and then watched congregations dwindle rather than grow.

    “If we aren’t prepared to change, the church won’t be here in ten years’ time,” the vicar exclaimed and looking round at the pews full of walking sticks and hearing aids Jean could see he had a point. Being reasonable was not uppermost on her mind, however. She was, after all, sitting next to Storming Norman, a man capable of considerable ecclesiastical rage.

 She daren’t look sideways to see if the steam were rising. Could she write him a note threatening to make him watch all her taped Virginians if he started heckling? ‘Don’t interrupt,’ she willed. ‘Don’t demonstrate,’ and then, pulpitwards, ‘Don’t provoke him any more.’ On the edge of social disaster she sat, muscles tensed, breathing

hard, until finally the vicar gathered his notes together. Fearfully she turned to Norman.

    “Oh dear,” he said mildly, finding his place in the prayer book.

 

    Well, praise the Lord for prozac, thought Jean.