The recent sunshine seems to have mellowed most of the residents, as we have had a couple of quiet, trouble-free weeks, Aunt Sally notwithstanding. It came as no surprise, then, that the change in the weather has brought a change of temper.
It took only a little spark, though I suppose with no definite end-date, it might leave some people feeling rather uncomfortable. The essential problem is this: for some unknown reason (I would normally say godforsaken but it seems a little too ironic), the church vestry, which is being refurbished, was built using some form of asbestos. Therefore, the entire building is off-limits until the specialists have removed the offending material and declared the area safe to enter. In the meantime, even the vicar isn't allowed in. As he is one of the governors of the village school, the obvious alternative meeting place to celebrate the various services is the school hall. Obvious to him, that is.
Last night, a group of parents, about six of them (doubtless resorting to safety in numbers) decided that they weren't happy about this arrangement and went round the village, knocking on doors to ask us all to sign their petition, namely that the churchgoers should find somewhere else to meet while the church is out of bounds. It wasn't clear how many parents at the school object, or if it was just the half-dozen out enjoying the break in the showers, but they clearly felt very passionate about it.
"It's brainwashing," Clare told me, with her husband/partner Tony nodding as punctuation. "It confuses children, having church and school in the same place." (Nod.) "I, I mean we, don't have a problem with people going to church but they shouldn't force it on us and our children. I mean, they've started asking awkward questions! So you see, you have to sign the petition."
"Umm, but where else can they go while the council won't let them into the church? It seems a reasonable solution to me. And after all, the school always has their Christingle in the church."
"That's not the point," Clare fired back. "And anyway, Jesus didn't even have a house for his meetings, let alone a school hall. They should meet in the graveyard. At least that's blessed ground, or whatever they call it."
Privately, I wondered whether Jesus would have been as happy sleeping rough if Judea had had the climate of the UK but I doubt Clare would have taken kindly to such a suggestion. I bottled out in the end by saying that since my children had long left school, I didn't feel it was appropriate to get involved. Clare was a bit huffy but the light was fading by then and they clearly had other houses to visit, so Tony and the others moved onto Delyth's house even before I had closed my door. I shall let you know if they are successful!