Short Walk to Kirk
With such a quiet house (Noise transferred to Paris) Huttonian most unusually slept in this morning and found himself with a rush to get to the Kirk for the 10am once-a -fortnight- service. Not functioning on any cylinder I found a rarely used song book thrust into my hand by the Elder on duty and assumed that this was the hymn sheet from which we would all be singing. I did take in that our Minister was not at the door which means that there would be a stand in preacher for the morning now lurking in the Vestry waiting for the call. I was right on the second count but it was only during the second verse of the first hymn (the publication that I had been given did not have number 476-in my confused state it took me several moments to register this )did I realise that I was one hymn book short of a full set and that all the hymns bar one were to be from the usual book-the one I had not got. Dilemma: Dare I walk up the twenty yards to the front to pick up the right hymnal? Dare I give the impression to the stand in Minister, if only momentarily, that I was walking out disliking either his face or his cassock, or both? Should I confirm to the rest of the congregation that I was off the ball to a David Beckham like extent and could not even get the church paper work right from the outset. I dursn't. I stood my ground miming away to demonstrate I had no need for the written words knowing all the hymns-or that one anyway, off by heart. I had actually never song it before and I am sure the mime was away off sinc.
Of course once I had done that for the first hymn there was no going back-no question of going up during the second one as if I had only just woken up. So I stood up straight avoiding eye contact with our visitor who seemed to be giving me a quizzical look from time to time-like every five seconds or so. I hoped he wasn't going to comment on how impressed he was that one member of the congregation seemed to have no need of the hymn book, or, worse still, rush down the aisle with one for me. I was putting so much artistry into the mime that I only realised after the 4th hymn that I had just 'sung' the one song that was in the book that I had. Perhaps a good thing as to have sung with one book visible and not the other might have been interpreted, not so much as forgetfulness, but as some obscure protest against the very old fashioned hymn book with mostly very old fashioned hymns by mostly very dead people.
The visiting Minister-a retired clergyman, recalled to the colours for today only and who was incidentally very good, was nice enough not to raise any queries with me as we shook hands on my departure. Perhaps he really did think that I knew all the hymns-ancient and modern, and had no need for a script. Or perhaps he took me for elderly buffer* who lacked the bottle to make the short if very public walk to put right a small oversight. We will never know but I think I can guess accurately enough.
*Don't you mean bluffer? Blogg-ed