Bowling down the Aisles
Attending St John's C of I church here in Newcastle always transports me back to my very early youth when I was dragged, with various degrees of unwillingness, by an aunt or two. Sometimes I was riveted especially by the very large muscular Christian, a former rugby international, who crashed his huge hairy hands down onto the side of the Pulpit roaring:' Pause, Brethren, Pause' We did.
I used to fill the idle moment with games of imagination and terror. Sermon cricket being my favourite-scoring runs from a menu of phrases: 'Trespasses' being a four and 'bigotry' (only rarely admitted in those days as being contemplated by'one of us')a soaring six. God, or Lord, I fear, rated a single only and 'Father' a well run couple. I certainly gave the Preacher my full attention, Wickets and some runs were taken by the preacher's hand gestures-pointed finger being run out and a sorrowful shake of his head a turning down of a certain LBW appeal. One preacher prone to a wagging digit as he rammed home his points got the entire visiting Australian side out for a virtual 9 runs.-Shades of Ireland who had that same year actually dismissed the West Indies for 25 at Sion Mills. I kid you not. Look it up in Wisden.
The other source of inspiration were the plaques around the wall commemorating the lives, loves and deaths of mostly the members of Ulster's equivalents of the Border lairds. Notably the Annesley Family who owned Castlewellan (apart from the bit owned by the Rodens) and then bought Newcastle as well. They still own most of it. Most of the Countesses-seemed to be called Priscilla and lived to great ages noted for a life devoted to 'good works' Except one who 'died suddenly' at Cowes. Fell off a yacht one assumes and long before Robert Maxwell.
I often used to imagine, I don't know why at that time, that she had had a very unsatisfactory life-before her sad demise. It was only when I was a randy undergraduate I thought I understood a possible root cause.Her husband, the Earl, who had survived Cowes summed up his epitaph on wife's life with a little quotation, I assumed referring to himself.
Revelations XXII Verse 12
'Behold, I come quickly'