Still through the cloven skies they come


During these dark and endless winter nights, my thoughts turn to St Gabriel’s Chapel near Tarascon. Despite this being one of my very favourite places in the universe which I inhabit, these musings are more than reflections on summer days passed with pencil and notebook under ancient olives. And they are borne of an hour spent latterly in a church I seldom visit. Actually, that could be any church in which I yet again, somewhat deceitfully, attend a Christmas carol service. I found the vicar to be rather evangelical in his sermon, euphemistically entitled ‘words’ in the order of play. Well, I assume he’s supposed to be that way inclined.

My rationale for being present was that it’s a good story and I like carols. And when I’m there, it makes me think about things. And I imagine that’s also what I’m supposed to be doing. One of the things I thought about tonight is that every Christmas I write a festive blog with the title drawn from a line in a carol. But only tonight, did I realise that I always choose It came upon the midnight clear. How odd. It does, however, contain some splendidly written phrases.

The church at Lytchett was rammed: all seats taken and standing room only. Par contre, St Gabriel’s Chapel, in all its loveliness, is rarely open let alone occupied. That might be part of the joy and mystique of the place. If you want to know more of its known and suspected history, you can look back on other postings. I guess it was relevant tonight because of its sponsor – St Gabriel. He of the startling messages. Can you imagine?

I can’t. I was too busy thinking about those carvings above the door of the chapel when the vicar suddenly asked us what we would request if we could have anything for Christmas. Nothing. My request was answered three weeks ago.

I haven’t posted on this blog for some time because other things have been happening in my life. I published my book, Chez Martin. There’s a new page on Donald dedicated to this. One day, I might get around to writing something about it. I haven’t had much time because the other thing that happened was that Phil and Rene finally came to live in Dorset. They abandoned all that canal walking business, packed up their lives, got in their cars and, like late-in-the-day swallows, drove south. At some speed.

It’s my delight to get to know my parents again. Thank-you vicar. Loved the carols and the readings. Loved the opportunity to quietly reflect. Popped my financial gratitude in the saucer and took my free chocolate Santa home. Merry Christmas one and all.


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