Two phone calls
“Can you help? We’re at the church—Irish family in a bit of bother”. Man, County Wicklow accent maybe.
They’ve got the wrong St Modwen’s, thought I: they need to ring the Catholics. “Which church?”
Not the wrong church, so. I make another assumption: they want money or accommodation. The first I can deal with, the second I can direct them elsewhere.
I suggest they ring YMCA and was just about to give yer man the number when:
“They can’t help” says he.
“What exactly do you need?” says I.
“Car’s broken down outside church.”
I laugh. “I can’t help either” I say. If they knew me they’d know that I can barely find the oil doodah.
Phone slammed down (or the equivalent for a mobile).
I know a fair number of Irish priests, not one of whom would have been able to help. Maybe I know the wrong sort.
“Is that Dr Monkhouse?” Man, posh accent, a bit smarmy. Hackles rise.
“I’m at the church and I’d like to see the monuments.”
St Modwen’s in the market place it transpires. A car trip necessary. I ask him if he expects me to drop what I’m doing to open the church for him (yes, I agree, it should be open all day, but don’t get me started on that).
“Well, I’ve come a long way.”
“You could have rung to arrange this” says I. No response. I tell him he’ll have to wait maybe 30 minutes or so.
Eventually I drive there.
Tall, a bit dishevelled, in his 60s I guess. Bohemian unkempt longish hair. At least he has some.
I am not welcoming.
“I wasn’t ordained to care about church monuments, you know, and I have better things to do on a Monday morning than this”. Like watching a film on Netflix – I’m always exhausted on a Monday. I didn’t say about Netflix—merely thought it.
“I’m sorry. I should have rung in advance.”
“Yes you should. I have no time for memorials. They’re all about the past—egocentric people with notions above themselves.”
“Yes, I suppose that’s true.”
“When you’ve finished, let yourself out and shut the door behind you.”
Car mechanic? Expert on memorials? Neither topic covered in training.
Because of this, Susan returned from walking the dog to find the car not there, so that discombobulated her day.