Alternative title: A Reverend that looked very much like the Ninth-Doctor showed me (and his congregation) his elephant impression during a Harvest Festival / Christening mash-up…needless to say he had a very long trunk.
The relationship I have with churches and Religion is a complicated one…this might be due to a forced upbringing in Christianity (complete with Church of England school and daily visits to the local church – jealous much?), having teachers say that being born out of wedlock meant I was going straight to Hell anyway (yes technically I’m a bastard) and several Religious types stopping me in the street to tell me that my soul / spirit was bad (my response of “oooo I certainly hope so” didn’t go down too well and they threw holy water at me…or urine, might have been urine).
Whatever the reason, I will usually only attend church services when it is required of me by someone else – weddings, christenings, more often than not funerals (though how many people can say they have sung “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” at a funeral as a last request of the deceased…yes, swearing included!).
Last Sunday was no exception…as with the case with most social obligations, you can’t say no without looking like an utter prick, so whether or not I wanted to attend the Christening was beside the point, I had to dress nice, play nice and not burst into flames upon crossing the church threshold (Spontaneous Human Combustion just happens…nothing to do with my bad soul *ahem*). I did as was requested, just with one minor blip when I told the photographer that he couldn’t take my picture and nearly tripped over my own feet while trying to escape (pretty sure I’m in the minority of uncoordinated folks who trip over themselves while wearing flat shoes).
The Other Half (M) and I settled for the part of a pew nearest to the aisle (I like to know my exit points) and waited for the service to begin…turns out we weren’t being treated to one service, oh no, we were getting two for the price of one, for it was also Harvest Festival. I remembered the Harvest Festivals of my youth, the cold trembling fingers as I placed a tin of peaches onto the table at the front of the church…alongside another 20 or so tins of peaches. It was always peaches! I imagined the poor unfortunate souls who ended up with a bag from our service, tearing open the carriers and proclaiming “look at all these wonderful tins of….peaches?…I don’t bloody like peaches! Tight sods could have given us baked beans for goodness sake!”
I started to fidget a bit, I debated running to the toilet (again), I fiddled with a button on my jacket and then caught sight of the Reverend and stopped all that nonsense. You see the Reverend reminded me of someone…someone very important…
“He reminds me of someone” I told M.
M: “Who? The Reverend?”
Me: “Yeah…that’s it! Who…He reminds me of The Doctor!”
M: “Or maybe the vicar guy from ‘The Leftovers’, he’s that guy isn’t he?”
Me: “The Doctor…”
By now the church organ music was blasting out a tune I didn’t recognise but those around me clearly did; one woman in particular was obviously an early stage ‘X-Factor’ reject with a case of the warbles and sense of over-confidence (reserved only for the tone deaf). I on the other hand, was looking for the hiding place of the Tardis.
The music stopped.
Reverend Doctor addressed the congregation (I’m including the Christening party in that as we were unsuspecting participants of it, but participants nonetheless). He talked of the history of Harvest Festival, cracked a few jokes (which were actually funny), mentioned where the proceeds would go…then invited us to join in a song about animals (I can’t remember the name of it) while those with tins of peaches went to the table.
It was when we got to a part about being an elephant that he piped up and said “we need to do elephant impressions!” Now, I’ve fallen for that before so was amused and startled at the inappropriate prospect, and judging by the expressions of those around me I wasn’t the only one!
M: “Pockets out?”
Me: “Cock out?”
Turns out we were thinking of a different elephant impression.
Reverend Doctor raised his arm to his nose and started swinging it back and forth.
Needless to say the congregation sighed with relief, a few folks started giggling, others just shaking their heads slightly at one another…as though an embarrassment of epic proportions had just been avoided.
Not me though…I was disappointed…his ears let it down.