On the train yesterday to Brighton, we went past little villages, where the most noticeable feature is the church, mostly with spires, some with towers. In many cases centuries old. And I thought how a hundred years ago, the church dominated all aspects of life. You were baptised, went to Sunday school, confirmed, married, buried. All social life revolved around the church: people could not conceive of anything different. Yet in a century it has all totally changed. Many churches are currently closed, and I fear many will never reopen. They have miniscule congregations at the best of times. We are in a post-church era which would have been unimaginable not so long ago. So then I thought, perhaps we are now entering a post Covid era, where nothing will ever be the same. I think I now hanker for the past, much as my parents and grandparents hankered for the past. I look at my diaries from 2 or 3 years ago: my days were action-packed. Theatre visits, friends round for dinner, holidays, a meal out, a lyre lecture, a bbq with loads of people in the garden, a harp festival…..I echo L. P Hartley in The Go-Between: “The past is a foreign country, they do things differently there.”
I was however able to flit over to Ealing, to receive my birthday cake and flowers from Adam. He had helped to make the cake, which seemed to involve the fun of breaking the eggs and eating the strawberries.
Encouraged to sing Happy Birthday, he shouted “No Daddy” when Richard tried to join in. It was very sunny and we sat in the garden for quite a while. But back down to freezing tonight, which discourages some gardening activities.
I like the music of Karl Jenkins more and more. I heard “Adiemus” this morning and thought how African it sounds at times. On looking it up, I find that Jenkins cites gospel and African music as his inspiration. It comes from “Songs of Sanctuary” but this is perhaps the most famous piece.