About this blog

This is a window into the weird world of Anglicanism, as experienced on a Cathedral Close. Has anything much happened since Trollope's Barchester Chronicles? You will still see the 'canon in residence' hurrying across to choral Evensong, robes flapping, as the late bell chimes. But look carefully and you will notice he is checking the football score on his iPhone as he runs. This is also a writer's blog. It charts the agony and ecstasy of the novelist's life. And it's a fighter's blog. It charts the agony and ecstasy of the judo mat. Well, the agony, anyway.

Saturday 7 May 2011

WEEK 18--Supermarket Car wash

Now then. A confession. I haven't actually done this New Thing yet. As you can see from the pic of our garden path (note small puddle in bottom left corner), the day set aside for my first solo brush with a car wash turned out to be the first day of rain in weeks. It seemed pointless to get the car nice and shiny only to have it ruined on the drive home.

So what I've done is to postpone last week's new thing until next week. Don't worry, this is allowed here in Cathedral Close. We call it transferring. It goes on all the time. This week, for example, saw George, Martyr, Patron of England celebrated on 2nd May, transferred from Holy Saturday. We then had Mark the Evangelist on May 3rd, transferred from Easter Monday, followed the next day by by Philip and James, Apostles, transferred from Low Sunday. The late date of Easter has turned this into the transfer season. If tranferring things is OK with the precentor, it's OK with me.

You may be a bit surprised that I've nominated something so mundane as my new thing. But oddly enough, it isn't mundane to me. It's right in that zone of simple tasks I find oddly daunting. In that category fall such things as filling in forms, traveling, phoning people I don't know, and asking for directions. This shames me a bit. I'm supposed to be a grown-up, after all. I can't locate the exact cause of the problem. No, that's a lie--I can. It's my tendency to catastrophise. Never ask a writer 'What's the worst that can happen?'

So when it comes to car washes, the worst that can happen--as anyone who's watched James Bond knows--is that half way through the cycle, Grace Jones gets into the back seat and kills you. Alternatively--as any toddler knows--the whirly blue brushes go rogue and crush the car flat as a postage stamp as you scream and pound helplessly on the suddenly unopenable window.

Obviously, I know neither of these things is likely to happen. (Although it's not entirely implausible that I might one day have Grace Jones in my car. A Grace Jones, anyway. That's my big sister's name these days. She is, however, unlikely to kill me. Mild exasperation is more her style.) No, the thing I really fear is making a fool of myself. Bungling about, stalling, with a queue of impatient drivers behind me waiting to use the car wash. Leaning on their horns, pounding their steering wheels. 'Come on love! Not exactly rocket science, is it?'

For some reason I seldom ask myself 'What's the best that can happen?' That I sail through the car wash with flying colours, and am presented with a car wash diploma. By George Clooney. Who adds in passing how lovely I'm looking. And that this diploma qualifies me to win the Booker Prize. And has happily brought about World Peace (in case I'm coming across as a bit shallow).

I'll let you know which of these scenarios turned out to be the most accurate.


  1. I find putting petrol into the car difficult - I'm OK as long as I use the same garage every time, but something as ordinary as realising the filler cap is on a different side in different cars completely floors me. Especially if I'm the one driving the different car and therefore I have to deal with it.

    You might try the car washes for charity that the Fire Brigade sometimes do...men in uniform, doing all the dirty work while you just sit there. Mmmm......

  2. Sorry, got carried away there. The Fire Brigade also do an excellent job of cleaning the car, as I can personally testify. Have no experience of their abilities to fight fires.

  3. Ah yes, firemen! When my sons were tiny we used to wave at fire engines. I have had to train myself out of this, sadly. Do male priests qualify as 'men in uniform'?

  4. Well, they are men. And they do wear uniform. So technically, yes, I suppose they would have to. But the fitness standards for the Church of England aren't in quite the same category as those for the Fire Brigade...

  5. ...and, now I've been thinking about it, neither are they in any other church I can think of....

  6. Hi. I've just discovered your blog so am happily back reading all your posts. Angels and Men is one of my favourite novels of all time and I'm a huge fan. Thought you'd enjoy this ad: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_8TGTKdrlY Goes to show that sometimes really good things involving George Clooney happen when least expected...

  7. Ha! Very good clip. Must grow my hair long, dye it blonde and wait for George to bring me tea in bed. Glad you liked A&M.