What the heck is he doing here, looking all outdoorsy in his tight jodhpurs, his tousled hair and his chunky cream cable knit sweater lovingly handcrafted by nuns in the Outer Hebrides, an open-necked mauve shirt in a silk-cotton blend from Liberty's of London showing his toned chest where his pectoral cross glints. I can't help noticing the beautifully tooled leather WWJD riding crop stuck arrogantly through his belt.
'Archbishop Purple,' I whisper, unable to locate my voice.
Why do we always address one another so formally? Is it because it's sexy? I find myself wondering. That can't be right, because I know I'm not sexy, I'm just a simple Yorkshire lay reader with eyes too big for my stomach.
A ghost of a smile plays on his lips and his eyes are alight with some private joke to which I am not privy.
'I was in the area,' he explains. 'I needed to stock up on a range of suggestively raunchy items of hardware to whet your curiosity and flag up my proclivities to the reader.' His voice is husky and warm like a great big hot melting oozing chocolate fondue laced with Vino Sacro.
I am blushing furiously for some ridiculous reason I cannot fathom under his steady mauve scrutiny. Then all at once I remember my promise to besmirch people. At that very moment I catch sight of the tragic defrocked Scottish priest, lurking at the end of the aisle. Quite what he sees in this young astonishingly good-looking wealthy archbishop, I cannot say, but he flounces his clerical kilt and simpers at Pagan Purple.
I summon my cognitive functions. 'What can I help you with, Archbishop Purple?'
He smiles again, secretly, like he still has a private secret I'm not privy to. It is so disconcerting. A queue is forming behind him. It seems to consist of star-struck clergy for some reason. How did they all know the archbishop is in the area buying suggestive hardware? One has driven all the way from Luton and he's wearing tight purple flares in homage to his hero. Behind him stands a woman priest who looks like a stick man with a halo. She sighs adoringly as Pagan Purple drums his long fore-fingers on the counter.
'I need some cable ties,' murmurs the archbishop chocolately.
'Aisle 4,' I blurt, because it's been a while since I blurted anything. 'I'll show you.' I set off for Aisle 4, nearly tripping over a very small tandem-rider who was lurking right by my ankles.
Get a grip, Analgesia Boron!
I stumble clumsily past the garden ornaments, and see in passing that one statue looks like my sister Kate, who I've always been jealous of because her eyes are so small and dainty. That would look nice with old fashioned roses trained over it, that would, I think irrelevantly.
Purple gazes lingeringly at the cable ties. What on earth is he going to do with those? He smiles his oh-so-secret smile, and fingers his riding crop with his long fingers to tip off the inattentive reader as to the tendency of this novel.
'This will do nicely,' he says, selecting a pack, which I don't describe, not having a clear idea what cable ties actually are. 'And now some masking tape,' he says.
For some inexplicable reason, I fail to understand why he is looking at me like that. I lead him to the masking tape and our fingers brush. Hot buttered criminy times twenty! A current zaps through my deep unexplored regions which I decide to call my belly, because I'm a lay reader from Yorkshire.
TO BE CONTINUED IN THE ROPE AISLE...