Just before Christmas I was in a church not a million miles away with a bunch of friends, listening to the most awful Christmas concert imaginable. Truly awful - I should have backed out when I heard the electric organ twang in lift musak fashion as I entered. There were candles everywhere, on all the pews and tucked into every churchy crevice.
On top of the extraordinary tinkling, twangy sounds provided for the audience's pleasure, we were preached at from the pulpit by a lay orator between each musical offering. I didn't know that smugness and self satisfaction were Christian virtues, but being an atheist, I might have got that wrong. Certainly, there was no humility on show.
I have long hair. I smelled burning. The man in the pew behind grinned at me in unchristian fashion as my locks crinkled and burned on his little pew candle. I wanted to throttle the smug bastard. Instead, I filled the church with singeing pong and left in the interval to stick pins in a wax effigy.
Far better were the Christmas carols in Hatherleigh square on Christmas eve. The Hatherleigh Silver Band played beautifully, and as I walked up from the cattle market, arrived to the sounds of a gorgeous, plaintive Silent Night. The service lasted just 30 minutes and ended with delicious mulled cider and minced pies. There was a great sadness and coming together, all in mourning for the loss of the George, the ruins in full view from the square.