I detoured this evening.
Spur of the moment, probably brought on by the hailstones.
Partway en-route to Brixton I turned left on a whim.
In to Vassal Road, SW.
And pulled up outside the church I used to attend.
Saint John the Divine, Kennington.
SJDK is a large, red-brick structure topped with an imposing spire that stretches upwards to almost pencil-thinness.
My head began playing tricks.
I believed I could smell the dusty/clean scent; the perfume that the wood polish gave off, but with a hint of dustiness from the vaulted places that no cleaner could ever reach.
The smell was a powerful jog to my memory.
My brain revelled in its memory focus, my mental view shifted from the knave to the vestry which brought a new smell; freshly washed and ironed robes.
In those days I was less ‘not religious’ than I am now; I used to go to church for the booze and the singing.
We had an excellent choir.
The organist/choirmaster Floss (his nickname lies in an unflattering story involving the wickedly barbed wit of Fr Geoffrey Kirk); the Divine Helen and her lovely sister Mary, the saintly-voiced Caroline Lenton Ward, Laura McGeary and her husband Peter, Andy Stribley, Roy Truscott.
Not many, no; but what we lacked in numbers we more than made up for in ability and aspiration.
Pauses for thought…
I got back in the car and continued down Vassal Road, then turned right and threaded my way through the one-way system to Calais Street where I lived for a while, and then turned right in to Cormont Road, also where I lived – but briefly.
And then on to Brixton, where I currently stay during the week.
The earlier hailstorm seems to have wreaked massive damage on south London; a couple of stores in the High Street have been flooded; staff sweep floodwater out as I drive past.
Pete and Shane’s house is untouched though.
Except for a small area in my bedroom.
Because I left the window open this morning.