We had just started our tour of Arundel town centre, shepherded by our learned guide with his sheep-dog (fellow guide) bringing up the rear, when somebody noticed that two strangers had joined our Merry Band of Questers.
They could have passed for Questers being Of A Certain Age but we were all pretty sure they should not have been in our party. What’s more, as we had all paid up the
not-inconsiderable (though definitely worthwhile) fee of £7.50 for our trip round the Museum and town centre, some of our number were distinctly unhappy about anyone getting something for nothing.
Had Mr B been with us, then he would have been sure to mount a challenge. Mr B is never shy at coming forward. He would have metaphorically speaking pinned the unfortunate twosome up against the Museum wall and demanded
they hand over £15 and make it snappy. However Mr B was not with us, having decided to rest his poorly legs at home – and nobody else was quite so bold as Mr B would have been. There was much muttering and unrest among the twelve bona fide
Questers which had the strangers in our midst launching into explanations that (i) Museum staff had advised them to “tag along” with our group and that (ii) they had to be somewhere else in a short time so would not be with us for the whole tour.
Nobody appeared particularly mollified by these explanations – and I pondered on the fact that, as we grow older, many of us seem to be less, not more, tolerant of others’ minor peccadilloes.
In Mr B’s absence, I had played taxi cabs, picking up fellow Questers Marion and Bridget before heading off for Arundel. We had decided to go early so that we could pay a visit to the famous Corpus Christi Carpet of
Flowers in the Cathedral and grab a bite of lunch before meeting up with the rest of the Gang at the Museum. As regular readers well know, I am the Worst Parker in the World, so I was a little concerned that the car park might be full except for a couple
of empty spaces in tight corners which there was no way I would ever even attempt to manoeuvre into. But fortune favours the brave, as they say, and the car park was only half full. Even for one such as I, there was no problem parking.
The Cathedral was much fuller than the car park as crowds had gathered to see the annual expression of faith which is the Carpet of Flowers. For me, a volunteer on the Great War Project
over the last eighteen months, it was particularly poignant to see that the theme of this year’s Carpet was a floral tribute to the Men of Arundel who died in the 1914 – 1918 war. At one end of the aisle a garden of crosses (see photo), each one
marking a fallen soldier. Lest We Forget.
I had brought the Us-Pad with me so that I could take some photographs to show Mr B. I was by no means the only
one with camera, mobile phone or tablet capturing the scene. But two elderly visitors remarked loudly, in voices clearly meant for me, that it was a great pity people had to take photographs and didn’t show greater respect for the Cathedral. As
someone who prides myself on giving respect where it is due, I felt as though I had been slapped on the wrist.
Chastened, I reported the incident to Marion and
Bridget as we sat in the sunshine outside lovely St Nicholas Church, opposite the Cathedral, to enjoy home-made soup and sandwiches. They were indignant on my behalf. Marion pointed out that, if we were talking lack of respect, then had I noticed that there
had been stalls selling various wares set up in both side aisles? Bridget bought me a slice of rather delicious cherry cake as a silent gesture of comradeship and sympathy.
You can probably see where I am going with this (yes, the Daily Blog is a bit of a ramble, but then that’s what makes it what it is. Whatever that might be.) The two strangers who tagged onto our august party of Questers may well have just forked
out for a Life Membership of the Museum or made a hefty donation towards the upkeep of the whole venture. Maybe we needed to give them the Benefit of the Doubt.
Or much more likely, said Mr B, when I recounted the whole story back home, they were just hangers-on wanting something for nothing.
I just knew he’d