On my way along the road I sing that great hymn "Ride on, ride on in majesty!" at the top of my voice. Well, I do stop singing when I see anyone coming towards me; I would rather not be viewed as that crazy old biddy from
Fortunately there aren't too many other people out this early, just a mum with a sleeping babe in a pushchair and an elderly gent accompanied by a small black dog which sniffs appreciatively at my
ankles. I trill a cheerful good morning to both of them but they each eye me suspiciously. The dog, however, still appears willing to be friendly.
I consider the fact that I am not riding on anything, be it
donkey, horse or scooter, so I change the words I am singing to "Stride on, stride on..." congratulating myself on my Way With Words. I try to think up an alternative to "majesty" but can only come up with "travesty". I decide it's too early in the morning,
the sun too warm, the weather too beautiful, to trouble myself unduly. Besides I have, in the words of many a bossy satnav "reached my destination."
Ah, yes, I quite forgot to say: I am spending my morning
fashioning palm crosses for tomorrow's Palm Sunday services. I have even remembered to bring my scissors with me, having been reminded to do so by my friend Eleanor who introduced me to this annual event some five years ago. Inside the church, trestle tables
have been set up in the aisle with rows of chairs on each side. A small number of willing folk are standing around somewhat helplessly - it seems that nobody knows exactly how to go about the actual making of the crosses. As each newcomer arrives on the scene,
he or she is accosted with the words: "Do you know how to do it?" There is an air of quiet consternation and much googling of YouTube videos. Someone asks why we didn't just buy a supply as most other churches do but I say, tentatively, that I may - just may,
mind you - remember how to do it.
So I find myself playing at being teacher to the assembled company. It's all about the lock! I tell them, as I separate each palm into two pieces and demonstrate, to the best
of my ability, the initial stages of construction. Unless the central part of the cross has been securely folded into place and "locked in", I explain, our handiwork will fall apart. As one after another gets the hang of it, I can hear them passing on instructions
to others. "It's all about the lock!" I hear everyone say, knowledgeably. I am extremely proud of my pupils. Eleanor has arrived and has joined me in my role as Cross-Making Instructor. Someone suggests I should make my own YouTube video on the basis that
my methodology seems easier than the demonstrations they have watched. I demur, modestly: it's always easier, I say, to be shown how to do something in person. I don't mention that I may have introduced a few short cuts into my production.
Young Josh, who is here with his grandmother, doesn't look too keen on this new activity but, once he has grasped the basics ("It's all about the lock!") he is well away. He also takes control of counting the completed crosses
as we toss them into a large plastic container - I am impressed at the way he manages to multi-task, keeping count while still fashioning crosses. I tell him he has now learned a new Skill For Life. I think he's pleased but it's hard to tell.
We are kept supplied with welcome cups of tea and coffee but someone forgot to tell the Rector that we are usually sustained in our labours by the provision of plentiful hot cross buns. This is a disappointment for those among
us who are Always Thinking Of Their Stomachs but I'm not about to introduce a discordant note into what is turning out to be a great team building exercise. Our final triumphant tally: three hundred palm crosses of varying shapes and sizes.
I return in high spirits to Mr B to recount the story of my morning's endeavours. I had left him, as usual when I am making an early start, with a tray of goodies, including a bottle of J2O (plus glass and bottle opener), an
apple, a buttered hot cross bun and the half-full packet of Doritos left over from our Footie Evening With The Neighbours yesterday. He hasn't eaten the hot cross bun so I help myself to it, in lieu of the one I didn't have earlier. You know it makes sense.
Tomorrow, while the palm crosses are distributed to the congregation, I will look around for the members of our impromptu working party. They will all be looking mighty pleased with themselves, having mastered an art
which is, let's face it, a Mystery to Most. We will give each other a congratulatory thumbs up and, as we pass each other on the way out, will whisper our secret slogan:
"It's all about the lock!"