I drove sedately up to Michaelhouse this morning for our Parent/Teachers meetings. The drive gave me time to look around and take in the beauty that is the Midlands. My most common arrival at the school is dishevelled and stressed because either the plane has been delayed or the car hire has taken longer than expected, and I squeak in like a naughty school kid. This time however, I arrived a day early, but as I arrived outside the chapel this morning I was reminded of my last visit and just felt it necessary to share.
Taking you back a little, I had foot surgery in January, followed by plaster of Paris for 6 weeks, followed by a moon boot for 5 weeks. During my moon boot phase my precious son was due to be confirmed. At the time I booked my ticket, I thought I’d be well ahead and recovered and walking unaided. This was not to be.
The day dawned, and I was to be in the Chapel seated for this auspicious occasion at 17h30 on a Friday. I had carefully scheduled in my work day, and booked so that I was arriving at 15h00 and would hit the road and easily make the trip to Balgowan. An automatic vehicle was selected to accommodate my right foot (still in moon boot).
Flight slightly delayed, not a big deal, onto the plane I trundled in my boot, not thinking about how the pressure may affect my foot. Half an hour into the flight I was upside down, pulling the velcro off to relieve myself of the pain, my foot now looked like a blow fish and seemed to have a heartbeat entirely of its own. Landed safely, waited for what seemed an immeasurable time for my bag, hauled it behind my now squashed foot in boot to the car rental. Manual car produced, delay waiting to exchange it for an automatic. Now the time is ticking, it is Friday, rush hour traffic, and I have none to spare. At last I am in the car, boot off to drive, and having to use my heel, as the bones are not yet used to any pressure under my foot. Perspiration and true anxiety have now set it. Well, let me tell you, that automatic car had the drive of its life. I squealed into the grounds of Michaelhouse in and hour and thirty, but alas 15 minutes later than the 17h30. Hobbling up the hill, boot back on, I heard clapping and quietly approached the chapel door. Peeping in, there seemed to be only one vacant seat at the back, and the lovely lady sitting next to the spare seat, took a glance at my foot and gesticulated me in. Phew, down I sat, deep breathes, furtively looking around to find my boy. Spotted him, phew, I could relax and take this in.
The Bishop is addressing the boys, he is delightful, he cracks jokes, my little group of people at the back with me are very amused and there is much clicking of collective appreciation for his humour. He then proceeds to mock the boys hair styles as he baptises a few, but the moments are true and sincere. Then a hymn gets called. Being brought up and forced to church and to sing in the choir from a young age, I’m delighted that I know the hymn and belt it out with gusto, and to my glee, my new friend, not only knows it as well as me, but she harmonises with me too. Goodness, soon we folk at the back are all harmonising and swaying to the hymns. The service continues with the solemnity of the confirmation, we are treated to a solo performance by a boy that sends shivers down our spines. His voice powers down from the top back of the chapel and the choir answer from the front. Real tear jerking perfection. Communion then followed the formalities of the confirmation of the boys and I was amazed that my row at the back seemed to get first, but up I hopped, joined my line and down we sat again. As we had been up first, so to speak, we were free to join in the quiet singing. We did magnificently. When the final hymn was announced, up we jumped in unison at the back, to watch the mighty exit of the Bishop, (who seemed to beam at me as he passed) Headmaster, and all the very important staff, our voices must have truly touched heaven, we were so inspired.
I was a little confused when a senior member of staff came across and apologised to my friend that she had not taken care of her, to which she replied touching my back, “not a problem, I have had good company.” I beamed, clasped her hand briefly, and out I went.
Once milling around outside, I was enthusiastically talking about the magnificence of the service when I was asked, “How come you got to sit next to the Bishop’s wife?”