Such fun when the calendar door opens and out I pop! If you’ve not come across the Rainbow Ad Cal (which is the brainchild of the wonderful Alex Jane), then drop into the Facebook group or go to the masterlist, where you can find the links for all the posts so far – and to come.
It’s, of course, entirely possible that I muck this up, because at this time of year my poor old noddle is totally absorbed with a particular charity project. So rather than mention on of my books here, I’d like to give a shout out to Christmas Complete, which will be yet again providing gifts and toys to over 2000 children and teenagers. These include refugee families, those fleeing domestic abuse, etc. It’s a great cause and great fun to support.
And now for my offering…which is a follow-up to Don’t Kiss the Vicar.
Christmas in January
October. Sunday morning bells ringing, calling the faithful to the eight o’clock service at St Thomas’s church.
The parishioners attending so early in the day were generally past retirement age, although whether that was because this was the only service of the week that used the old prayer book or because older people got up early and needed something to occupy their time, the Reverend Dan Miller couldn’t tell. He was simply pleased to see the usual crowd of regulars arriving while he got on with his routine of arranging what needed to be arranged. He noticed that every member of the congregation was coming through the door layered in coats and hats against the cold wind outside. The heating had cut in but the church hadn’t fully warmed up yet—the ten o’clock congregation would be warm as toast—so those coats might well stay on for the whole service.
October? Today felt more like the depths of winter.
They were in the seemingly endless part of the church calendar that counted the Sundays after Trinity, although soon it would be the countdown to Advent, then that season itself, before Christmas, the new year and—at last—his holiday.
His and Steve Dexter’s holiday, he should say. Everybody had been told that they were going together because of a shared interested in walking and historical sites. The Roman remains at Caerleon and Caerwent, Henry V’s birthplace at Monmouth, the more modern sites associated with industrial heritage: the kind of places that many people found boring compared to the prospect of a beach in Spain but which both Dan and Steve liked.
While that was all true, the reality would be slightly different. The thought of a fortnight away from the parish, two weeks of not wearing his dog collar and most importantly being able to share a house—and bed—with Steve, brought on a lascivious grin, totally unsuited to the occasion. Dan caught sight of it in the little vestry mirror and immediately wiped it off his gob. They weren’t supposed to be flaunting the fact the pair of them were an item, even though several of the parishioners had worked it out and didn’t seem to give two hoots.