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Church Times Diary September 2017

Church Times Diary September 2017

A horrible thing happened a couple of Sundays ago.


I was with some of my parishioners from St. Michael’s in Horsted Parva walking from the Laughing Fish Pub (a hostelry I know well) in the village of Isfield to the delightfully named Owlsbury Farm on our annual Church Blackberry walk. You can’t get more bucolically English than that.


I suddenly realised that Sophie, my little black Labrador dog, had vanished. As I have said before she has a sort of muscular dystrophy, which she’s had since she was a puppy & which means she’s not used to going on walks: I thought she’d be ok staying with our group of dogs and children, but in the thirty seconds my eyes were off her, she disappeared.

We wandered around the place we had last seen her, calling her name. I thought about accounts of dogs that are never seen again; I thought about the river with its steep banks; I thought about those forlorn “lost” posters you see around lamp posts & my stomach contracted into a hard little ball of fear.

Then after three quarters of an hour a phone call came through: she had been found sitting by a house on the main road, happily watching the cars go by. A kind couple had picked her up & taken her to the Laughing Fish, where I duly collected her. 

Very pleased with herself after her jaunt, she was fine. I was traumatised.

Episodes like this jolt us out of our complacency & put into perspective all the little annoyances and inconveniences we (well, certainly me, anyway) normally moan about.

I cast my mind back to that Iris Murdoch interview. Someone asked her a question about putting people she knew in her novels. She said she never did, but after a moment said she sometimes, though, put in dogs she knew. I would never aspire to be a Murdochian character (she has some dodgy clergy in her novels but I would never presume) but I can imagine Sophie doing rather well…..

The Rector – John Wall

Reproduced by kind permission of The Church Times.

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