I’m late getting to the Log this week as I have been in Mount Argus again for meetings. I only returned on Friday and was glad of the company on the return flight of two friends from Dublin who were coming to Glasgow for the weekend to attend a Christmas Craft Fair in the SECC. As we were making our way to the departure gate, we passed what was obviously a hen party, coming off the Glasgow plane and heading to Dublin for a wild weekend, and we agreed that we were glad they weren’t travelling in the opposite direction. When we got to the gate, however, we discovered that there was a stag party heading from Dublin to Glasgow for an equally wild weekend. One of the differences we noted between the hen party and the stag party was that, while the women had taken the bother to dress up with rabbits’ ears, and glitter, and T-shirts with all kinds of slogans on them, the men just wanted to get down to the serious business of drinking themselves silly.
Boarding the plane was a bit chaotic as the stag party didn’t seem to have paid much attention to what seat they were in, or whether they were to board from the front steps or the back steps. I had to greatly admire the patience of the cabin crew and eventually they got everyone settled down. Once we were in the air, and as soon as the fasten seat belts sign was switched off, some of the group were delegated to descend on the cabin crew to more or less clear the trolley of small bottles of spirits, as obviously waiting for the trolley to come up the aisle would have taken too long and reduced drinking time. It seemed as if we were hardly up in the air before the fasten seat belt sign was switched on again for landing, which meant of course that the toilets were now out of bounds; however, that didn’t prevent the stags from trying to get to the toilet, only to be gently turned back by the ever-patient crew. To be fair, nobody really caused any bother and, apart from being boisterous and noisy, there was never any fear of trouble. As we got off the plane my two friends and myself expressed the hope that the stag party wouldn’t be on the same bus as us going into Glasgow. We needn’t have worried, however, as once we were through security and into the terminal, they headed straight for the bar. I hope the hens and the stags enjoy their respective weekends in Dublin and Glasgow, but I wouldn’t want to be them on Monday morning trying to get up for work.
Back in St. Mungo’s today, scaffolding has arrived and work has begun on changing all the light bulbs in the church, which is a major task. Over the past while a significant number of the lamps had gone out and the church had become quite dim. A surprising number of people said that they really liked the atmosphere this created and found it prayerful, relaxing and reflective, a bit like praying or celebrating Mass in the catacombs. Still, we had no choice but to change them before it got too dark altogether. It had once been a task that our own maintenance people could carry out on a staggered basis, but due to new health and safety regulations this is no longer possible and so we had to go down the more complex, and costly route of engaging contractors. No doubt it will all be worth it when the task is complete. The biggest difficulty, of course, is the great height that is involved, and I was reminded of one of our volunteers at Mount Argus in Dublin who frequently used to scare me to death by his total lack of fear of heights. At times like Christmas and Easter he was determined to create atmosphere in the church by placing candles around a ledge at the top of the sanctuary, and he would do this by simply using an extended step ladder. I could never convince him not to do it and I always had to leave the church as I couldn’t even bear to look at him. The effect was beautiful, but then he would undertake the task of taking them all down again. He was a great guy, but I had to admit to a certain relief when he married and moved away and surrendered his role in the parish, only to discover that his father was just as fearless as he was. Health and safety regulations may go over the top at times, but they can be useful too.
He will raise you up on Eagles Wings… (based on Psalm 91) – that’s how to fly and go high.