You’ve heard that “the railway goes through the middle of the house”, well, last Sunday I began to think that perhaps it also went through the middle of a church. I left the Domain at 11 a.m. and sought the nearby Liberal Catholic Church of St Francis where Stephen and I were married, thinking that it was likely to be open at that time. I knew it was in a small street running off Carlton Gore Road, but made the mistake of turning left from the Domain corner, instead of right. I kept looking for a turnoff, but the road was lined with huge new buildings, no sign of a side street, and a railway track running behind the buildings. At Kingdon Street (Newmarket West) I was finally able to cross the line and head back up Khyber Pass.
I passed Lion Brewery where Stephen’s father was once the Transport Manager.
No sign now of the wild blackberries we used to pick here each summer. At last I found the Claremont Street I was seeking, walked past a line of old houses and saw ahead of me a modest spire.
The service had started at 10.30 and was finishing as I entered, but the wonderful smell of ecclesiastical incense lingered, and I was in time to witness the invocations to Mary that are now an add-on to the Liberal Catholic eucharist and the part I can most relate to.
I recognised the organist and she knew me too, although it’s many years since we were both members of a ‘Mothers and Babies’ group. She invited me to stay for lunch, but I declined.
“It took me time to find the spot
And asked to lunch I thought, “p’r’aps not”.