We thought it would be a good idea, the Space-Hopper Service. A nice retro feel about it, very child-friendly. And how they smile, those happy Space-Hoppers! Bound to cheer you up on a dull winter Tuesday.
The initial procession was positively uplifting. How great the acrolites looked, bouncing along in their double file. That they only managed to set fire to one person's hair as they rode one-handed, carrying candles on six-foot candle-lances, was a real triumph. And Oric will finally have to accept that it's time he stops wearing that acrylic wig.
Then the Beaker Quire followed in. I tell you, until you've seen a procession of 12 singers, resplendent in tartan hi-viz for the octave of St Rab Burns, singing the Dies Irae from Verdi's Requiem - you've really not seen a quire processing.
Shame about Dorphin, though. She timed an extra-high bounce on a scary bit just as she went through the Small Indoor Trilithon. I know the Health & Safety purists will insist that her crash helmet saved her from head damage. But I maintain that, if she'd been bare-headed, she'd never gave hit the Trilithon at all. Or fallen backwards.
Or landed on Schmorkle.
So Schmorkle wouldn't have fallen off his 'Hopper and landed, clutching its ears, in the Mystic River which flows around the Moot House. And runs into the Hus Bourne brook. Which is flowing rather quickly at the moment. Anyway, the good news is they dragged him out of the river at Bedford, and they reckon the hypothermia is only mild. Barely any chance of that amputation they feared.
Meanwhile, back at the Moot House. The Bounce of Peace was brilliant. Since everybody had to stay on their Space Hoppers, nobody could get close enough to hug, kiss or pat you on the back. Particularly good news for Raughrie, as well. Being sat in his wheel chair, he normally has to fight off unwanted friendliness from above. But once he was mounted on his robotic space hopper, which I notice he had rather cheekily fitted with a Taser, he feared no evil.
And then we came to that most poignant of Beaker ceremonies, the evening Filling-Up of Beakers. Now, I'll confess, we'd not really thought this through. Trying to pour water from one beaker, into one held by another Beaker Person, while you're both bouncing around is tricky. Water slops around, everybody gets wet, somebody slips, the beakers are dropped. The next thing you know, there's shards of broken terra cotta all over the place - and then when the Bouncy Liturgical Dancers' Space-Hoppers landed on the sharp edges.... well, you can imagine.
So I guess the Space-Hopper Service summed up much alt.worship. Edgy, exciting, very different and with good intentions. Goes out with a bang.
But, ultimately, a bit of a let-down.