There are some rumours going around the Community that I locked a number of members of the Beaker Folk in the Doily Shed this afternoon, and left them there until they had produced the requisite number of doilies for the big bash that one of our customers is catering for tomorrow. A rather niche caterer, they specialise in 1970s Black-country Pop / TV cross-over events. They're called "A Kipper Tie and a Slade of Cake".
Well yes, but I was in a bad mood, wasn't I? I was off to a slow start. First thing this morning, I was down in CMK shops, when somebody shuffled up to me, and told me that he needed to get back to Derby for his mum's birthday party, but had lost his money in a complicated space-hopper-related accident, and could I lend him enough for the bus fare?
Well, I'm as generous as the next Archdruid. And I felt sorry for him. But it's murder, trying to get from Milton Keynes to Derby by bus. And I wasn't going to risk him on the trains at the weekend. So, in a fit of weakness, I told him I'd drive him there.
White with gratitude, he went. Told me there was absolutely no need, and the money would be fine. But I insisted. Took him down to the car, drove him off to Derby. He said his mum lived "somewhere near the centre", so I dropped him off near Pride Park. That seems to be the biggest thing round there.
Funny thing is, he started begging me to take him back. Said he'd got a text, and his mum wasn't feeling well and he should leave her to recover in peace. Well, naturally I pointed out that he had a responsibility to his mum in these circumstances, and insisted he got out. When I drove off, he actually ran after the car for 200 yards, waving to me and mouthing what I can only assume were words of gratitude. Odd, though. He didn't have a Derby accent.
But of course, that made me short of time for all the preparations for the Whit Sunday Whoop-Up. We're planning to fill the Moot House with helium-filled doves, and the new "tongues of fire" machine takes hours to fuel up. And I had a sermon to write, and I was realising that my good deed had cost me a good four hours. And then remembering that we'd got to get the doilies out, I asked if a few people would just knock the holes out of a few each, and they all claimed they'd just got married, had fields to inspect etc. Fortunately, I had the "tongues of fire" machine to hand, and suddenly everybody was far keener on making doilies than they'd previously thought.
But it's left me in a really bad mood, all the aggro of the day. Burton just popped round to tell me about an exciting rounding-up he'd found in the souvenir crystals sales ledger, and I threw a lump of chrysolite at his head.
You know, we are a rough-edged race. A few Methodists and assorted old-balls (not to be confused with each other) apart, none of us has ever claimed perfection. Or, at least, not with any plausibility. If we are filled with the Spirit we leak. If we think we have managed to take a step forward, we fall backwards. If we think we are now perfectly able to regard ourselves as nothing, we start looking down on those less humble than ourselves.
And yet grace gets poured out, again and again. Danaid-like, he fills the sieves of our spirits with the Spirit. Because he can never run out of grace, as we can never quite shake off our stupidity. It's all on one side, generosity constantly overcoming selfishness. And that goodness it is.
One day, I'll be full, and stay full. Probably not today. And, despite the date in the liturgical calendar, I'm not holding out much hope for tomorrow either. But one day.