Out with a bang

December 23, 2018


The two Corpus Carol Services were a wonderful climax to my year there as Acting Chaplain. Sadly, just as you are bonding with the choir and students, it's time to go. 

In the order of service for the Parents’ and Old Members' service, beside each reading, I had named the reader. My wife, Annette, was to be one of them, but before the service unbeknown to me, another reader had asked to swap with her because she was expecting to read the one assigned to A. So ‘Annette Mountford’ appeared as a thirty-five-year-old woman, sturdy of limb and gym-fit. In my address I commented that those who knew the true identities of readers four and five would realise that there had been a bit of wife-swapping going on. At the reception afterwards I discovered several members of the congregation, mainly women, had been puzzled by the unexpected age-gap and had been mentally making the rumpy-pumpy sign with their fist. The poet and critic, Barbara Everett, now suffering a little from Alzheimer’s and sounding like Judy Parfitt as Sister Monica Joan in ‘Call the Midwife’, insists that the ‘young Mrs Mountford’ read beautifully and clearly and I must be pleased to have such a youthful wife. I am surprised and curious at the thrill this mismatch of ages seems to instil.

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