Great excitement in the Jasper household this morning. Even as I type, we are having a power-shower installed in my bathroom! The plumber says it is the "Mercedes-class" of power-showers. I would expect nothing less. So there is a lot of banging and crashing as I attempt to concentrate on my blog.
I was most concerned at the first part of the process, which involved the plumber climbing into my attic - I thought he would find the bodies - but happily the procedure was brief and straightforward and there was no unnecessary rummaging. Thank Heaven.
My partner says that I can be the first to be "christened" when the shower is installed. The first shoots of water will break over my head, and purify the unit for all who follow me. Hmmm... I think I might go and hide before that moment approaches.
To other matters: 4.00pm on Sunday, 16 September, heralded the second annual St. John’s special service for pets. Having greatly enjoyed last year’s inaugural service, I was happy to get dressed and go out to this year’s event. And I was not disappointed. The ‘pet’ attendees were all dogs this year – I was sorry not to see the appetising-looking rabbit from last year, but all present were most enthusiastic. I counted sixteen dogs and fourteen humans; a situation ripe for rebellion, but we were all impeccably behaved, as befitted our surroundings. I was most interested in hearing the appropriately-chosen hymns, prayers and readings and, as last year, it was a wonderful opportunity for us canines and our human pets to come together and thank God for the diversity of life in this world and to pray for those animals who don’t receive the care and respect from humans that they deserve.
As always, Vicar Phil proved his clerical greatness and conducted the service to perfection – with humour, solemnity at the appropriate moments, and a warm regard for all God’s creatures. It didn’t matter whether the participants were a horde of little dachshunds yipping the latest town gossip urgently to us all, Alfred the Basset Griffon Vendeen trying to keep order from the relative safety of behind a chair or me, trying to teach Mrs. Laing’s little spaniel some rude poems in the mistaken belief that my partner couldn’t hear me – Phil had a relevant word and a smile for us all. After singing a last song, a collection was taken up and the money will be divided between some worthy local animal charities.
If I have just one negative comment it is that I KNOW that there are more dogs among the congregation-folk than were present at the service. It would be nice to see more attending next time – we only get one chance a year and it’s lovely to join together to celebrate our creation and lives; we shouldn’t waste the opportunity. It doesn’t matter what breed you are; hierarchical issues are suspended for the duration of the service and all are welcome. I hope these mutts will make more of an effort to persuade their humans to bring them along next year. I WILL be checking at the regular wee-mail posts - I know who they are…
My favourite bit was a reading of a passages by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (he of the hilarious sexy romp Crime and Punishment), in which the writer advises us to “Love the animals…” - I have printed these in their entirety below. These are fine sentiments, but what a pity that his name was incorrectly pronounced at the service. We all know he is actually called Fido Dogstoyevsky, but I enjoyed the service so much that I am prepared to let this one go by unchecked.
"Love the animals, love the plants, love everything. If you love everything, you will perceive the divine mystery in things. Once you perceive it, you will begin to comprehend it better everyday. And you will come to love the whole world with an all-embracing love."
"Love animals: God has given them the rudiments of thought and joy untroubled. Do not trouble their joy, don't harrass them, don't deprive them of their happiness, don't work against God's intent. Man, do not pride yourself on superiority to animals; they are without sin, and you, with your greatness, defile the earth by your apppearance on it, and leave the traces of your foulness after you - alas, it is true of almost every one of us!"
"Love all God's creatures, the animals, the plants. Love everything to perceive the divine mystery in all."