Communicating with God: One Person at a Time (Chapter 8, page 1 of 8)


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Chapter 8

With Raunds came a few more villages which were searched for hidden Catholics in the now familiar manner, through village shops and pubs. There was one village pub which at lunchtime was never 'manned'. It was just open and the locals helped themselves and paid for what they drank. It seemed to work but eventually the landlord retired and the place was metamorphosed into a glass and chrome emporium with all the atmosphere, friendliness and trust gone for ever and the clientele changing at a stroke from ploughman's lunch customers to 'outsiders' arriving in convertibles, souped up Mini-Coopers and Porshes. Village shops were beginning to close, unable to cope with supermarket opposition. The locals still wanted their own shop but only for trifling things and what they may have forgotten to buy on their weekly 'big' shopping trip or the odd bit of sugar or milk which they suddenly found they were lacking and to obtain which they would not hesitate to rouse the local shopkeeper even after hours. The ultimate was a lady who went into the local post office/shop, bought nothing but asked for change to pay her bus fare to the supermarket.

With all this pub crawling - all in the very best of taste and for most noble reasons - I count myself fortunate not only not to have become an alcoholic but also not have acquired a reputation as a boozer The danger only occurred to me much later as I thought back on cold winter evenings in the caravan when a bit of the hard stuff would probably have warmed the cockles, done little harm but possibly would have become a habit. Somehow - a blessing for which one ought to be grateful - the temptation to drink alone has never raised its ugly head and the advice of the old rector of the seminary was quite easy to follow: "Never drink spirits regularly before the age of 40."

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