This coming Saturday Jenny and I, together with two friends, will have the rare luxury of sitting in an audience for one of our musicals, without having to do anything but watch! As I think about it, I cast my mind back to the chain of events that led to this....
We were sitting on a bench looking out to sea, taking in the view that included the graceful sweep of Tintagel Head. Jenny and I are great fans of the television series Doc Martin, which is set in the sleepy, quaint Cornish fishing village of Port Isaac (called Portwen in the programme). Gazing to my right I noticed another couple; the man was reading a copy of the Times. I try to read this newspaper daily, since I believe it always contains a better class of weather, but there you go. My eyes were drawn to the headline that had something to do with the Archbishop of Canterbury. Leaning across to this stranger, I commented about the headline. "He's my boss" came the reply. The stranger turned out to be a vicar, David Haigh by name. Within a few minutes we were talking about the Last Things and Israel. We mentioned our latest musical Yeshua Messiah. The trail then continued with David inviting us to perform the musical in Romford, which then led to a performance in Loughton, which then led to a Messianic fellowship asking if they could perform another of our musicals called The Olive Tree - the musical we are going to see on Saturday. Be careful who you sit next to!
It reminded me of a further occasion when we were flying down to Barcelona. Approaching the Pyrenees, we began to experience turbulence. A man opposite me looked across and said: "Do I look frightened?" Not wishing to send this man into a pit of despair I replied: "You do just a little." I then went on to say that it was only in the summer that Europe really started to cook and send warm thermals upwards to contribute to unstable air. "Are you a pilot?" he asked. I replied in the negative. He continued to look very worried as the turbulence got worse. I decided to change the subject slightly and asked him what job he did. I was amazed buy his reply: "An air steward" he said. Be careful who you sit next to!
I remember some years ago flying over the Lake District in a light aircraft. As we took off, I found that I could not close the door. Frantically I kept pulling until finally I got the pilot's attention, having beheld Carlisle, some 2000 feet below, through the large gap in the door. "Don't worry - we'll level out at three thousand feet and then you won't have any wind resistance" he said stoically. Thankfully he did and I pulled the offending tail of my coat from the bottom of the door! We continued on into the heart of Lakeland, sweeping over the plunging edge of Wastwater with the famous Screes diving almost vertically into the dark depths of England's deepest lake. At that point, having got some great photos, the pilot calmly announced: "I'm lost!" I looked at him incredulously. You see, as you rise high above the lakes, they disappear into the valleys, so that all you see are peaks and ridges. "Right" I said, "let's find a lake I can recognise and we'll navigate from there". Sure enough, the great ribbon of Windermere soon appeared. "Turn left" I said "and follow it to its head, then we'll find Rydal Water, then Grasmere, then Thirlmere and then Derwent Water, where we turn north west towards Carlisle". We landed safely, but it cost me more because of the diversion! Be careful who you sit next to!
But I'm glad I sat next to a vicar called David Haigh. Roll on Saturday!