Thursday, June 17, 1982
Dark gross chapel
My History exam was at nine and I was dreading it, but the questions were relatively easy, perfect for people who hadn’t a specific grasp of the course, probably poor for those who knew all the details but couldn’t use them differently or argue abstractly.
I answered my four questions on the Second World War. Was German defeat inevitable? Did Hitler rise solely as a result of Weimar’s economic problems? Was the war a result of mismanagement? And finally a superbly abstract question about the reasons for the arts “incomprehensibility”; I waffled on about angst, Burroughs, Kandinsky, the Art Ensemble of Chicago and punk. I felt quite pleased with my three sides per question.
Who knows? Maybe I’ll do well after all?
Dad was in a good mood when I came home so we drove to the pet store in Leckenby for some white worm for the newts. On the way we stopped to see the remains of what was once the old Methodist Chapel.
Over a wall by the side of the road lay a graveyard, thick with grass, weeds and sycamores, A rough path, beaten through the damp grass plunged down amid the leaves and overshadowing trees. Old yellowing newspapers were scattered all around, the gravestones barely visible, some green and moss-covered, others hidden under thick tangled grass. In a little clearing amid the trees were the remnants of the Chapel—a decaying, crumbling wall choked with glossy green ivy, a gaping glass-less window, its stone frame bare and old, a tiny dark room to one side, spidery fingers of ivy dangling from the ceiling, slugs everywhere. . . . An inscription bore the date 1642. It was incredible, the tall grass beaded with water droplets, hidden dank stones and, rising amid the saplings and bushes, the chapel tower itself, only the top surviving like a black stone summerhouse.
The church opposite is still in use but here across the road the bones of human beings lay forgotten. So much for Christian conscience. A hearse passed, the coffin new and gleaming, a huddled group of mourners in the back. . . . To think that in fifty years no one will care, that that body too will lie ignored beneath a black, sooty head stone, choked by weeds and tangled roots. And people still insist that there's a God? There's nothing, only the harsh fact of unseen graves, ignored and unthought of at the busy mindless roadside.
Dad and I set off again, up towards Bethany Head. Electric pylons strode everywhere, crisscrossed with power cables. To our left the fields swept down towards Easterby, vaguely discernible in the distance as a yellow and white smudge of industry, factories and misty tower blocks.
We stopped at the pet shop, Bernie’s Pet World (“Scruffy Dogs Bathed,” “All Breeds Trimmed”). Kittens, a puppy sleeping in a basket in the window, tanks, cages, cluttered boxes, animals everywhere, parrots, quail, finches, pigeons, a polecat, snakes, anoles, a slow worm, fire-bellied toads, a monkey, axolotls, bullfrog tadpoles, a superb colourful yellow and black tortoise, fish, a friendly terrier running free, solid and furry as he rubbed against us.
We got our white worm culture and were home for three.
Tesco was OK and I enjoyed stacking frozen stock in the freezers, which was a change from the monotony of card-boarding.
The N. Ireland-Yugoslavia game was a boring 0-0 draw. Argentinian General Galtieri has gone, replaced by a new general. Lami Dozo is tipped as the new premier.