Every year, my local parish church, Holy Trinity Dalston, holds a service of thanksgiving for the life of Joseph Grimaldi, the father of clowning.
Every year I mean to attend.
Those who know me well will understand when I understand when I say that, every year, my klourophobia prevents me from attending
This year I finally overcame my weakness.
The street outside was packed with punters and clowns. Every parking space was taken (and not only by cars whose wheels had 'spontaneously' fallen off.)
The church was packed, with barely enough room to spin a bowtie.
And I was surprisingly touched by it all. (If you've never seen someone express the power of their faith by juggling on the altar I can heartily recommend it.)
Even the reading - from the sermon on the mount - made me think differently: I'd never considered clowns to be 'the salt of the earth' before.
But the oddest note of all was the fact that the Speaker of the House of Commons and his wife thought it the ideal venue to appear for the first time in public since Mrs Speaker's bedsheet photograph - in a church full of clowns.