Sunday, 6 July 2008

A bit of a ding-dong

Tranquil, elegant, unshowy - the interior of St Martin's-in-the-Fields offers a welcome contrast to the hubbub of London's West End.

Set on the north-eastern corner of Trafalgar Square, St Martin's couldn't be more central - in fact, it's the Queen's parish church.

Mr Gnome popped in yesterday during a brief visit to the capital to admire the recently completed clean-up and refurbishment, which includes a massive below-ground extension to develop the church's work serving London's poorest and most vulnerable inhabitants.

Outside in the square crowds were gathering around a huge temporary stage in readiness for the celebration of London's gay pride weekend. Inside all was classical calm - visually, at least. Up above the bells were tolling - full peal.

A twinkly member of staff updated us entertainingly on the ten-year refurb project.

The verger must have noticed Mr G straining to listen - what with the overhead din of the bells.

'We've got a team of gay bell-ringers visiting today,' he explained. 'They're here for the pride weekend.'

A pause - and then, by a micro-second, he beat Mr Gnome to the only possible comment.

'I guess that gives a whole new meaning to campanology....'

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