An Orthodox Visit

I haven’t seen Mark T. Powell (aka Empty Bowel; M. Tea Towel) since I was living in London, so that was probably 1997, but seeing him again it could have easily been last month: we picked up from where we left off. I’d never met his wife, Kathleen, or his daughters Ann-Marie and Sarah.

Our arrival on Saturday evening allowed us time to sit and chat with Mark, Kathleen and Ann-Marie, who was a little wary of us to begin with. It was so good to catch up, reminisce about NYC and laugh. Mark had found and dug out the t-shirt that Danny Curtis and I had hand-made for him on his final course at Durham in ’91.

On Sunday morning we joined the family at church. Mark and folks are members of a Greek Orthodox congregation, so we sat in the second pew and spent the next hour and a half in a fluctuating state of awe and bewilderment. The singing was amazing and quite moving. Not being members of the Orthodox church we were denied communion, although we were allowed to eat the bread afterwards. I found that really quite difficult and was incredibly down for the rest of the day, which rather surprised me. In the afternoon, following an All-American Breakfast ™ of sausages, eggs and home-made waffles we were taken into town to expore Pike Street Market, complete with flying fish! We finished the day, following a delicious dinner of curry and cous-cous (?!) watching the film BEST in SHOW by Christopher Guest. A fine and humourous end to a fine and (at times) humourous day.

This morning (Monday) Mark kindly dropped us in town outside the Seattle Center (spelling!) and the Space Needle.

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Gareth Saunders

I’m Gareth J M Saunders, 52 years old, 6′ 4″, father of 3 boys (including twins). Enneagram type FOUR and introvert (INFP), I am a non-stipendiary priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church, I sing with the NYCGB alumni choir, play guitar, play mahjong, write, draw and laugh… Scrum master at Safeguard Global; latterly at Sky and Vision/Cegedim. Former web architect and agile project manager at the University of St Andrews and previously warden at Agnes Blackadder Hall.