1. I was christened on Sunday 30 July 1950 at St. Andrew’s Church, Ashton, Preston. The vicar there was a Mr. Lunt, who had a son called Martin Lunt. The name Lunt has stuck in my mind because of its resemblance to the word “lump”: Martin Lump! (My Mum once had a round protuberance on her leg, which she called a “lump”. Whenever the name Lunt was mentioned, a picture of my Mum’s lump came to mind.)
2. The church is set back from Blackpool Road quite a way. I don’t think we attended there very often, because I only have one very vague memory of being inside the church.
God bless Daddy—or was it the other way round?
God bless Steven—Steven said “God bless John” here.
God bless Nanny and Grandad—I can’t remember whether Nanny and Grandad appeared here, or before Steven, or even if they appeared at all in the prayer. For though I obviously have a vague recollection of their being mentioned, I can’t remember Nannies and Grandads Cooper and Paine being separately identified in the prayer, and since using no surname at all would imply the more frequently-seen Coopers, this seems unfair on the Paines.
God bless all the boys and girlsPrayer Number Two:
Lord, keep us safe this night—I didn’t understand this line: why should “sick” be mentioned, and what had it to do with fears?
May angels guard us while we sleepPrayer Number Three:
6. Eventually I was taught the third prayer:
Our Father—Why should a father be referred to as “which”? What has he to do with witches, anyway? Does “art” mean he is in heaven, or that he “aren’t”?
Hallowed be thy name—Does this mean that you say “hallo” to his name?
Thy kingdom come—“In heaven” sounded all right, but “in earth” was rather hard to picture.
Give us this day our daily breadAmen
7. All prayers terminated in “Amen”; and when I asked what Amen meant, my Dad said “sobeeyit”, which made me none the wiser.
“Jesus is kickle!”At this, Steven said, in the sing-song way that children do, “Aaaah!”—and probably added that I’d go to hell for saying that, or worse, threatened to tell Mummy or Daddy what I’d said.
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