I’ve decided I’m giving up Sunday newspapers. I just opened today’s Telegraph magazine and saw a fashion photo of a dress with a £3,600 price tag and I said to myself, ‘are they out of their freaking minds!’
The Telegraph used to be a sensible paper, so sensible it employed me as a columnist for more than two years, but it has clearly now lost the thread. Don’t they know what kind of money their readers have to live on? How much further up their Louis Vuitton fundaments can these people crawl? So there went my post-communion Sunday glow, and only an hour out of church too.
People quite often ask me about church. When I tell them we’re Orthodox they ask ‘As in Greek?’ or ‘You mean Russian?’ Well… Orthodoxy is Orthodoxy. I’m English, my husband is American, but yes it’s true, the Orthodox Church is rather blighted by nationalism. In Venice we were regular communicants at the Greek church for more than 10 years but to the end we were regarded as anomalies. Like strawberries in a fish pie.
In Dublin our closest Orthodox church is Russian and that suits us pretty well. We both know the Slavonic liturgy by heart. But it’s not all cherry dumplings by any means. The clergy are Russian and sometimes they’re tired, but you have to ask why a priest would preach a fifteen minute homily in Russian when every single member of the congregation understands English? It drives me nuts.
Then there’s the question, is this a living church or a Dr Zhivago theme park? Traditionally, Russian women cover their head in church. Modern Greek women do not. And not wishing to appear like some fake Russian wannabe I’ve always resisted dressing like a babushka. But I began to feel uncomfortable. You know, like I’d forgotten to put on my skirt? So for the past few Sundays I’ve adopted the headscarf look and I will say, it’s growing on me. It makes me feel invisible, which is not a bad thing when you’re trying to empty your brain of its monkey-house chatter and pray. So okay, it seems the Russians have a point. But I still think the notices should be read in English. Then I wouldn’t have Mr F hissing in my ear, ‘What’d he say? Is there a coffee hour?’
Anyway, this is not your problem. I’ll bet you’re still wondering if there’ll be a Monday morning rush for that £3,600 gown. You might want to get down there with a sleeping bag. Take a friend so there’s someone to spell you when you need the bathroom. The shoes, by the way, were £1,600 and the bra – yes, the bra: it’s that kind of dress – was £89.95.
Meanwhile, back on Acacia Avenue…