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There would be longish pauses now and again when the Reverend Herbert Watkins appeared to be elsewhere or at least his mind did. It might be mid conversation and for a minute or so and often much longer his eyes would appear to glaze as total distraction set in.
Parishioners had become used to it. One or two had been warned about the phenomenon when first it transpired that he was taking on their parish but for the majority it had been a strange experience until they had eventually become familiar with it and simply waited out the gaps in conversation.
At times during services it might happen in mid sermon and the impact of his words would be lost as he gazed to the back of the church transfixed until full consciousness was restored.
Sometimes as he re-appeared from the trancelike phenomenon he would hastily jot down notes of some sort on a pad which he kept on the pulpit shelf. At other times no notes, just renewed vigour and strength in his message to the congregation among whom many were convinced that their vicar was in direct contact with some higher source and had this been some centuries earlier pilgrims and travellers would have been flocking to Bellminster to marvel at their holy man.
There was a remedy of course and as far as the parishioners were concerned it was his batchelor status that was the problem.
“A good woman would put him right, it’s stress you know, that and frustration. A good woman would see to him”.
Grace Carslake and Anne Galston discussed Herbert Watkins on a regular basis. The truth of the matter was that both these ladies were already willingly ‘seeing to’ the reverend gentleman and doubted that the frustration theory could be correct because they both relieved any stress and frustration on a regular basis but despite their efforts the lapses persisted.
Over coffee in the Roasted Bean, before and after Women’s Institute meetings and at the parish bowling club he would be top of the agenda, an agenda which ranged far and wide across town and district. No one escaped their attention neither at the W.I. where ladies known to be currently engaged in affairs and indeed those who may have strayed at some time in the past were smiled and politely nodded at followed by in depth discussions of any misdemeanours and husbands, illicit lovers and any other eligible males who were deemed worthy of attention were assessed for real ,imagined or rumoured faults and attributes. Widows didn’t come in for quite so much actual criticism since there was no husband involved except of course belonging to someone else and anyway there was an acknowledgement of need.
The bowling club was a prime venue for similar observations. Many of the ladies were members of both organisations so data might well be up to date but there were others and amongst them a number of younger ladies who came in for the same scrutiny. Weights and measures were an important part of their discussions as well, bowling kit gave ample opportunity for the close observation of figures from head to toe and bosoms and bottoms were compared and criticised where required and close attention paid to whether or not the help of stout foundation garments was the real reason behind a more shapely bosom or rear.
The local Doctor’s wife had one of those rear ends which retained both shape and attraction without aid, the male players gathered behind whatever end she was playing from to view it and on adjacent rinks others pause in their own games to take in the wonderful swing of her breasts as she bent forward to roll her bowls and follow through.
“What does Amy Radley see in that Peter Strong, he’s such a gruff unfriendly man, how on earth did they get together?”
“I do not know Grace but it’s obvious what he sees in her. I can’t stand him I had to get him one time to come and look at the central heating but he wasn’t a bit nice, not a smile, hardly a word, just said it was a job for an electrician and he didn’t know why I’d called him. They say he has a big….you know…..maybe that’s why she’s with him.”
“Who told you that? I’ve heard that too. Sadie Stirling says he was working at her place last year and she came out of the back door in a hurry and caught him urinating behind a bush in the garden. She says when he saw her she’s sure he waved it at her and it certainly was large”
Anne chortled. “Anybody but Sadie would have asked did he need someone to hold it for him, that’s if it happened at all but anyway Amy will be looking after it well enough from all reports. Is his wife still in the golf club? “
“She’s on the committee. Amy’s a member as well you know.”
“Poor old Doctor Radley I say. When you think of all the people he’s looked after in the district she has no need to be running around after anyone, he’s such a fine man.”
“He’s got the softest hands too. I went along to the surgery the other day because I thought I felt a bit of swelling in this breast and do you know he did a really thorough examination. Took his time and felt poker oyna every inch. He couldn’t feel a thing. I thought I could still feel it and put his hand on the spot. He massaged all around and quite deeply but nothing. Do you know my nipples were as hard as hard and they stayed hard all the way home in the car and so sensitive. I don’t know what Amy’s thinking about. Come to think of it I should have got him to check the other breast as well.”
“You’re as well to be sure about these things Grace, maybe I should let him have a feel round, you can’t be too careful.”
“What about Herbert, have you seen him recently.”
“Yes he called round on Monday night, we’d some music to sort out for next Sunday but I managed to get him off that fairly quickly, I can easily do the music myself and I’d been feeling quite frisky all day so I wasn’t going to waste the opportunity.”
“Did he manage to get through without drifting off?”
“Noooo, it was the usual story, we got under way and about five minutes later he glazed over. To tell you the truth I was quite pleased because when he gets that over and done with early on I know I can relax when he re-connects and have a climax. Otherwise you might just be getting there when it happens and that’s the end of that. At least he doesn’t actually grind to a halt, it just slows down, you can tick over so to speak. But the other night he just wasn’t up to it.”
“I simply hate it when it happens, so frustrating, I’m so worked up and get so carried away when I’m penetrated and I just can’t stand the interruption. The only bonus is at least I’ve had a man inside me because Bob hasn’t a clue these days, he’s forgotten completely what it means to me. To be honest if there was someone else I’d leave Herbert alone but I don’t see much chance of that really.”
“I know what you mean, he’s a bit vague, I mean not just the drifting off he’s hard to start up and keep his attention. No wonder Clare cleared off, I suppose she’d had enough, it really would be a bit much every single time , bad enough at the moment and I only see him once a fortnight.”
“I see Sally Westropp is retired from the bowling club, getting a bit stiff these days, can’t get down to bowl she says. Do you remember when Canon Tilling was here, Sally had such a thing for him. She was absolutely livid when his wife had passed away and he passed her over. She’d more or less made it clear to him that she would be available long before but oh goodness when it turned out he’d been playing with Delores Wray all the time she almost lost her head.”
“I’d known there was something happening with Delores for quite a while but hadn’t realised how serious it was until one evening after choir practice I went back into the church to get my glasses, I’d left them on the side of the organ and as I passed the vestry door I glanced inside and there was Delores against the back wall and old Tilling with one hand up her dress and the other massaging one of those enormous breasts of hers, no wonder she was our best singer. They didn’t notice me at all but when I crept past again having found the specs Delores had her eyes open and saw me. There was no reaction though.”
“Well there you are Anne that just goes to show you that Sally never had a look in, he obviously liked a big woman and certainly Delores filled that description. I’m sure he wasn’t the only one filling his hands with her bosoms, she always struck me as someone who would play around. Her car was sighted at the rectory lots of times so no doubt he got more than his hands under her dress, he’d still have been fit enough then. Do you remember that time when she was soloist in the choir and each time she breathed one of her blouse buttons burst open. There wasn’t a man in the front half of the church whose mouth hadn’t dropped open…..and she didn’t bother doing them up either. That’s probably when Tilling decided he’d have to get his hands on her”
“At least Delores didn’t have to put up with Herbert’s dreaming, she probably wouldn’t have in any case and wouldn’t have needed to because there were a dozen men around who would have loved to get into that bosom and her knickers for that matter and most certainly wouldn’t have been wasting time in a trance when they did. Come to think about it they still would. She must be sixty four or five by now.”
At some point in their weekly saga of parish lusts and indiscretions they would conclude that each should try harder to find new liaisons where they could look forward to appreciative partners who would match their own enthusiasm for sexual advancement. The two women finally decided that dallying with Herbert Watkins was really not a good idea, they’d had enough, he caused more frustration than he satisfied and could by no means be described as enthusiastic, he was detached, distracted and simply unsatisfactory. They would each when next they met him make it clear that whatever had been between them was at an end, they could no longer put up with having to practically cajole canlı poker oyna him into taking advantage of what they laid before him, they were there for the taking yet seemingly he was unable to equal their desire.
“We must put our heads together at some point and consider who might fill the gap for us and hopefully fill it with a bit more vim and vigour so to speak.”
The following week at the W.I. they compared notes once more. Each had been visited by Herbert in the meantime and each had outlined for him that their respective affairs must come to an end.
“He didn’t actually say an awful lot Grace, drank his tea and had another cup, ate another piece of shortbread , gazed out the window for a good while and finally asked how did I manage to get my climbing roses to stay so compact and healthy looking, his it seems are leggy and trailing. I explained for him and we discussed other aspects of gardening before he gazed out the window again. I’m sure it was the usual glazed look. Anyway, that over he simply rose and said “Good, well, that leaves the way ahead clear.” and walked out. It struck me that there might be someone else involved, it seemed a puzzling thing to say.”
“Well that is strange he said exactly the same to me. He knows that Bob is always away on a Tuesday night but he didn’t sit down and I’ve a feeling he hadn’t planned to stay anyway which under different circumstances would have been most disappointing and would have doubled my frustration. I gave him the news and he repeated what he’d said to you and went off, not in a huff or anything just simply…left. I wonder what he has in mind?”
The following Sunday their questions were answered. It was a full house as usual at morning service . The choir with Mrs Wray and her chest to the fore were in fine tune as was Anne accompanying them robustly on the organ. Favourite and familiar hymns were sung out enthusiastically by all, uplifting lessons read and spirits were high as Herbert Watkins mounted the pulpit steps and gazed fondly over his flock.
He smiled, looked down affectionately at Grace who though surprised returned it with her own and then turning his head to the choir caught Anne’s eye and once again beamed in her direction. At that point the trance took over, his smile remained, eyes bright but fixed on the back of the church, his hands with knuckles white gripping the pulpit rim.
Five minutes passed, the congregation waiting quietly for the return of their pastor. Suddenly he did come back but not as he had left them, light hearted and uplifted, no, the eyes were piercing and dark, his gaze over the startled congregation unfocused and angry. Grace glanced towards the organ at Anne who was almost cowering as he once more looked in that direction. The feeling of foreboding was overwhelming.
He straightened up and in a loud seriously angry voice began.
“There comes a time when enough is enough and for this parish that time has arrived. I have endured enough, this church has endured enough. I have put up with your filth and your sinning and will stand it no longer. You have no fear and long before I came here there was carnal sin and lusts of every conceivable variety lodged among your filthy hovels and behind your false and artificial smiles.”
His eyes turned once more to the choir and on Delores Wray’s chest. Her eyes met his awful stare as it focused on her shapely bosom.
“You, you have led more than one poor wretch astray with your filthy ways, flaunting your body with promises of carnal pleasures and debauchery, even a man of God had no defence against you. There will be different fires lit for you and your like, there will be heat the like of which you have never felt between your legs as you burn in Hell.”
To a man every male in that church felt that heat as well for all had lusted to smoulder between those legs and longed to smother between those breasts. The male members of the choir were especially jumpy for hadn’t they all tried to be in the best position in the pews to watch the swell, the lift and fall of her magnificence as she sang and each had prayed that once more those buttons would give way. Hadn’t they at times needed the prod from comrades to resume their own singing when at the sight and thought they had faltered.
Anne cowered even lower as his gaze once more lit on her.
“And you, you who used me, where will you end up, with your sad desires and dried up soul, there is no hope, none, you will burn with the rest, you are dry as the deserts, your sex which you would have me fill for you is dry as tinder , flames will erupt where I could not.”
Grace at this point wondered should she faint or something and Bob would have to take her out of the church, anything to avoid the inevitable, it might even stop his rant, snap him out of his delirium. But it was too late, his distracted gaze fixed on her and she found herself clinging to her husband’s arm. There was a pause and silence and despite the seriousness of the moment internet casino Grace found herself thinking how typical just when there’s a climax approaching back comes the trance again. This time she hadn’t long to wait.
“You, you who sees fault with all who cross your path, talk and gossip, names blackened even farther than they already are, you who saw only your own satisfaction as you drew me into your lustful insatiable sexual darkness. Your foul language, your deceits, you raped my very being ,my very mind corroded and infested as you lay there writhing with desire ,holding yourself, demanding I satisfy those demons of lust, demons which I tried so hard to fight.”
Anne clinging to the organ considered that as long as he didn’t revisit her she may have got off fairly lightly compared to Grace. Imagine her writhing and holding herself open, I’d no idea she’d do that, doesn’t it just show you.
On and on he went from pew to pew, tearing into each and every misdemeanour, every sin called out as he fixed each unfortunate with that thunderous stare.
You, well you may look away, harlot, harlot of Jerusalem, harlot of Bellminster. Our very Doctor’s wife, not a shred of decency, lust and filth at every turn, impaled by that sinner there like dogs in the street. Who will throw a bucket of water on the pair of you. The plumber and the Doctors wife, his foul seed pouring into you time after time. Can you not close your legs woman, are you incapable of turning away, no I see in your weak smile that you cannot. Let that same fire consume you with all the rest.”
Poor Lily Black the bank manager’s maid and mistress and Tom Weir himself, keeper and trustee of the town’s riches were warned of the fires that awaited them. Tom was floored as their late night couplings were laid bare before the parish but floored even farther when Mrs. Weir sitting beside him eyes tightly closed was exposed for her own illicit indulges with Jack Todd in the local cattle mart, animalistic congress in the bedding straw.
Mary Finlay, farmer’s wife, free with favours on market days, she wasn’t even in the church but many of those who availed of her generosity were and Tom Clarke, James Tolan, Cecil Toms and Colin Wilkes among others all received the awful news of the hopelessness of their plight and each prepared themselves for the onslaught from wives who unless their own mistakes were exposed would be hell bent on revenge.
And poor old William Green the grave digger, torn to shreds for exposing himself on a regular basis to anyone he thought might show an interest and worse followed as Watkins recited a list of those who had openly encouraged his exposures and had made it known that should he wish to follow it up they would be willing to provide facility to receive what he put on display and not forgetting those who actually had. Mary Bell, behind the vestry, Hannah Robinson in Gamage’s barn, Karen Wreath the same place, Mary Keen, Anne Spite. On and on it went, husbands fidgeting as wives were mentioned, widows chastised for lack of decorum and control, the fires would consume them all, there was no escape, it was too late, all too late. Only old William gained any pleasure from it all for it was like water off a ducks back for him and a smile formed across his face when he recalled so many of those willing partners, more than half of which he himself had forgotten long ago.
The draper and the publicans wife, the publican himself and his dalliances with the widow Morrell. The grocer and the school-mistress, the builder who boasted he had filled more holes than he had dug, all bared before the cowering audience. Whether this year, last year or ten years ago each miscreant pointed out and condemned to fires which at this rate of fuelling would burn for months.
The tirade came to an end with the noise of a siren outside. Doctor Radley who had left his seat some ten minutes previously appeared at the inner door and after a few words with James Waters the sexton he approached the front of the church and glanced up at the pulpit where Herbert Watkins remained standing, even deeper now in his trance-like state. Doctor Radley turned to the body of the church.
“James Waters has opened the doors, can you all kindly leave now, there is no need to panic or rush, you are in no danger, just leave and go to your homes. If anyone feels any ill effects from this episode you should call me right away, I will be available for the rest of the day.”
The bulk of the congregation were too stunned and shocked to do other than leave quietly and any who were towards the back of the crowd were aware that two police constables had entered the church by the vestry door and one of them was carefully climbing the pulpit steps under the direction of Doctor Radley. Herbert Watkins still transfixed but calm was hand-cuffed and led to a choir pew where Doctor Radley gently examined him, took his pulse and explained to the police what had happened. He also advised them that the vicar was well enough to be taken into custody for his own safety and that he would there and then get in touch with the asylum in Triplingham and ask someone to arrange to examine and assess Herbert Watkins at the local police station as soon as possible.
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