We returned to Stanford today for the funeral of local legend, Richard Speed. He was an unassuming but immensely talented man whose wide influence in the creative arts and education was witnessed to by the packed church. It was nice to see former curate and now vicar of Uffington, Rosanna Martin, presiding beautifully over the celebration, and to hear old friend, New Orleans jazz singer, Lillian Boutté, sing the Lord's Prayer and 'What a wonderful world'. We also enjoyed meeting, for the first time, my successor, Tim Rose, whom we liked.
On a querkier note, as we drew up in the disabled bay outside the village hall, we noticed, in the centre the ten-metre square patch of grass opposite, a new stake with a notice saying, 'Take away your dog poo', with underneath presumably the dire penalties for failure. As we left after the service, lo and behold, there was a man wearing a musty green gilet on which were the words 'Environmental Warden'. We watched him as he closely inspected the ground before driving away in his shiny white Vale of the White Horse District Council van. 'What would he have done if he'd found some "poo"', Jane mused. 'Taken it away for DNA analysis? And then had a DNA identity parade of all the dogs in the village?' I muttered something about the canine stasi moving in, as we drove home. I grow old.