Wednesday, September 10, 2008

H Is For Heaven

Park Under The Arch, Bishop

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON


Recently, I was taking some shots at St Paul’s Cathedral here in Melbourne. As always, I was looking for a "different" shot, something out of the ordinary. I took several shots inside the Gothic building and finally emerged just as the clouds started to clear. That's when I saw a vintage wedding car outside the cathedral and much to my delight, I "saw" my ideal shot in the polished, curved roof of the old sedan.

But I guess the shot (above) also inspired me to write this "H" post for today, along with the shots that I took inside the cathedral. So let me take you back a few years .....

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the city
Not a car park was vacant, for the writer of this ditty

Sometimes a bloke’s gotta do what a bloke’s gotta do. Right? Let me emphasise that I am a law-abiding citizen, but here’s a yarn my family will never let me live down.

About fifteen years ago, after a great Christmas Eve dinner with our closest friends, we decided that instead of going to Midnight Mass at our local church, we would drive into the city and attend Mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral.

You don’t need to be a member of Mensa to work out that parking in the city is never a piece of cake. And on Christmas Eve? Well, you need a miracle on the scale of the Parting of the Red Sea.

I must also point out that while our motley assemblage of young parents and very little children had planned to be in the Cathedral by about 11.30 pm, things ran a little behind schedule. Okay, so things ran a long way behind schedule.


There were about four cars. And by the time we got to Flinders Street in the central business district, through heavy traffic, let’s just say it was a little too close to midnight for comfort.

Let me just say that I inherited compassion and many other lyrical traits from my very gifted, very blessed mother. But I also inherited the gift of lateral thinking from my very hard-working father.

So I didn’t waste time driving into any of the high-rise car parks in the vicinity of the cathedral. The odds of finding a spot there were, collectively, a far longer shot than the prospect of a three-legged rocking horse winning the Melbourne Cup. Instead, I noticed that the boom gate in the Cathedral car park was up.

What would you do in such a situation? You’d drive in, wouldn’t you?

"You can’t do that," said Mrs Authorblog, aghast.

"Why not?" I replied. I muttered something unintelligible about an open boom gate on Christmas Eve being a sign from the Heavens.

"You can’t say that," she said in horror, no doubt waiting for the bolt of lightning that would surely hit me in divine retribution.

That’s when we saw the entire religious procession, in their magnificent robes, leaving the vestry for the main body of the church. There were altar boys. There were choristers. There were priests. There were all manner of official-looking people of all ages, shapes and sizes. Everyone who was anyone in the Cathedral hierarchy was here.

Just then, I saw a vacant spot in the Cathedral car park. Only one solitary vacant spot. To me, it was like the guiding star in the East.

I swung the wheel towards the parking spot. But there was one problem. A very prominent sign said in bold letters: "Reserved for the Archbishop’s car".


This is where the Lateral Thinking Gene kicked in.

The Archbishop, surely, was in the procession that had just walked past us, towards the main door of the Cathedral. There is no way he, of all people, would be late for Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve.

So I swung neatly into the parking spot. I thought the devout Mrs Authorblog was about to have a heart attack.

By the time all our friends finally caught up with us inside the Cathedral, they all wanted to know where on earth I had found a parking spot. And when I told them, they wouldn’t believe me. Until Mrs Authorblog, fortified by the promise of smelling salts, confirmed my claim.

That’s why I still get nervous in thunderstorms. I always wonder if there’s a bolt of lightning with my name on it.

For the home of ABC Wednesday, go to Mrs Nesbitt's Place.

45 comments:

Katney said...

Oddly enough, I picked this up just below the H is for heaven title, and got to the end of your always well todl anecdote without figuring out where the H was int he story or photos.

My only conclusion was that it was H is for hutzpah!

We didn't go to midnight Mass at the cathedral in Seattle one Christmas, but that's a whole different story.

Lisa Milton said...

What breathtaking shots. Love the one of the sky; very clever.

Akelamalu said...

Oh WOW David those photographs are just magnificent!

Louise said...

Holy cow! There probably IS a bolt of lightning with your name on it. Poor Mrs. Authorblog. Probably took 10 years off her life!

Charli and me said...

The pictures are stunning! What happened when the Archbishop found out you took his spot? Unless he was already in the church of course.

Maggie May said...

What a cheek! But it paid off, though I bet it ruined mrs Authorblog's entire night!

Magnificent photos.

Hilary said...

Great story.. and photos. I recommend that if you see ligtning - bolt! ;)

Ackworth Born said...

A very interest tale and some splendid photos to accompany it.

RiverPoet said...

I was pretty sure H was going to be for Hellfire! You've got a pair, David, I'll give you that! And poor Mrs. Authorblog! You must have raised her BP a few points!

Peace - D

Fat, frumpy and fifty... said...

fab images of the interior of the cathedral...l look forward to your multiple posts daily...

lime said...

lol, you'd get along well with my husband. he'd have done exactly the same thing, of that i have no doubt.

AnneDroid said...

Excellent photos, and excellent story too! I bet God laughed too...

ExpatKat said...

Love it! Thanks for the chuckle, David!

Pat - An Arkansas Stamper said...

David,
Loved your post. Let me assure you that it was a human that marked/reserved the Archbishop's parking spot, not The Almighty -- who probably got a good chuckle out of your solution to the parking problem.

Those are beautiful photos of the inside of the cathedral.

Ivar Ivrig said...

Great story and beautiful shots

becky voyles said...

Oh, this is priceless. Too funny. Never a dull moment with you, is there? Not sure I want to be standing next to in a thunderstorm!

Howdy Do said...

The photography is very nice. I liked reading the post as well.

I only have one "H" for my post today. I hope you like it. I put it on Canon Pixels

Granny Smith said...

Wonderful story illustrated by some pretty spectacular photos. I love your first reflection photo, the kind of thing that I am always looking for = and even finding occasionally.

Annie said...

ah, well done David..excellent lateral thinking..did you manage to get a shot of the procession as well?

Annie

CrazyCath said...

I always felt some sympathy for Mrs. Authorblog.

Now I know why.... [grin]
Great post.
Great H.
Here's hoping you haven't lost your place in the queue!

Ryanne said...

At first I was hooked on the car, just wondering what kind it was, then I looked closer and saw the reflection of the cathedral on the shiny paint. I love how you seen to catch the unusual in the ordinary. As always I love you picture.

leslie said...

I'm afraid I'd be with Mrs. Authorblog and be worrying and praying the whole time that the car would still be there when we exited. That bolt's gonna getcha one day! LOL

btw, nice photos, as usual!

Have a heavenly day! :D

SandyCarlson said...

These are really stunning. I love the reflection in the car and the very deep blue.

Bear Naked said...

When I first saw your title "H Is For Heaven" my first thought was, "He is quite the photographer, showing us pictures from heaven."
Wonderful photos of the Cathedral and delightful story.
I would have been just as horrified as Mrs. Authorblog was on that night if my husband ever attempted to do what you did.

Bear((( )))

womaninawindow said...

Yes, I'm taken right back to the beginning, too. That reflection is sweet.

Angela at mommy bytes said...

Nice shots, I especially like the first reflection of the blue sky as well as the church. Cool story as well.

babooshka said...

So to get a decent car parking space you need God on your side. Good job I don't drive! I'd say H for the human condition here. Stunning shots. he light again indoors no glare amrvellous.

MamaGeek said...

Oh beautiful.

It should be called ART-itecture.

Lori said...

Great shots. Beautiful..Happy WW:)

joan said...

Love that story and that church is beautiful.

Lakshmi said...

wow..what a picture..the first one..everytime I try to take a different angle, I look at your posts for inspiration..I would like to invite you to my blog where I have just posted my 100th post..please do drop in when you have the time .

The Mulligan Family said...

Fabulous photo's... what a gorgeous Cathedral! Your photos are always so beautiful.

Lynette said...

Brilliant photos. Great story. What memories you have. Thanks for sharing. I doubt there's a bolt with your name on it--it's been obliterated by your creativity and outlook on life, don't you agree?

mrsnesbitt said...

Loved it david! Go for it!
Thanks as ever, a fascinating contribution to ABC Wednesday! Long may they live on!

Shrinky said...

Oh David, you do have a gift for telling a story, I loved the pictures this conjured in my mind. So funny, I can just imagine Mrs. Authorblog's thunderstruck face as you pulled in. But as you say, no harm was done, and it was Christmas Eve.

Dragonstar said...

That shot of the reflection in the car roof is perfect - just the way I like them!

The rest of your post is a joy to read!

dr. filomena said...

Such rich colours! Amazing...
Greetings from Slovenia

kouji said...

lovely images. :) i especially like the one of the church as reflected by the car.

Kim from Hiraeth said...

snort.

That was funny! : D

Loved the first commentor's line:

"H is for hutzpah!"

Deb said...

H is for hilarious! Enjoyed this story/pictures - you are gutsy - taking on grizzlies and Archbishops! And as I read I felt so bad for your wife - and I am sure this is one of those stories that gets told over and over again! Those are the best!

San said...

To lateral thinking! I wonder if the Mensa qualification tests are calibrated to measure lateral thinking.

They are certainly not calibrated to measure the brilliance displayed in these photographs. Thank you for letting us bask in the radiance. And thank you for another well-told, entertaining story, David.

fishing guy said...

David: Lovely story started out with a great reflective shot of the cathedral. Hope the misses didn't faint when she saw the Arch Bishop come in late.

Kim said...

So, was the archbishop there? or did he never show up because he couldn't find a parking space?

i beati said...

you find the best reflections and architecture. this is so exquisite..sandy

Carrie and Troy Keiser said...

Oh My, That is a funny story! the odd shot is very cool!