The Church of Holy Trinity, Reading, was formerly the very Protestant proprietary chapel which owed its later adornment to Fr Brian Brindley. I am told by friends that the pulpit in 'Georgian' baroque was thrown out of the City Church of All Saints in Oxford when Old Mother Damnable flogged it to Lincoln College for a library. The screen, from Pugin's Cathedral in Birmingham, was thrown out when the papists depuginised that building. The retro-altar was the famous Belgian baroque altar with the reversible tabernacle from (a one-time daughter church of S Thomas's) S Paul's Walton Street in Oxford, thrown out when OMDamnable sold it to the entertainment industry. Also once in S Paul's was the monumental scagliola-like portico-style entrance into the church from the Sacristy. And in the North Chapel was the baroque altar inscribed 'PAX' from the ballroom at Nashdom, which, when that House was our principal Benedictine Abbey, will often have been used by our great scholar, wit, and mystagogue Dom Gregory Dix. The shell of the building now stands, lonely, surrounded by buildings with the names like The Blavatnik School of Government.
The service was mixed; a sermon in a very rasping voice by the then bishop of Dorchester, who, they tell me, was once one of us but, like so many of that generation lot of episcopabili, changed his mind on The Issue not so very long before he got the letter from Downing Street. He later scarpered to Chelmsford and now has an address in Bishops Auckland. He tried to ingratiate himself to his hearers by basing his homily upon the Pope Benedict's Year of the Priest. This provided a happy opportunity for thirty-or-so birettas to flutter above thirty-or-so heads at every use of the nomen sacrum 'Benedict'. His accent took me back to my childhood in Essex. Yes, I am an Essex Boy too, from those selfsame marshes, and proud of it, but I don't feel the need to flaunt it whenever I open my mouth. Bishop Andrew's face remained totally impassive when Reading referred to him as his "beloved brother".
The Mass was Novus Ordo, very much Reform-of-the-Reform (remember all that?) with the Canon Romanus covered, except for qui pridie, by the singing of Sanctus and Benedictus.
I don't think PF would have felt at home.
My memories are imperfect, but I think we may have had Drinks.