What a day!
I had started the day with a genuine fear of what might happen. The twittering, the Facebooking, the blogosphere and the world that SMS Texts live in, were all buzzing with the grave potential that today had to be a dark day for the people of my beloved town.
Well, it was ok in the end, and there have been some very real plusses to a day largely heralded as one where such things might not have manifest themselves.
1. The people of our town, of all faiths and none, were galvanised. The folk of Aylesbury didn't want this, weren't going to support it, and condemned the fact that their town was to be a theatre for a macabre pantomime. I walked the streets before noon and I recieved more 'afternoon vicar's then every before. Yes, there was great apprehension, but we knew that in the end, Aylesbury would be ok. It was and we are.
2. I am in awe at the professionalism of the police. They were good humoured with me and only in Aylesbury to ensure that we were safe from those who may have sought to hurt us. The Thames Valley Police and their supporters from so many forces demonstrated that they are force to be reckoned with. A town needs to see that every once in a a while, and ironically, I think Aylesbury feels like a safer place tonight.
3. Our worst fears were not realised, and not realised in the slightest. The true English (and British, and European and Asian and human) heart beat tonight as the bells at St. Mary's rang the 'All Clear' - post-Blitz style.
4. I have learned so much about contemporary communication. Whilst I am fairly savvy, I have learned the significant place that Twitter and Facebook have on days like today. Lies and truth together, they are vehicles that can do so much good too. There was a false rumour being posted by SMS Text that the Mosque had been firebombed - when it was uncovered as a lie, Bp Alan and Fr Shane (my boss and his boss) were able to lurch down to said Mosque and get a pic of them having tea with the Muslim community - and tweet it immediately. It did some good, some real good.
5. The EDL march displaced a the wedding to be held today at St Mary's. We went to the country church in the glorious sun and had a great time. As it happens, there is a sodding great big hole outside the main door of St. Mary's as a result of some protracted drainage work - so the pics would have been proper manky had we been there!
6. The Bishop bought me a pint in the first business to re-open in Aylesbury. That's always a bonus!
So, as I sit in my house, and as heavy rain pours and cleanses our streets once again - I hope and pray that the people of this most magnificent town will pop to the shops tomorrow. The traders were the real losers, what with it being a bank-holiday Saturday and all that.
In short ...
Aylesbury 1 : Visiting Team Nil