In an mediaeval cathedral this afternoon just as the choir was processing in for Evensong I noticed a bunch of six or seven men enter. As the soloist began I became more and more aware of the noise they were making. They were North Africans, most likely Libyans but maybe Egyptians, and making a lot of noise by speaking at a normal pitch in Arabic. One was wearing a hat. They tried to get through to the choir stalls but were stopped by an elderly gentleman who gave them to understand that they should leave. I got close enough to be able to help if things should turn nasty, but after a moment, one of their number said something and they trooped noisily back down the aisle and left.
What was curious was that their manner was exactly that of a group of men I once saw who had taken over the lease on a workshop and had come in to work out what would go where: a sort of "measuring for curtains".
This Christmas break has been particularly relaxing, not least because I have only been into work once since 23 December, but I took today's incident to be a sign that the real world is forcing itself back onto my radar screen. Ho hum!