She it is who is always invoked when someone wants to undermine me - as in the futile debate on whether to move the tea light stand. If I ever want to change anything, they tell me that Archdruid Angela considered it, but then, in her great wisdom, left things as they were.
If I preach a sermon, I get to hear about the sermon that Archdruid Angela preached on the same subject that really hit the spot.
When I protest that it's my day off, I'm told Archdruid Angela's door was always open.
When I'm tired, they all recall how Archdruid Angela used to organise all-night prayer meetings.
When I banged Burton's head on the car bonnet when he annoyed me the other day, that whole long story was trotted out again. The one about how Archdruid Angela once offered the Trainspotters' division of the English Defence League tea and cakes, and ended up getting them to confess they actually quite liked people from Asia, and used Polish plumbers all the time.
A short list of the things that Archdruid Angela did better than me:
- She was married, with a husband who baked scones.
- She had four beautiful young children - not a wastrel grown-up son with a penchant for fraud and a love of dangerous scientific experiments.
- Despite her love and understanding of traditional Christian folk music, she was a passionate advocate of Marian devotion and could play the Fender Stratocaster left-handed.
- She knew the Bible off by heart, including chapters and verses and everything.
- She never got angry.
- She was prettier, younger and slimmer than me. Not - they all hasten to add - that has anything to do with one's fitness to be Archdruid. Oh no. Just an added bonus.
- Although fond of the occasional sociable glass of white wine, she never turned up at Pouring Out of Beakers grumpy, with a hangover, and got through it as fast as possible.
- Her sermons were brilliantly concise - somehow managing to pack an hour of digestible into just twelve minutes, with three points that, although alliterative, were never corny.
- She returned answerphone messages within ten minutes.
- She added 50% to the average attendance at Lighting of Tea Lights.
- The Moot House never blew up during her tenure.
- She was great with children's work, and did not make up imaginary relatives with unlikely medical emergencies as a way of getting out of her turn at Little Pebbles.
- Not once, during Archdruid Angela's time, did any Beaker Person accidentally eat the "gods" of the Guinea Pig Lovers of Stewartby during an ecumenical event.
- She had a lovely singing voice.
- She had the ability to talk corporate sponsors into providing the Beaker People with large amounts of money for building projects.
I don't want to sound resentful here, but there's a thing that all of Archdruid Angela's fans forget. I founded the Beaker Folk of Husborne Crawley. I never had a predecessor. In other words, Angela is a figment of their deluded imaginations.
Archdruid Angela never existed.
I really hate Archdruid Angela.