I am sitting on a pew composing myself for the Sunday service when the church sideswoman darts across the nave. She holds out a brown envelope with my name on. It's a note, she explains, from the elderly lay-reader.
I assume that it's an acknowledgment sent to everyone who filled out an attendance card at her husband's funeral last week. Or a request for an additional supply of grapefruit segments.
At least, I hope it is. The lay reader is a retired deputy head teacher and has a reputation for severity. I'm worried that it may be a reprimand for fidgeting during a sermon, or a summons to bible class.
The service begins and I open the envelope behind my hymn book. There's no note inside, just a newspaper clipping. It shows a picture of a ragged bra and a pair of frayed lace knickers. The story explains that these saucy scanties date from the 15th-century and suggest to historians that Ann Summers had medieval predecessors.
I'm uncertain whether this is a discreet reminder that the smalls on the vicarage washing line need renewing; an assumption that I'm the sort of woman whose mind is on knickers during the Vicar's sermons, or a hint that the lay reader would prefer lingerie to grapefruit segments when next I pay a call.
When Mass is over I consult the churchwarden. She peers at the pictures through her bi-focals and looks up radiant. 'Tell you what,' she says. 'I wouldn't mind buying a set like those!'
That seems to settle it. My puritan thermals are obviously the wrong kind of underwear for Anglican worship. I'm off to Ann Summers before next week's family service.