It is the family service. For once the eight-year-old goes unprotestingly to Sunday School so I can sit in my pew with dignity unimpeded by a small boy building himself a bust out of rolled-up service sheets or rehearsing Gangnam-style manoeuvres in the nave.
The Vicar, majestic in vestments, preaches of love, faith and hopefulness and I watch the faces of the faithful raptly absorbing his wisdom. I wonder, not for the first time, how it must feel to be a revered father-figure to such a throng and, furtively, I suppress a length of loo roll trailing from my sleeve so as to look worthy of him.
The Sunday School troops back into church. The children are clutching glittered cards for Father's Day. The Vicar, all dignified benevolence, invites them to read out their tributes and, to my surprise, the eight-year-old, ordinarily silenced by an audience, is first up to the microphone. I beam proudly as he regards his daddy and musters his courage. 'My Dad,' he begins, 'is very lazy and greedy. He has about five naps a day and he snores like a lion's roar. He is scared of his own sneezes which are like a hurricane and when you tickle him he screams like a monster.'
There is a short silence. The old ladies in the opposite pews are studying the Vicar with what I fear are new eyes. Briefly their vestmented Father is exposed as a mere daddy. Then he smiles beatifically and commences the blessing and I duck hastily into an attitude of extreme prayerfulness as our son slides onto the pew alongside me. 'You're always telling me to be speak up in church,' he whispers, 'so are you proud of me?'