I sit in the waiting room at the health centre while Ailz goes through diabetic clinic. First I read the publicity pamphlet for the Alpha course, which aims to turn turn run-of-the-mill people into happy, shiny Christians. It carries endorsements from Cliff Richard and Old Beardie the archbishop of Canterbury and some smooth chopped catholic and- oh my God- Hercule Poirot. Yes, folks, Hercule Poirot- I mean actor David Suchet- has had his life turned round by Alpha and has celebrated by shaving off the moustache.
I scan the pictures of happy shiny faces (so many, I had not thought death had undone so many) in search of black ones. On the second run-through I find my first example- miniscule- and then another- so tiny you almost need a magnifying glass.
Then I read Emmel- the glossy "magazine of Muslim lifestyle". After the white-bread wilderness of Alpha it is nice and warming to look at pictures of people with a bit of colour in their cheeks. Emmel is liberal. It has pieces about criticising Islam and how good it would be to have female Imams. I'm thinking of taking out a subscription.