For seven years Patrick....! has lovingly terrorised our luncheon club. We know he is harmless; he knows he is harmless - but not many others do. His tendency to shout and swear, to go off on one at the slightest, to throw his dinner at times is causing casualties. People are voting with their feet.
I had to sit with him and talk. I had to sit and explain how people were scared of him. How people were intimidated. How people had stopped coming. How when people see him being abusive in the market they stay away.
"Sir, that is a load of madam..." he says in his defence. "I know it's a load of madam..." I reply "but no one else does and they are leaving our luncheon club because of your abusive behaviour... So for them it is not a load of madam!"
This is breaking my heart. No one wants this guy but equally he is squeezing the life out of our community efforts. We can't cope by ourselves anymore. We've learned that the only way we cope is at the expense of others. I'm not sure that is fair?
"Well I wont come then...". We look at each other "Pat... that would be a shame - but perhaps if you came for breakfast every day but gave the luncheon club a miss for a couple of days a week we can see if it'll pick up..."
This really is breaking my heart...I can't look at him. "Hmmm...ok! ... but only if you do some country and western..." He smiles and I give this guy a hug.
"Ok country and western...I promise...Dolly Parton?" He does that chortle that only Patrick can do.
I don't know - I still feel miserable about it! I walk home and see our new poster proudly saying "A church for everyone..." I feel worse.... what a load of madam!