"Funny you should say that" he said, "Because I am a clergyman".
Now driving a taxi is a great leveller and be they prince or pauper when in my taxi they are all treated as an equal to me and so I started out with a gentle mickey take. You will be looking forward to this cold spell that they are forecasting then. I asked with a straight face.
“Whys that then” he asked sounding puzzled. Well it will lead to a nice increase in funerals for you and a few more bob on the collection plate.
He realised that I was pulling his leg and laughed along with me when I said have you noticed in the local paper obituaries that they all die in alphabetical order. I am changing my name to Zebedee then he replied and then we got down to the real nitty gritty,
I mean you can’t have a priest in the confession seat without talking religion can you.
I told him my view that the Furness area had always attracted religious elements even though it was at one time even more remote than today and could only be reached by crossing the treacherous sands of Morecambe bay.We first must have had going by the stone circle on Birkrigg common druids or sun worshipers of some kind then of course, we have the Cistercians who founded the monastery at Furness Abbey in 1147, followed by the Quakers in the 1650s some say Furness was the birthplace of Quakerism.
Then we have strangely in the 1970s the arrival of Buddhists at Conishead priory now the Manjushri Centre with its newly built golden temple.
He was more than a little interested in the Buddhists and told me that they are not the usual Zen Buddhists but a Tibetan sect called Kadampa who have a different set of beliefs and philosophy which he had studied and didn’t agree with, he of course preferred Christianity.
After a very interesting conversation when we arrived at his church and he was getting out I asked (already knowing the answer) which is older then Christianity or Buddhism then? Buddhism is he said smiling as he passed the alms for this poor taxi driver.