Giving up for Lent

Dear Sir

This year for Lent I have given up eating hot cross buns.

It’s been misery, I can tell you. I’ve had to eat a lot of Easter eggs to keep me going.

Yours etc

Mary Mandible, Crooked Lane, Gt Tremlett

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Letters to the Church Magazine : January

Dear Sir

It has been a bitter harvest as we have listened to Canon Vyvyan’s sermon illustration for the thousandth time, or Doreen the Reader’s latest reflection on the thoughts of Pelagius. And we have prayed with heart and soul for a new vicar to deliver us.

After many months of desperation it is good news to hear, at this time of renewal, that the new man has been appointed. Just a shame he didn’t make it before Chrismas. If I have to hear Fr Vyvyan’s joke about the camel in his Nativity Service sermon once more, I shall grind a tooth. And it will not be one of mine.

So we look forward to welcoming Fr Rebecca to the benefice in the new year. I am sure he will fit in well.

Yours etc

Ranulf Bling, Station Road, Great Tremlett


Dear Sir

We all love a traditional Christmas. But is there any chance we could get Herod out of the story next year? He really brought the nativity down.

Yours etc

Mary Mandible, Crooked Lane, Gt Tremlett


Dear Sir

In the vacancy, I have been ensuring that the vicarage has been kept warm and well-maintained. So to this end I’ve had a crack team of Lithuanian plumbers and builders living in there, subsidising their rent by doing the place up a bit.

The new bathroom is excellent, and the repointing was beautifully done. So two requests: Does anyone have the space for the “lads” to move out to? They’re happy to share rooms and really useful if you need a loft extension. And when they build the wall between the vicarage and the new guest block they built in the grounds,can we all pretend it’s been there for years? It’s doing a thriving business on Air BnB and we need the money for the Parish Share. We ain’t all St Helen’s Bishopsgate. Even if Dr Ireland wishes we were.

Yours etc

Sibelius Bunce, Cold Lane, Great Tremlett


Dear Sir

I note that when Revd Rebecca moves into the vicarage, she will be bringing her friend Rachel with her. I presume to keep her company and help her settle in. I hope we can ensure we make Revd Rebecca so welcome that Rachel will not be needed for long. A pretty young woman like her doesn’t need additional company when I’m sure there is a suitable eligible young man in the village. Or there would be if they hadn’t all moved to Bletchley to find more affordable housing.

Yours etc

Dr Sandra Ireland, “Dunphlebbin’”, Great Tremlett


Dear Sir

What a delight to look forward to welcoming Revd Rebecca to our little enclave of sanity in the modern world. I shall have to shorten my sermon series, “Brexit or Bust”, to ensure it is complete before Easter. So my sermons, “Do let’s be beastly to the Germans” and “the Macabbean Rebellion: lessons in the long-term benefits of breaking free from a regional superpower” will be condensed into one super-sermon, “We may be eating our own trousers within six months but at least we’ll be able to re-nationalise the coal mines when we want to”.
During what I assume will be a short stay with us, I am sure that Revd Rebecca will be only too happy to let me assist with taking funerals and baptisms. So if you want a service conducting properly, you will still know where to come.

Yours etc

Canon Vyvyan Westcliffe (Retd) (But still available for occasional offices), The Old Vicarage, Woodby


Dear Sir

Noting that my replacement has been announced I have taken the liberty of letting her know all about you. But she’s still going. I suppose that sort of determination is what strengthened the martyrs.

Happy New Year. Glad you’re not here. The Hula Hoops are still lovely.

Yours etc

Revd Nathan, formerly of Tremlett Vicarage, Great Tremlett


Dear Sir

People are asking why I, as a traditionalist patron, have appointed a young (for the church) woman as the next vicar. Am I going soft, they ask? Have I decided to “move with the times”?

No. It’s just the new Bishop of Banburyshire has uncovered the details of my – ahem – alternative family in Swanage. And I don’t want the news getting out of the valley.

Yours etc

Sir Richmond Cholmondley-Cholmonley (Bart), Cholmondeley Manor, Woodby Chapel End.


Dear Sir

The “Hanged Man” Christmas Carols evening was an amazing thing. We raised more than two thousand pounds for our local charity, the Trim Valley Donkey Sanctuary. And many people who have never been into any of our churches joined in singing the ancient carols.

But where did Dolores get the words from? “Good Christians, All, Rejoice”?

Spoiled the hymn for me. And the evening. And the whole of Christmas. And, I regret to say, probably every Christmas for the rest of my life.

Yours etc

Rob Runes, Church Lane, Gt Tremlett


Dear Sir

It was this Christmas that really made me realise how much I have been missing Reverend Nathan. A great man. A truly meaningful preacher. And, I have to admit, the father of the child I will be bearing this month.

Yours etc

Felicity Broadstairs, Tremlett Road, Woodby


Dear Sir

I see that the painting of the Last Supper which my dear husband loved so much has disappeared from the vestry.

When he passed out over Christmas, I gave it to the church. But now he’s sobered up, please can he have it back?

Yours etc

Ciara Meringe, The Old Stables, Gt Tremlett


Dear Sir

Cadbuey’s Creme Eggs at 70% off and it’s probably still Advent or something. Disgraceful!

I am still on the pallet of advent calendar liqueurs I purchasdd from Mrs Patel on 2 December. If any one wants me, I am in the crypt pretending to be the Ghost of Christmas Last Week.

Bon Joué!

Major J Dumpling, “Rodney’s Rest”, Lt Tremlett


Dear Sir

Thanks to Sheridan for organising the Grown Up Nativity. Though I’m sure I deserved a better role than the back half of the donkey. Whatever the rest of the PCC said when I complained.

Yours etc

Norbert Dranesqueezer, Chester St, Grilsby-on-the-Hill


Dear Sir

Know what I hate about the Nativity service? Camels!

They give me the hump.

Yours etc

Tom Cobley-Anhall, “Tweezers”, Grilsby-on-the-Hill


Dear Sir

They said there’d be snow at Christmas. They said there’d be peace on earth.

Instead we got Brexit and Trump.

Yours etc

Samantha Giblings, Church Green, Woodby


Dear Sir

Given that we have a new, young, female, unmarried vicar, I can see I will need to keep a close eye on the goings on in the vicarage.

Yours etc

Martin Moraine, “Purity House”, Little Tremlett


Dear Sir

A poem for the departure of the year…

The Death of the Year

I gaze, on its death, at the year.
Which brought mostly sadness and fear.
And I wonder, as the new year draws its first breath
what shall it bring us?
Probably death.

Death death death
Death death death

A Happy New Year to you all. May you all be blessed

Melissa Sparrow (Mrs), The Hollow, Grilsby-on-the-Hill

Letters to the Church Magazine: October 2018

Dear Sir

It is such a shame that the bulb has blown in the overhead projector. That projector has displayed the lyrics of songs on the wall for nearly thirty years. Indeed, it’s still mostly showing the same acetates.

However, noting that it’s so old, spares are unavailable, we must realise that it is a fad that has had its day.

My mother, Jennie, left some money in her will for me to allocate to the church “for whatever seems fit.” I have therefore purchased a laptop computer, data projector and new projector screen: all inscribed in her memory. I hope this will be a suitable replacement.

Yours etc

Christine Gringle, Dag Lane

Dear Sir

It is such a shame that the bulb has blown in the overhead projector. That projector has displayed the lyrics of songs on the wall for nearly thirty years. Indeed, it’s still mostly showing the same acetates.

However, noting that it’s so old that spares are unavailable, we must realise that we need a replacement.

Conveniently, I was considered particularly trendy in church circles in my day (which I believe was 4 March, 1972). So I am glad to present to the parish the projector we used for the Woodby Chapel production of “Hair” in that year. I hope this will be a suitable replacement. In fact, I will be mortified if it is not. That particularly embarrassing case of frostbite will have been in vain.

Yours etc

Jim Beem, Stable Lane

Dear Sir

It is such a shame that the bulb has blown in the overhead projector. That projector has displayed the lyrics of songs on the wall for nearly thirty years. Indeed, it’s still showing the same acetates.

However, noting that it’s so old that spares are unavailable, we must realise that it is a fad that has had its day.

My uncle, Cyril Dibble, left some money in his will for me to allocate to the church “for whatever seems fit.” I have therefore purchased 100 copies of the Redemption Hymnal, each individually dedicated to my uncle’s memory. I hope this will be a suitable replacement.

Yours etc

Dr Ireland, Dunphlebbin’

Dear Sir

It is such a shame that the bulb has blown in the overhead projector. That projector has displayed the lyrics of songs on the wall for nearly thirty years. Indeed, it’s still showing the same acetates.

However, noting that it’s so old that spares are unavailable, we must realise that it is a fad that has had its day.

The good news is that I have kept in my garage a job lot of the “Spring Harvest Songbook 1997”, which I had prophesied I needed for the massive revival I believed I would see in my house group as the Millennium loomed. I now realise that I had misunderstood my prophecy, and that the bringer of doom and devastation I foresaw was actually Brexit.

I have therefore inscribed each book with my best wishes to the parish, in what will be a troubling time. I hope this will be a suitable replacement.

Yours etc

Chas “Charlie” Charkles, Hangman’s Close

Dear Sir

Good news! After the discovery that the bulb had blown in the overhead projector, we thought we would need to find some replacement.

But perusing the minutes of the “OHP Purchase Sub-Committee (June 1989)”, we discovered that, in their wisdom, they had bought 400 replacement bulbs “just in case”.

Looks like we we’re good for another 12,000 years!

Does anyone have any spare acetates? We’re still just singing the original five songs. And we’re bored of “Think of a World Without any Flowers”.

Yours etc

Harvey Garvey, “Dreamboat”, Tremlett Marina

Dear Sir

I find that we need a new rota, for “which medium we shall use in Gt Tremlett for the songs each Sunday”. If anyone is foolish enough to volunteer to tread this tightrope over that valley of tears, please let me know.

Yours etc

Morgan the Warden, Rosebud Cottage

Boycotting Rota : Michaelmas to Candlemas

I would like, as magazine editor and notice sheet compiler, to apologise for the total lack of activity the last few months. I have been too busy tracking down where Revd Nathan, the former vicar, now lives so I can continue with the poison pen letters.

However I am now glad to share with you the official “reasons for boycotting” rota for the five churches for the next few months. We live in hope that a new Priest in Charge will be appointed, so we can have some new reasons.

Week Gt Tremlett Lt Tremlett Grilsby Woodby Woodby Chapel
1 Reserved for Baptisms Family Service Run by congregation All Age Service Joint service with the URC
2 “Songs of Praise” Service Harold on the Organ Baptisms Doreen leading the service Methodist guest preacher
3 Modern music Ancient music Shorter service Yeah, Baptisms Communion
4 Starts too late Starts too early BCP Modern English Just in case there’s ever a baptism
5 “All churches together” “All churches together” “All churches together” “All churches together” “All churches together”

These are for “normal” Sundays of course. We will publish the official reasons for boycotting Christmas special services next month. “Too Incarnational” has already been suggested.

Letters to the Church Magazine : July

Dear Sir

The diocese has been very supportive of our search for a new vicar, and have committed to ensuring one is installed as soon as possible.

But I still reckon we could let the vicarage out as a holiday home for the summer. We could make enough to take 10p off a pint.

Yours etc

Colin Daley, The Hanged Man Inn, The Green, Little Tremlett


Dear Sir

Apparently in my preaching on Sundays in my official role as Reader I have to stick to the truths revealed in the Scriptures, the creeds and the historic formularies of the Church of England, whatever they are.

No such restriction applies to my unofficial activities. Which is why I will be leading a series of discussions across the summer on “Why God Does Not Exist”. 8pm each Wednesday in the Church Hall, followed by a short talk on “Crystal Healing for Career Success”.

Yours etc

Doreen (the Reader), Woodwind Lane, Gt Tremlett


Dear Sir

I’m afraid the solemnity of the Midsummer Night coven meeting was wrecked by all the sneezing.

We are children of nature, at one with the divine forces coursing through all life.

But apparently that does not make us immune to hay fever.

Yours etc

Mildred Flossett (Mothers’ Union Branch Secretary), Jasmine Road, Gt Tremlett


Dear Sir

What a great idea of Doreen’s to hold a Morning Prayer outside. Made it impossible to hear Jeffrey’s awful organ playing.

Yours etc,

Fennel Bailey, The Old Orchard House.


Dear Sir

I am the assassin, with tongue forged from eloquence
I am the assassin, providing your nemesis
On the sacrificial altar to success, my friend
Unleash a stranger from a kiss, my friend
No incantations of remorse, my friend
Unsheathe the blade within the voice, my friend. MY FRIEND.

Yours etc

Samantha Giblings, Church Green, Woodby


Dear Sir

I appear to have caused some upset at the Summer Fayre.

It all started at Easter, when the Village Store marked down all their Bailey’s Easter Eggs to 50% off. Needless to say I bought them all.

Noticing that the best before date was coming up, I thought it was best to take no chances. So I ate them all that Saturday morning.

I realise I must have caused some upset to Gervais, the Youth Club leader. He was very kindly in the stocks for the “Throw the Wet Sponges” attraction. He wasn’t expecting someone to start throwing the stock of the Second Hand Bookshop at him. That copy of “The God Delusion” could, in retrospect, have caused him some serious brain damage. If he had read it. Luckily it just broke his nose.

In my defence, I did buy all the books before throwing them. So good news for the Steeple Fund!

Yours etc

Major James Dumpling (retd), “Rodney’s Rest”, Little Tremlett


Dear Sir

Every week at Communion we enter what we church treasurers call the “corridor of uncertainty” where we are unsure of precisely what the expected costs of the service might be. There are  so many uncertainties in the counting of the number of wafers. Who is a communicant? Who is feeling uncertain about his or her relationship with a spouse, and may decide to spend the time contemplating their situation before returning to Communion next week? Will Canon Vyvyan decide to implement his notorious “5 questions” before allowing anyone to receive – some of which even Pope John Paul II would have failed?

I have therefore introduced the “Dranesqueezer Patent Communicant Calculator”. A phone app that, by connecting to the phones of all the congregation, can work out the correct amount of bread to be consecrated without any of that awkwardness and uncertainty of asking whether people will be receiving communion the previous week.

I have estimated that, by the use of my device, we can save up to £4.22 per year!

However there are development costs in the production of the App, licensing from Apple for the iPhone version, server expenses and so forth.
I therefore include an invoice to the total of £7,422.

Yours etc

Norbert Dranesqueezer, Chester St, Grilsby-on-the-Hill


Dear Sir

A Poem: The Blackbird

A little friend upon the wall
He greeted me with  merry call.

In the early morning light
He woke me with his song so bright

Even in the snow and rain
He sang a beautiful refrain

He sang a lullaby so sweet
When I gave him a bite to eat.

But all the breadcrumbs made him flabby
So he couldn’t get away from the tabby.

He’s not singing any more.
He’s not singing any more.

Mellissa Sparrow (Mrs), The Hollow, Grilsby-on-the-Hill

Trim Valley Notices w/c 1 July

Sunday

We apologise for the lateness of the Church Magazine. The Editor sat out in the sun too long and now needs to be peeled off his lounger.

Monday

Mothers’ Union Book Club : Grilsby Reading Room, 7.30pm. This month’s book is the Marquis de Sade’s 120 Days of Sodom. Discretion required.

Tuesday

Trim Valley Inter-faith Group meets, 7.30 at Woodby. This week we’re going to hear from Ragnor about his progressive group, Affirming Wodenism. Please bring a spotless hare or rabbit and a knife.

Wednesday

The Trim Valley Jolly Boys’ outing to Southend was founded in 1954. Renamed Trim Valley Men’s outing in 1974, and Trim Valley Old Bloke’s outing in 2002. It has now had to be renamed Scattering of Ashes. 3pm at the end of the pier. Coach and hearse leave the Quiet Woman at 10am. Fair to say this will be the last year.

Thursday

Trim Valley Toddlers have run short on toys. Do you have any foul old toys still getting mouldy in the garage from when your kids were young? Then you’ll probably think you’re doing us a favour.

Friday

The vicarage garden could do with a “tidy up”. So why not come down to help out? Please note that the cherries, raspberries and currants are already spoken for. But there’s still strawberries and gooseberries to nick.

Saturday

Trim Valley Rhubarb Festival : With Blessing of the Rhubarb. Festival at 4pm, Lt Tremlett Churchyard. “Biggest Stick of Rhubarb” competition 5pm. Doubles Entendres in the Hanged Man from 8pm.

Trim Valley Notices: w/c 24 June

Sunday

We are celebrating St John the Baptist’s Day today. As otherwise it’s a long old run of boring Sundays till Advent. In the past, Revd Nathan used to transfer saints’ days if they fell on Sundays. But then he used to do the Daily Office every day. So he didn’t miss out while we were at work. Heck, some of us would transfer the Nativity to the nearest Sunday so it didn’t clash with Christmas.

Monday

Nothing is happening today.

Tuesday

Today is the last day to fill in your GDPR form. We have a register of all the people who haven’t consent to us to spam them with parish activities. And we’ll send Big Derek round on Wednesday to sort things out. So tick the bloody box, is our advice.

Wednesday

Our prayer intention for today is that our next minister has never been in a photograph dabbing. Or, indeed, trying to catch any other kind of fish.

Thursday

As the World Cup Fever heats up, we’re getting down with the kids at the Trim Valley Subbuteo World Cup. If you’ve any spare players please let us know. Currently we have a team cobbled together from 1979 Wolverhampton Wanderers and Luton teams, and 9 players in a vague red colour. 7pm, Gt Tremlett Church Hall.

Friday

The Mothers’ Union performance of “Oh! Calcutta!” takes place in the Grilsby Reading Room at 8pm. You have been warned.

Saturday

Trim Valley Angry Drivers’ Club meet at the roundabout in Lt Tremlett, 3pm. For a three-hour drive complaining about cyclists. The annual meal at the “Quiet Woman” will be Gammon and Chips (on the shoulder).