June 2014

Dear Sir

Can I write to thank everybody for their kindness after my incident on Ascension Day.

I can only blame the early morning, which together with the excitement of the holy day (and possibly the wine that Mrs Chadwick and I enjoyed while “seeing in” the feast) made me euphoric and light headed. Certainly, I would not normally, while stood on the roof of a 15th Century Church decide now was the right time to sing, for the first time in public, the Randy Crawford hit “One Day I’ll Fly Away”.

I would especially like to thank both church wardens, who sat on my chest to ensure I came to no harm. I shall be avoiding wine, high roofs, and early-morning festivals in future.

Yours etc

Mr CKP Chadwick, “Lychgates”, Woodby

Dear Sir

I normally enjoy the Sunday service at Little Tremlett. Quiet, meditative, traditional – what the Church of England is all about.

However last Sunday, as my cousin Dorothy was receiving her licence to assist at Communion, I visited Great Tremlett instead. What a surprise!

At Great Tremlett, there are a number of little people with high voices. They seem to enjoy things, are treated as normal human beings despite their diminutive nature, but have more brightly-coloured books and are encouraged to draw or do crafts if they get bored. A novel approach, as my own attitude has always been to re-read the Ten Commandments above the altar when boredom strikes.

Apparently these small people are called “children”. They do seem to make things quite jolly, albeit they are very noisy. Do you think we should consider introducing some at the Prayer Book Communion at “Little”?

Yours etc

 Carolyn Candlestand, “Mill Cottage”, Lt Tremlett

Dear Sir

Since the PCC and vicar continue to ignore my protestations regarding the waste of candles that are replaced to early, I have collected up the immense number of boxes of candle stubs in the vestry. A tendency among church people never to throw things out, on this occasion happened to chime happily with thrift and utility.

After many experiments with the tens of kilograms of wax I found in the boxes, I set myself the task of creating a beautiful, life-size effigy of Princess Diana of Wales in candle form. I have now completed the casting, and after several days – for it is a truly huge candle – it has set.

I will be honest, and confess that it does not actually look much like Princess Diana. In fact, my wife, coming across the candle in the drawing room, ran screaming out of the village, convinced it was Bela Lugosi returned from the grave. However, I feel that, as in all Church activities, it is the sentiment and not the quality that counts, and so I am happy to donate it for use at an appropriate occasion – Candlemas, perhaps.

In the course of these calculations, I have run up some expense in the purchase of chandling requisites. So I will be grateful if the treasurer could forward me a cheque, to cover my costs. I enclose an invoice for wicks and heating of £74.22.

Yours etc

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


Dear Sir

I am writing to complain about the state of the Churchyard at Minchin Magna.

As a result of the failed attempt to establish a wildflower garden, the grass has been allowed to grow until it is terribly untidy on the north side. This has resulted in an inevitable build up of discarded cans and old copies of “Private Eye”..And on the south and west sides, it appears that the vicar has once again allowed Mr Chaloner’s sheep to do the lawn mowing. It can be most unpleasant, kneeling to look at the inscription on an old grave to put one’s knee in a sheep dropping.

Many of the older gravestones, being carved from local, rather soft sandstone, are completely illegible. Surely it would be possible to recarve them – while still retaining the aged beauty of their weathered forms?

Additionally, the graveyard is a good nine or ten feet above the surrounding fields. I was stood on the drystone churchyard wall, trying to take a photograph of the spire (which needs a bit of repointing, incidentally), took a step back too far to get it all in, and fell off into a field of oil seed rape. Very painful, and brought my hay fever on something terrible. Please can you put up railings along the churchyard wall to stop fools climbing onto it and falling off? Or at the very least, a sign saying “danger of falling off the churchyard” – maybe every three or four feet along the perimeter?  And does the Church of England – which appears capable of affording not one but two Archbishops – think it could scrape together the funds to buy Norton’s Farm, and convert it to wildflowers? Then maybe the verger would think about mowing the proper graveyard.

In closing, I realise this is strictly none of the business of the Trim Valley benefice. Indeed, we are in a different county. But I’m getting no luck with the PCC at St Timothy’s, and I’m hoping you might be able to help.

Yours etc

Mrs Desiree Chaloner, Chaloner’s Farm, Minchin Magna, Warks.

Dear Sir

The old advice was “ne’er cast a clout till May is out. I have no idea what this means, but the vicar did not mention it in any of his sermons. How does he imagine the Church will be equipped to deal with the world of today?

Yours etc

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


Dear Sir

I am writing to protest that the PCC rejected my very reasonable proposals for the reordering of Woodby Church. Apparently they objected to my suggestion that they should “smash the idols, destroy the ungodly images in the stained glass and burn the vestments on the chopped-up remains of the Popish Rood Screen.”

I do not understand the ire this has caused, nor why I was banned from church when I turned up with a hatchet and some petrol on Friday. Surely the workman is worthy of his hire – not of receiving a Citizen’s Arrest from the wardens and being sat on until PC Jameson arrives from Great Tremlett police house.

Aware of the objections to my constructive initial engagement, I have submitted some revisions to the PCC. I think that most will agree that whitewashing the walls to hide the dreadful 15th Century “Last Judgement”, taking out the reredos and replacing it with chipboard, and replacing the High, Side and Nave “Altars” with a plane deal table will be acceptable to all, and to English Heritage.

I also promise never again to write a letter to English Heritage calling them “Idolatrous pagan heretics who should be driven into the sea”. Although they should.

Yours etc

Luther Wesley Cheese, “Beulah”, Woodby Grange


Dear Sir

I would like to thank the parishioners of the Trim Valley for their kind words regarding the services I took over the post-Easter period. It is always great to “lend a hand” while the vicar is away for a couple of weeks. I should point out that this idea that incumbents get holidays is a modern innovation, and I had no truck with it when I was vicar of the Tremletts, before my retirement and the subsequent merger of the parishes with the Woodbys and Grilsby-on-the-Hill.

I did miss out on Evensong at Grilsby on the last Sunday of Revd Nathan’s holiday. I ended up mysteriously locked into my own boot cupboard while reaching for my Evensong Shoes.  However, I would like to thank the Reader, Doreen, for preaching a sermon in my absence. How fortunate that she happened to have a sermon that fitted with the lectionary on her, when it was announced that I had not arrived! And how fortunate she was at Grilsby, when she normally worships at Little Tremlett!

And how odd that the last thing I saw, as I tumbled into the boot cupboard, was what appeared to be the edge of a blue scarf. The police have no idea what happened, so we will have to mark it down as one of life’s mysteries.

Yours etc

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


Dear Sir

There are wild rumours at “The Hanged Man” that the vicar is thinking of introducing on Overhead Projector. I realise that, for we old-fashioned types, this will be of the variety that uses acetate sheets, rather than one of the modern ones which, I believe, use some kind of slide-projector technology. But still. Why could we possibly want to use a projector when we have hymn books? I have heard rumours that Overhead Projectors (abbreviated to “OHP”, which is clearly wrong) emit radiation that can cause airplane navigational systems to go haywire. They are also inclined to catch fire.

I remember, in my radical days, going to a church that had both an overhead projector and a screen. They told me that it was no use getting one without the other. Mark my words, this is a slippy slope we are on at Little Tremlett.
Yours etc

Torrance Terrence, Barley Hill, Lt Tremlett



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