Letters to the Church Magazine : May 2018 (and Nathan’s Packing)

Dear Sir

What a lovely service that was to say goodbye to Revd Nathan. I think I can say – and I don’t imagine that anyone in the Trim Valley will disagree with me – that he is the finest minister we have had in living memory.

Yours etc

Ranulf Bling, Station Road, Great Tremlett

Dear Sir

I can remember the vicars of Tremlett going back to the 19th Century. And none came close to Revd Nathan.
A giant of a man. We are the poorer for his departure to work in an own-brand Hula Hoops factory.

Yours etc

Mary Mandible, Crooked Lane, Gt Tremlett

Dear Sir

In keeping with tradition, now that the vicar is leaving I am going to take residence in the kitchen of the vicarage. This is to ensure that it does not suffer from burglars. And also to get a first glimpse of any candidates for the vacancy. Also it is useful as I can pretend to be the ghost if the diocese tries to rent the place out in the interim. I am happy to make this sacrifice in the interests of the benefice, with no thoughts of personal reward.

If you know anyone would like to rent my house in Cold Lane as a holiday home, please let me know. You can get me on the vicar’s number.

Yours etc

Sibelius Bunce, Cold Lane, Great Tremlett

Dear Sir

I read that the Evangelicals are trying to take over the Church of England. Can somebody please tell Angela Tilby that, in this village at least, it is “Mission Accomplished”. Come on in, the water’s full of adult baptisms!

Yours etc

Dr Sandra Ireland, “Dunphlebbin’”, Great Tremlett

Dear Sir

Once again I am happy to step in to take services during the “interregnum”. I know the trendy term for the gap between two vicars is “vacancy”. But let us be honest. If the clergy cannot rule their parishes like absolute monarch, this is not the Church of England I grew up in.

It will be a joy to be of assistance. As well as a considerable boost to my pension. And, for a few weeks, it will be delightful not to be looking over my shoulder on the way to Evensong in case I case I should be unexpectedly imprisoned in the Post Office, tied to a tree in the forest, or trapped in a giant bottle underwater. Doreen will be busy enough to leave me alone.

Yours etc

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

Dear Sir

Thank you for what I’m sure will have been a deeply uninspiring send off. I’m writing this letter in mid April to try to avoid having to pretend I’m sad after my final service.

It is traditional and right that a departing minister thoroughly separates him or herself from the benefice at the end of their time. In one sense this is very easy. I never regarded any of you as friends. But to be on the safe side, I’ve also taken out an injunction. If any of you attempt to contact me in any way, you will be in contempt of court. You’re all blocked and reported on Twitter and Facebook, of course.

I pray that my successor may have the patience of Job, the wisdom of Solomon and the hide of a hippopotamus.

My last act before leaving here will be to send the collection of 247 anonymous letters to Banburyshire Police. With any luck, future technology may be able to identify the DNA of the users of the crayons.

Yours etc

Revd Nathan, Tremlett Vicarage, Great Tremlett

Dear Sir

I am told to keep this a secret. But it turns out the Bishop is condsidering doing a bit of a merger of the Trim Valley with the Old Wold benefice.

Obviously I am deeply concerned about this. I am not the patron of any parishes in Old Wold. And I don’t see why I should be encouraging my younger son, Chumley, to pretend to be a Christian if I can’t ensure he is the vicar in a few years.

As I say, pretend you never heard this. But I’ll have a few words at the Lodge and see if we can’t get this sorted out.

Yours etc

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

Dear Sir

When May Eve came round in the Trim Valley, it used to be a great time. The hedges were heavy with hawthorn blossom, and the meadows were carpeted with cowslips. We’d all run off into the woods with whomever we could find and, a few months later, the banns would be read for those who’d been unlucky. Or, if it were the vicar who’d found a young lady for the evening, the PCC would quietly arrange an adoption.

Now, the young people sit at home on Social Media and there’s never a woman under thirty having children. And the whole inbreeding issue has stopped since that nurse gave a lecture in the Church Hall in 1974.

Ah, the old things pass away.

Yours etc

Rob Runes, Church Lane, Gt Tremlett

Dear Sir

I will truly miss Reverend Nathan. What a great, prophetic preacher he was. We will be fortunate indeed if his replacement comes even close.
Yours etc

Felicity Broadstairs, Tremlett Road, Woodby

Dear Sir

With the church entering this interregnum – a term that seems deeply ironic as Nathan never exactly reigned – this seems to be the time to put back everything to where it was before he arrived, and swear blind that’s how they always were.

So I’ve got the pews back out of the barn if Jeb can drive them up and fit them. Does anyone remember where the Songs of Living Waters are? We can get a few quid for the data projector I reckon. And those copes are definitely going on eBay.

Yours etc

Ciara Meringe, The Old Stables, Gt Tremlett

Dear Sir

Easter eggs at 70% off and it’s still not even Advent. Disgraceful!

Yesterday I had to eat six “Belgian Chocolate” ones and all the little chocolates inside. And I wish to remain in the European Union.

Au secours!

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

Dear Sir

Once again we had an expensive gift being given to a minister on his departure. And yet did I misinterpret his expression, or did Revd Nathan look disappointed at that family pack of Hula Hoops? I thought he liked them.

I am pleased to say that by putting the bicycle he originally asked for on eBay, we saved the churches the sum of £74.22.

Yours etc

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

Dear Sir

I note that we now get Canon Vyvyan to take services every week. The fee for which gets taken out of the Parish Share. And he has his own house which we don’t have to pay for.

Shall we just sell the vicarage and tell the diocese not to bother with a replacement? Should save a few bob.

Yours etc

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

Dear Sir

We were at the beach.
Everybody had matching towels.
Somebody went under a dock. And there they saw a rock.
It wasn’t a rock.

Yours etc

Samantha Giblings, Church Green, Woodby

Dear Sir

As we start to plan for the proper Parish Profiles we should consider what kind of minister we want. One with a deep voice, three children, and a wife who is the mother of those children would seem to be a minimum. But do we think a fourth child would be even better?

Yours etc

Martin Moraine, “Purity House”, Little Tremlett

Dear Sir

A poem for the departure of Revd Nathan

The Leaving Priest

Another name added to the list of priests
Written on the church wall
And as they shine there,
glinting in the light that creeps through the eastern rose
I read the litany of their names.

Eardwulf of Banbury is no more
Simon de Longueville died at three score
Robert de St Cast wasn’t much stronger
Gilbert of Lincoln didn’t last longer.
Mark of Brackley is under the nave altar
And so are John James, and Benjamin Walter.
Roderick Cholmondely, from our squires’ line bred
proved that blue blood is as mortal as red.
And old Fr Ed, and long ago Athelred
They’re all of them dead.

Dead dead dead dead.

Fr Vyvyan’s still alive
But doesn’t really thrive.

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

Trim Valley Notices w/c 29th April

This week we say goodbye to Revd Nathan, who has led us for the last seven years. We would like to give thanks to him and his wife and children, whoever they are. Please note that we have changed the passwords and taken proper control of this site.


Revd Nathan’s Farewell Service: 3 pm, the Cholmondeley Estate. Followed by a Faith Tea. We will be buying him a copy of the book of Writes of the Church so he can remember us all fondly.

Alternative Farewell Services are being held at each church in the benefice at 3pm. Please bring a bottle for the after-service celebrations.


May Eve: Join Mrs Flossett and her friends as they celebrate May Eve by dancing naked on the moors at midnight. Not necessarily what other Mothers’ Unions do but it’s the tradition in the Valley so what can you do?

Tuesday (May Day)

The annual St Mary’s School maypole dancing will take place on the playground at 11am. It’s going to be as awful as normal. But try not to mention that as it upsets the kids.


The Trim Valley chapter of the Hell’s Angels meets at 9pm. We apologise for the later time. However we needed to avoid the clash with the dominoes league.

During his time here, Revd Nathan has been responsible for the purchase of many challenging works of modern art. Join us in Grilsby Reading Room at 7pm as we see how much we can get for them on e-bay.


Selections for the Hanged Man’s Aunt Sally team will take place in the pub garden. Last year Mr Granville who lives next door lost every pane of glass in his greenhouse. So this year they’re setting a 10 pint maximum on players.

Restoration of the BCPs to Lt Tremlett will take place today, ready for Sunday’s Matins.


To advertise for our next vicar, we’re holding our Church Profile Writing Workshop, Little Tremlett Church Hall.  Let’s see if we can get a good one this time!


Trim Valley Croquet Club meet on the vicarage lawn. If they reckon it’s any good they’ll be moving the fence and swearing blind it’s always been theirs.

The Vicar’s Leaving Service

Dear Sir

I am sorry to hear that the vicar is leaving. And further saddened that his farewell service will be held on the Cholmondeley Estate and not, as has been the tradition since Fr Eardwulf left this parish in 973 AD, at St Mary’s.

I am therefore boycotting the service! The vicar needs to learn that he cannot trample roughshod over our traditions in this way.

I will be in St Mary’s at 3pm tomorrow, to light a candle in the vicar’s honour. And to pray that the next one will be more compliant.

Yours etc

Sinead Woolplucker, Drain Drive, Gt Tremlett

Trim Valley Notices week commencing 22/4 – And the Vicar’s Off Next Week

Sunday (4th in Easter) 

If anyone can help with the whereabouts of Canon Vyvyan, please inform the police or a passing Church Warden. He “mysteriously” vanished just before Evensong last Sunday, and he’ll be needed after next Sunday. Doreen, the reader, is denying all knowledge.


Today the Prayer Group will be praying for Saturday’s Diocesan Celebration of Lay Ministry. We need the prayer, really. Our record’s not great. Doreen has officially been labelled as a Gnostic by the diocese. The Pastoral Assistants have been suspended after the people they were visiting complained they were getting them down. And since we had a Benefice Pioneer Evangelist, 15 people have died and no new people at all have gone to four of our parishes. We can’t blame Ronni, the Evangelist, for the deaths. Although we suspect the Pastoral Assistants may be responsible for a couple.

Tuesday (advertorial)

If you’ve got a vicar arriving, or leaving, or a newby curate about to be curated, why not buy them the book of this blog? Ideally just after they’re committed to your church, so they can’t back out when they realise what it’s like. But at least they’ll have been warned. Available from the Bible Reading Fellowship, or Amazon. Apologies for banging on, but some of us have to eat.


Revd Nathan’s farewell to the Mothers’ Unions. It says here “please bring a tomato” but I’m sure that must be wrong.


Does anybody know a plumber? An English one? Then please contact Margie Mathieson, at her newly-renamed house, Brexit Towers. She refuses to use a plumber from Eastern Europe. Obviously, she would rather someone came round earlier. But at the rate the pipes are leaking we reckon the water should be up to the first floor by Thursday. And we feel like she deserves it.


Tremlett Park Naturists have their first meeting of the year. I wasn’t really sure why this was news for the church notice sheet, but then someone pointed out the very strong overlap between the membership of Naturists, and that of Grilsby Church. I can only say I’m grateful nobody has confused meetings of the two organisations.


Swamp Church, Woodby Lake. Find the glory of God in the midst of 18 inches of grubby water with oil and dead ducks floating past. I can’t tell you how pleased I’ll be when this week is over.


Revd Nathan’s farewell service.

Naturally every congregation has insisted they want their own farewell service, at their own time, in their own church. Well tough. I’m holding it in the big barn on the Cholmondeley Estate. 3pm. No other services. You can either turn up or not. I don’t care any more. I don’t have to make any of you happy. And there’s no point you boycotting because frankly my dears it won’t make any difference.


Trim Valley Notices : w/c 15 April 2018


We apologise to Canon Westcliffe for whatever accident befalls him this evening. And thank the Reader, Doreen, for coincidentally having just the right sermon etc etc. The sack is hidden in the porch at Gt Tremlett, Doreen.


The vicar returns from his post-Easter holiday.

Blessing of Bovines 10am: Viney’s Dairy, Gt Tremlett

Kid’s Praise – with Revd Nathan, Lt Tremlett 4pm

Annual Parish Meeting, Great Tremlett, 8pm


Revd Nathan’s Day Off

Hare Coursing – Wild Spinney, 7am. If anyone asks, you ain’t seen nothing.

Nursing Home Songs of Praise at St Jude’s the Obscure Nursing Home 2 pm. The vicar will be talking about “Emmaus” though nobody knows or cares who he is.

Mothers’ Union (Lt Tremlett) – Guest Speaker the Vicar. 4pm, Lt Tremlett Hall

Lt Tremlett Cubs 6pm with the vicar who will showing us how to light fires

Annual Parish Meeting, Little Tremlett, 8pm


The vicar will be attending the diocesan seminar, “Preparing for Just Giving up on the Church and leaving the Ministry, at St Slayer’s, Upper Lambslaughter.

Trim Valley Ferret Fanciers 2pm in the Ferretorium. With “Blessing of Ferrets” by the vicar

Funeral: Chelbert Diwock, 3pm at the Crematorium. Chelbert was a man of great quiet personal faith, and a noted raconteur. Is how the vicar will probably put it in his sermon. In fact, he never went to church, had illegitimate children all over the valley, and was a crashing bore all evening in the pub. The landlord at the Quiet Woman is expecting trade to double now he’s gone.

St Mary’s C of E School Governors Meeting, 5pm

Lt Tremlett Guides 6pm with the vicar who will show us a video of when he was a missionary in Ealing

Annual Parish Meeting, Woodby Chapel, 8pm


Beating the Bounds, 3pm, Woodby

Lt Tremlett Brownies – “Baking”. After the trouble when Major Tremlett showed us how to make his “special” oatmeal biscuits, the vicar will be teaching us to make rice crispie cakes

Annual Parish Meeting, Grilsby, 8pm


Grilsby Sheepdog Trials – judged by the vicar. Grilsby Green, noon. If wet, in the Reading Room

Lt Tremlett Scouts 6pm – The vicar will be introducing us to his jazz collection.

Annual Parish Meeting, Woodby, 8pm


Deanery Training Day: “Time Management in the Church”. Led by Revd Nathan, 9am – 8pm, Grilsby Parish Hall.

Spring Fayre at Woodby Chapel. To be opened by the vicar at 12 noon

” Saturday Fun” for the over 80s. To be opened in prayer by the vicar, 12 noon.

Woodby Chapel Tea 6pm – to be held this year at the vicarage. Thanks to Revd Nathan for looking after us, even when his wife won’t be around to bake the cakes as she’s staying on holiday until they move.


procession OHP

Writes of the Church: Gripes and grumbles of people in the pews” The book to make you laugh, think or possibly gnaw the back of the pew in front. Written by the creator of the Beaker Folk of Husborne Crawley. With cartoons by Dave Walker.

Jumble Sale Cancelled

Today’s Jumble Sale has been cancelled.

The sloth bear has escaped from the vestry again and we cannot be held responsible for anyone buying second-hand clothes. It gets very uspet about that.

Tomorrow’s service at Little Tremlett will not feature Sharing of the Peace. They’re too inclined to hugging there. And that’s bad news if a sloth bear is around.

The Bonfire of the Invoices

Dear Sir

I think that people are starting to realise there may be a down side, as well as an up side, to the departure of the vicar.

Obviously, it’s a bit like Brexit. We get all the benefits – a free bus each, £350 million pounds to spend as we wish and Boris Johnson on the NHS. But there are concerns – where can we go on our holidays once we have built a giant wall on the White Cliffs of Dover? And why won’t the Americans and Japanese build any new factories?

Take last night. I was wandering across Grilsby Heath at midnight, walking “Robson” and “Jerome”, my whippets. And ahead of me I saw a giant fire.

Naturally I thought it was Mildred out with her coven again. But it was not a normal Pagan feast day. I’m aware that Mildred is into Dark Metal, but even so it seemed unlikely she is a big fan of St Saba the Goth.

Coming closer I saw that it was in fact Norbert Dranesqueezer, the church treasurer.  He was dancing round a pile of burning invoices and chanting “£74.22” over and over again.

Maybe he had something to hide. Or maybe he was just tidying up. I always like to think the best.

Yours etc

Renswick Rastrey, The Green, Grilsby-on-the-Hill