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.

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

Trim Valley: Benefice Profile

(Note from Revd Nathan: I’m on holiday but I thought it might help if I got this written up and posted before I left. I don’t want to interfere but you know – if I can help…)



The Trim Valley Benefice in the Diocese of Banburyshire

Benefice Profile 2018


St Mary’s Great Tremlett

Banburyshire Diocese

Trim Deanery

Profile for the Trim Valley Benefice

Thank you for requesting information about the Trim Valley Benefice.  If you need any more information please contact the Benefice Office. It’s not staffed but if someone is around they may read your letter instead of using it to light the fire. But I wouldn’t count on it. You could email us at But I’m not sure that’s a great idea as last time I looked the Wardens at Gt Tremlett were using it to harvest email addresses.


The Benefice came together, or at least as well as it could, given the endless ongoing blood feuds, in 2013 to create a Mission Action Plan. There seems little point in listing the targets, as they all failed. But the point is that we tried.

Our priorities for the forthcoming year are:

  • To continue to hold 5th Sunday “All Together” services that will be attended only by the people whose building it is being held in.
  • To find a new vicar.
  • To reach out to the people in the villages to show God’s love to them. Whereas we’ve spent the last 5 years mostly trying to drive the vicar to distraction.

We look forward to a new Spirit-filled, inspired, energetic minister. Who we will turn into a dried-out husk within about eighteen months.


Located between the foothills of the Cotswolds, the Northamptonshire uplands, and the start of the Mercian Plain in Warwickshire, this is God’s number one country for sheep worrying. Even those locals that don’t have dogs will chase livestock around the fields for a laugh on summer evenings.

Equally spaced between the M40, M1 and M5, frankly the communications are lousy. This may explain why the gene pool does not appear to have changed since the Middle Ages. We’re talking a place that still talks about the Civil War, and where people still remember the names of those relatives who died in the Black Death.


benefice map

God’s Number One Country for Sheep-Worrying

Great Tremlett

With a population of 106, rarely has a village been so badly named as “Great” Tremlett.  The Vicarage is the only facility in the village apart from the school. The Village Green is covered in dog droppings. Don’t go out after dark if you can help it.

The village has 5 working farms. Though when I say “working”, basically don’t go traipsing along the public footpaths. The farmers spend a lot of time taking potshots at passers-by. You know how hikers normally wear brightly-coloured coats? Well, stick to camouflage.

The Parish Council spends all its time arguing about the one and only flower bed. Latest news is, it looks like begonias this year.

Little Tremlett

With a population of 2,500, Little Tremlett is far bigger than its “Great” namesake. This is a running joke in the valley. Frankly you can’t go half an hour without someone telling you this “interesting” fact.

The Village Hall is not to be confused with the Church Hall, which is next door to it. Another bloody joke. But at least you only get that one every day or two.

The village pub, the “Hanged Man”, is famous for its food. Which is inedible. But don’t complain. The chef is homicidal. Three times he’s skewered people out on the cricket pitch overnight.

Little Tremlett has a sub-Post Office and general stores, Tea Room (popular with hikers if they can avoid the farmers in Great Tremlett), and a shop selling small pieces of artwork crafted out of wine corks. Nobody knows how the last named keeps going. We think the owner may be blackmailing the local MP.

Grilsby on the Hill

Grilsby is, despite its name, actually located in a valley. Yeah, the third and last joke in the valley. Ha bloody ha. The long winter nights just fly by.

The “Quiet Woman” pub is a thriving social centre, providing the location for the local hunt, knitting circle and the Voodoo Club. The village pond is used for duckings on the 3rd Saturday in May.

The Reading Room doubles as a place for “Life Art” classes 5 days a week. As I say, there’s not much going on. They have to make their own entertainment.


Woodby is, as the name suggests, in a wood. In ancient times a centre of forestry trades, today it’s entirely inhabited by stockbrokers who drive their 4x4s down to Banbury Station to get the train to London. As a result it’s a burglar’s paradise. Utterly deserted during the day. On the bright side, it means they leave the lead on the church roof.

In the absence of a pub, cricket team or other local facilities, the main social activity is swinging.

Woodby Chapel End

The bit of Woodby up one end. With a chapel.


St Mary’s Church of England School in Great Tremlett provides education for all children to the age of 11. At which most of their parents pretend to live elsewhere to get them into the right secondary school. The school was rated as “Torpid” in the latest Ofsted reports. The school uses Great Tremlett Church for its assemblies. Although after that incident when they found the Major taking a shower under the leaky roof, a certain amount of encouragement is required.


Fundamentally, every church demands that they are the most important, and that they get the same services, at the same traditional times and dates, as they always did. This is most likely to cause a clerical state of nervous exhaustion at Harvest, which is generally regarded as the most important service – better attended than Easter or Christmas. Every parish wants Harvest on the same Sunday in September, and the vicar has to lead all of them.

The vicar will be supported by a retired minister, who used to be Rector of three of the parishes and lives in the benefice. You can imagine what a help he is. There is a Reader who, it has been proven at diocesan level, is a card-carrying Gnostic. But then she’s not much worse than many of the local clergy, so you know.

Occasional Offices happen occasionally. Funerals more than baptisms, and weddings surprisingly often before the baptisms. The high local shotgun ownership rate makes sure of that.

An incoming priest will no doubt want to rationalise the pattern of worship in the five parishes, which is best described as “crushing and relentless”. They won’t be allowed to.

St Mary, Great Tremlett

A small congregation (nobody is over 5’4″). Our worship could best be described as “Modern”, in the sense that the Modern era started round about the 16th Century.

There is a fine set of bells. Unfortunately the tower fell down around the time of the Great War and we’re still fund raising to repair it. So the bell Ringers just spend their weekly meetings in the Hanged Man. Like most other bell ringers, in other words.

St Jude, Little Tremlett

A congregation in the Liberal Catholic tradition, whatever that means. The congregation don’t know why they do what they do. The priest will be expected to wear the smelly, moth-eaten vestments that somebody’s auntie donated in 1932. Or the entire congregation will walk out.

There is a thriving Mothers’ Union. Albeit the overlap with the local Pagan group is probably greater than the vicar might like.


A nest of needy vipers

St Audrey, Grilsby on the Hill

The organ hasn’t worked since 1942. If you’re lucky you’ll get somebody playing a banjo. If unlucky, the entire congregation will bring their kazoos.

They use a form of worship based on their own modified edition of the Book of Common Prayer, which was suppressed for heresy in the 16th Century. The priest was burnt, but that didn’t put the congregation off. In fact, they get quite wistful about those days.

St Leodegarius, Woodby

Still using the ASB and “Songs of Living Water”, the worship at Woodby is like being trapped in an endless 1983. They were quite fond of Michael Foot, and their memories of Mrs Thatcher are one of the reasons why they never really take to women’s ministry.

Woodby Chapel

Some aristocratic families are well-known Catholics. The Cholmondeley family of Woodby, on the other hand, are Methodists. That was why they set up the chapel at the end of the 19th Century. As numbers declined, they became part of an “Ecumenical Parish”. The last Methodist other than the Cholmondeleys themself has now died, but they still use the Methodist Hymn Book (1933).

The local clergy are running a book on when the last member of the congregation will die. But oddly, no matter how many pass on, they’re always replaced by vaguely similar-looking worshippers who, if questioned, will claim they’ve been regulars since their baptisms.


Each church insists on having its own PCC. Woodby also has its own ecumenical council, which nobody ever attends.

Joint meetings of the PCCs used to be held every six months. But we had to stop because of all the injuries.


Currently under review. The previous roll at Grilsby church was in any case fairly suspicious as Imelda, a sensitive and soft-hearted soul, hadn’t taken anybody off since the 60s. We had terrible trouble that time the intercessor confused the Electoral Roll with the prayers for the dead. But easily done.


There is a Bible Study group weekly. Albeit it’s used to spread sedition about the clergy.


Least said, soonest mended.


The Church Magazine comes out monthly or whenever the editor remembers. The weekly benefice notice sheet is invariably in the wrong font.

The monthly letters to the Church Magazine have been collated and published by The Bible Reading Fellowship or are available at a random price via Amazon.  You will understand, reading the book, why the benefice is soon to be vacant.

Trim Valley Notices – w/c 8 April

Apologies for the non-appearance of last week’s notices. This was due to the Major’s bizarre April Fools joke, where he persuaded Edna, who does the photocopying, that the copier was haunted. We’re currently trying to coax her out of the vestments cupboard with doughnuts.


We would like to offer our thoughts and prayers to Canon Vyvyan Westcliffe for whatever bizarre accident will no doubt prevent him taking this evening’s service. And our thanks to the Reader, Doreen, for conveniently having a pre -written sermon on tonight’s text.


 “Gin and Mindfulness” – a new course aged at stressed mothers with small children. 6 pm in the Hanged Man.


Grilsby Fund Raising Committee, Church Hall 7.45. Join us as we try to think of new and exciting ways to hold jumble sales.


Bible Study, 8pm, Dr Ireland’s house, “Dunphlebbin”. As we look for a new vicar we will be considering the heroes of the Bible. And the failjres that often preceded them.


Tremlett Ferret Fanciers first meeting of the year. 3pm at Lt Tremlett allotments. Please bring a ferret. We’re not quite clear on why the Ferret Fanciers are a sub-committee of the PCC. But we’re going for “mission” for now.


Do you fancy an evening of character assassination and brutality? Gt Tremlett Annual Parochial Church Meeting. 8pm until the police are called. Motions to be decided  by two falls, two submissions or a knockout.


Trim Valley inter-faith group hosts a talk by the only devotee of Cthulu in the valley. Stanley Ebb did invite us to his house, “Misty Valley” but it’s unnervingly near Woodby Reservoir. So we’re in the upper room of the Silent Woman.


Revd Nathan still on holiday. So again thanks to Canon Vyvyan for whatever services he survives to lead.

Letters to the Church Magazine: April 2018

Dear Sir

Many people in the churches have commented that it seems a bit odd, that I will be taking two weeks off after Easter, when I am leaving my post at the end of the month.

I’d just like to put on record that I don’t care.

Yours etc

Revd Nathan, Tremlett Vicarage

Dear Sir

At Easter time, all the believers go around saying “Christ is risen” and singing their happy hymns.

But nobody gives any consideration to all the people who don’t believe Jesus was risen. This can be a very hard time for them.

This is why at Low Sunday Evensong, my sermon has no mention of the Resurrection. Or, to be on the safe side, God. I will be preaching on “Wouldn’t it be nice if we were all nice?”

Yours etc

Doreen (the Reader), Woodwind Lane, Gt Tremlett

Dear Sir

This May Eve, the coven will meet in Gervais’s Gully to bring in the Spirit of Summer. We will dance in the cool night air before washing our faces in the dew of dawn.

If the weather is inclement, we will instead have bingo in Woodby Reading Room.

Yours etc

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

Dear Sir

Can we confirm – when the vicar  leaves, does he take the furniture with him or does it belong to the church? Only I fancy the sofa.

Yours etc,

Fennel Bailey, The Old Orchard House.

Dear Sir

And the car-parks going up
And they’re pulling down the pubs
And it’s just another bloody rainy day

Yours etc

Samantha Giblings, Church Green, Woodby

Dear Sir

I appear to have terrified the combined Mothers Unions of the Trim Valley at their Good Friday cake sale.

It was an odd day. Knowing that the 3-hour Meditation service would required all my attention, I spent the whole of Maundy Thursday night drinking strong brandy and  coffee. I have some particularly wild Polish brandy, and a special “Double Espresso” brand that comes with an intravenous attachment. Mrs Dumpling has often used it to bring me round after Regimental Dinners in the past.

Accordingly, at 11am I was raring to go, and thought I would pop into the church hall to pick up a cake.

Apparently the thing that scared the United Mothers was my fixed stare. It is, I admit, a weakness with me that when I have drunk brandy and super-charged espresso, I am unable to blink. And instead of speaking, I have to resort to a kind of suppressed growl.

Oh yes. And I was inadvertently dressed as an orangutan.  That is something else I do when I have been drinking that brandy. It brings on a kind of desire for the womb in me. Which I can only satisfy by climbing into the orangutan costume.

Actually, it is not really a costume. It is a genuine skinned orangutan. I accidentally killed it with a spear gun in Malaysia, under the impression it was a squid. All most complicated to explain. Anyway, that is why I was holding a spear. It was the one with which I killed the unfortunate creature in the first place. Bally tasteless, some would say, keeping the weapon with which one killed a beautiful, peaceful, intelligent creature. But as I often point out, it’s a very small trophy room. And I’ve got to store them somewhere.

So yes. I can understand that, while serving cakes and tea and making small talk, to be encountered by a growling large primate, waving a fishing spear, may have been somewhat frightening. I just wish that Mrs Ravenscroft had not attacked me with that cake slice.

I sustained rather a nasty laceration in my upper thigh. Also the orangutan skin suffered some damage, which has needed special repair. My friend Norbert Dranesqueezer therefore encloses an invoice, to the value of £74.22.

Yours etc

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

Dear Sir

A Poem: Dark as the Grave

In a garden of death, a new-filled grave.
A tomb. Quiet and still.
End of hopes, end of fears, end of dreams.

Death death death death.
Death death death death.
Death death death life.

A happy Easter to you all

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

Trim Valley Notices: w/c 25 March

Firstly, thanks to Mrs Dobermann, whose Great Dane, “Rodney”, did such a sterling job as a replacement donkey this morning for the Palm Sunday service. He was an hour late, but then the clocks had gone forward.


The Grilsby-on-the-Hill Holy Week Party. Come along to find out how the parishioners of Grilsby have been totally missing the point of the season for decades. (Please bring a bottle)


Join Major Dumpling as he chases the WeightWatchers from the Church Hall with a whip of cords. His daily consumption of Chocolate Oranges always goes too far about this time of the year.


“Who was Judas?” This Wednesday’s talk allows Revd Nathan to give a whole list of people who may have stitched him up over the last 10 years.


“A Christian Passover”. Why not join us at 8pm in Lt Tremlett Church Hall to fail totally in our attempt to appropriate another religion’s tradition and say why Christianity is better?


Good Friday Workshop: The children of the benefice mark the most solemn day of the Christian calendar in a frenzy of sugar rush and cheap sticker books.


First Communion of Easter: 11pm, Great Tremlett. With the Lighting of the Easter Fire. If the Beast from the East strikes, it may take hours to light what with the snow, so please bring coffee.


6am : Sunrise service, Woodby. Those who were keen enough to stay up for the service at Gt Tremlett will probably be hallucinating by now. Especially those who have spent the intervening 6 hours partying. Why not cheer on Revd Nathan as he tries to manage on 12 hours’ sleep in the last fortnight?

Followed by the Benefice Easter Breakfast. Please bring bacon.