Letters to the Church Magazine – June 2017

Dear Sir

Astonishing to hear that anthem on Sunday performed in six parts. Especially as there’s only five of them in the choir.

Chester should really just accept that his voice isn’t what it was.

Yours etc

Barbra Finkel, Long Meadow, Gt Tremlett

Dear Sir

As we look forward to Reverend Joanna completing her time with us and finding her own vicar’s post we must ask ourselves some serious questions.

In my own case that question should be, when I asked her if she were in need of some company when her husband was away on business, why did she get that court to order my exclusion from a 400 yard radius of her house?

Yours etc

Randall Nevis, Leer Cottage, Woodby

Dear Sir

When will something be done about Mr Nuttall?

Standing outside the “Hanged Man Inn” late at night shouting about sending immigrants back.

For his information, they’re “Londoners”. And while they may not talk like us, they bring money into our villages and their children mean we can keep the school open.

Yours etc

Simone de Belvoir, World’s End, Lt Tremlett

Dear Sir

At last week’s “Bring Your Cheese to Church” service, my neighbour brought a rather over-ripe Danish Blue. Put me right off the words to “All Things Brie and Beautiful.”

I also complained about the Stinking Bishop. But he was there to lead the Confirmation Service.

Yours etc

Bradley Hadleigh, Cheese Road, Grilsby-on-the-Hill

Dear Sir

After a recent trip to the Continent I have realised what Great Tremlett is missing. A proper relic! Draws them by the thousands does a decent relic.

Therefore I am honoured to present St Mary’s with the Appendix of St Peter’s Mother in Law. I know some have claimed it looks rather like a sun dried tomato. But if you don’t say anything I won’t.

Norbert better get ready for all the £74.22s to roll in! 

Yours etc

Toby Tenor, The Old Gate House, Gt Tremlett

Dear Sir

Many have asked how I got on at the Diocesan Clergy Week. And I hope nobody will be offended if I don’t tell them.

As we always say: “What happens in Swanwick, stays at Swanwick.”

Yours etc

Revd Nathan, Gt Tremlett Rectory

Dear Sir

I would like to thank all the people who have donated books to the church book stall over the last twelve months. However I think it is fair to say that we have accrued a fair number that we will never sell.  So if anyone wants any of the books below we will happily sell them for a nominal 5p, or else the rest will go into the specially-adapted “book burning stove” that we use for supplementary heating at winter Evensongs.

“50 Shades of Grey” – 86 copies
“A Song of Fire and Ice” (various) – 91 copies
Jackie Collins (various) – 154 copies
“A Brief History of Time” – 214 copies, all unread
“The God Delusion” – Seriously defaced
“Lady Chatterley’s Lover” – Well-thumbed
“The Da Vinci Code” – 23 copies, implausible
“Honest to God” – 6 copies, irrelevant 
“Lost Icons”, Rowan Williams – 95 copies, Incomprehensible

Yours etc

Romilly Randers, Cave Road, Little Tremlett

 

Dear Sir

As Treasurer I often have to deal with the offerings that have been taken on Sundays-  often as much as £74.22.

As a result of dealing with such large sums I have had to pay my nephew, “Mostin”, to act as hired muscle to protect me.

Mostin however does not do this from the goodness of his heart and expects appropriate payment for his services.

He therefore includes an invoice to the sum of  £74.22.

Yours etc

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

Dear Sir

I note that the banner is up on the side of the church advertising the “Fète”.

Shocked by this topographical inexactitude! We may have voted for Brexit but that is no excuse for rubbing the noses of our French friends in it.

Therefore late Friday night, having fortified ourselves with a couple of quarts of rhubarb and marmalade wine, my friend Mr Charkles and myself took a ladder and some duck tape along to correct things.

There was some initial confusion when we both stood on the bottom rung of the  ladder to hold it steady. And then when neither of us stood there and both toppled from the top. But eventually we reached the perfect situation – where one of us climbed while the other held it steady.

So eventually I managed to correct it. Unfortunately as I finished the adjustment, Charlie wandered off distracted by some goings on in the bushes. While he was taking photographic evidence for Dr Holland’s next “sin list”, I toppled off the ladder once more, going over the graveyard wall and landing on a passing milkfloat.

How lovely to see a milkfloat! I thought the Blair government had banned them along with foxes. 

Yours etc

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

Dear Sir

With all the excitement over election polls I thought I would conduct my own, for who should replace the vicar when he finally obeys God’s call. And the results are as follows:

Derek Nimmo    45%

Dawn French     23%

Tom Hollander   18%

Richard Coles      17%

Lib Dems               8%

David Mitchell     7%

Giles Fraser          2%
I have written to Fr Nimmo offering him the job if he wants it, but sadly have had no response.

Yours etc

Melonesia MacMagnum, Carriage Way, Woodby Chapel End

Dear Sir

I have written a new poem for the General Election.

“THE NATION’S DILEMMA”

Doubt like gossamer blows across fair Albion
Nicola Sturgeon smiles and weighs her votes
The fishers, anxious, wonder if  they will keep their boats
When, Brexecuted, Britain on free water floats.

Anxiety sweeps this desperate orb
From East to West the people rise 
As Theresa May – gray-faced with age-old eyes
Watches Labour’s vote head for the skies.

And the beat of the world
Neath humanity’s noise 

Continues – incessant, sempiternal, hypnotic.

Covfefe
Covfefe
Covfefe
Covfefe
Covfefe
Stuff the climate!

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

Dear Sir

What has happened to the banner for the Church Fête?

What on earth is a Church Fate? Apart from decline and eventual closure, obviously.

Yours etc

Xavier de Quincy Somerville-Shepard, Sheep Close, Lt Tremlett

Letters to the Church Magazine: April 2017 (But not April Fools’)

Dear Everybody

If you’re here, I like to think it may be because you like this site, and the assorted people that populate our church’s letter pages.

And it might be that in that case, what you really want to do, at some point in the near future, is consider buying the paperback version of “Writes of the Church” for yourself, your loved ones, or even your vicar. As let’s face it, they need a laugh as well.

The good news is – some bloke has produced a book that lets you do just that. So why not go straight away to the BRF Website to read all about the paperback incarnation of this blog, and details of when you will be able to pre-order it. With more than 100 pages of the Great Tremlett posse’s complaints, and 14 brand new cartoons by Dave Walker.

Yours

Revd Nathan


Dear Sir

Please cancel my subscription to the Church Magazine. The communist views, liberal attitudes and PC pandering to the “snowflake” brigade has filled me up to hear.

And that was just the Vicar’s monthly “thought”, on the Good Samaritan. Goodness knows what the account of the Spring Fayre was like.

Yours etc

Arbuthnot P Ephraim, The Old Carriage House, Grilsby-on-the-Hill


Dear Sir

In my investigations into the activities of our previous Treasurer – whom I shall in future refer to as “The Fraudster” – I have discovered that every month, we are paying £74.22 to a suspicious group called “E.on”. I have cancelled these payments, as I suspect they may be some kind of protection racket.

Yours etc

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


Dear Sir

Inspired by Brexit, I have been investigating how Grilsby could “go it alone” without the rest of the Trim Valley benefice.

Some may think this is foolishness. Well, they said that about Captain Cook when he decided to land at Hawaii.

What is clear is that Grilsby put far more into the benefice than in receives back. We paid nearly £4,000 in Parish Share last year – and yet we have barely more of the Vicar’s time than Woodby Chapel.

Therefore I will move at the next PCC that we declare independence from the benefice. We will apply to the Bishop of Banbury for our own incumbent.

And we will thrive as an independent parish. For instance, we will be able to choose the date of the Harvest Festival without considering the other four churches. We will have services at Grilsby every Sunday – including Fifth Sundays.

An independent Grilsby will have its own vicar. A new, state-of-the-art vicarage. Its own vacancy for a Deanery Synod rep – instead of having to share three vacancies between the villages.  And the ability to choose the time for our own services.

Yours etc

Nigel Garage, the Old Vicarage, Grilsby-on-the-Hill


Dear Sir

The thermometer outside the church, advertising the progress of the building fund, is such a traditional sight in the English countryside! In the case of the one outside St Mary’s, it has been there, stuck on 35% of the required cash, since 1785.

The limit on these kinds of advertisements is 28 days. I am therefore writing to you to request that you take it down forthwith.

Yours etc

Gladly Mycross, Banburyshire Council


Dear Sir

The long spring evenings are so delightful after the dark nights of winter! And I note that so many people have been enjoying the warmer times – especially around the car park at “Cupid’s Spinney”.

If three out of the ten Church Wardens in the benefice would like to deposit £1,000 in the agreed spot, no-one need ever know more.

Yours etc

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


Dear Sir

I would like to apologise for the terror I caused the members of the Mothers’ Union last week.

Wandering across the churchyard on the way home from the “Hanged Man” one lunchtime, I fell into a newly-dug grave.

Others in this situation might have howled for help, whimpered, burst in tears or otherwise not acted like a man with a long and distinguished service history. However, fortunately I had the remains of a bottle of Jack Daniels with me, with which I was able to while away the time.

As the Mothers’ Union left their meeting in the church hall, I had just woken from my doze. I had also realised that, by turning my clothes into a rope and looping it round the headstone of my old friend “Chalky” Chalkwhite, I would be able to raise myself from my tomb.

Seeing me in my underpants, covered in mud and climbing from the tomb, the Mothers collectively screamed. It was at this point that I saw the blinding light that I can only assume was a divine intervention, and fell backwards into the grave, where I lay until Jeb retrieved me in the morning.

Mrs Dumpling was not so alarmed as the Mothers. It’s true to say she is used to me returning in the dawn light, in a state of disrepair. As I say, it is the Army training.

Yours etc

Major J Dumpling (retd), Rodney’s Rest, Lt Tremlett


Dear Sir

The notice sheets were on the left hand side of the table in the nave this morning, instead of the right hand side. Surely this requires a faculty?

I have written to complain to the Bishop.

I used to work for the Met Office.

Yours etc

Chas “Charlie” Charkles, Hanged Man’s Close, Gt Tremlett.


Dear Sir

I  note from the diocese newsletter that the average age of new Lay Ministers at the recent licensing service was substantially higher than the average life expectancy in Banburyshire.

What a great advert for the Christian faith! Clean living, regular prayer and you can expect to be harassing your neighbours with your preaching and pastoral visits well into your 9th decade!

Yours etc

Gerville Wellesley-Kanbee, Holistic House, Woody Chapel End.


Dear Sir

We were leaving the church hall after the Mothers’ Union last week when we were confronted by a zombie, climbing from one of the graves.

Thankfully, I thought quickly and hit it over the head with the spade Jeb had left laying around, in the manner of that admirable American reality TV series, “The Walking Dead”.

However there should be no need for members of the church to have to protect themselves from the undead in this way. The Vicar should be patrolling the churchyard with holy water, ready to eliminate this kind of supernatural menace.

I have written to the Diocesan Exorcist to complain.

Yours etc

Dr Sandra Ireland, “Dunphlebbin’”, Great Tremlett


Dear Sir

Once again the benefice website has been brought up to date. A great leap forwards – it has been advertising the special service to celebrate Her Majesty’s Golden Jubilee rather too long, in my opinion.

However there is a risk here. If people are aware of the possibilities of such delights as Beetle Drives, Jumble Sales and auctions of promises, they may well start attending church. For surely this kind of thing was what made the Church in Acts so attractive.

And if people start coming to church they may need ministering to. As Pastoral Assistant, I might need to do some of that ministering. And I have not been consulted.

I insist the Vicar winds the clock on the website back to 2002 – the same as he does with his choice of “modern” worship. Only thus can  I avoid the dangers of overwork and marital breakdown.

Yours etc

Bradley Hadleigh, Jasmine House, Woodby


Dear Sir

Now that spring is here, I have once again been producing a list of the most notable sinners in the valley. This year a record! I normally pin the list up in appropriate places for all to read. However since the vicar has a habit of going around tearing them down, on this occasion we have spray-painted the details on the side of Little Tremlett church.

Not only will these people get the exposure they deserve for several days, while the Vicar is on retreat. But on his return, he will find himself copied on a letter from Mr Spacek, asking the Bishop why he did not get a faculty.

Yours etc

Dr Sandra Ireland, “Dunphlebbing”, Lt Tremlett


Dear Sir

Mike Pence has a lot to answer for.

After the publicity about Pence’s adoption of the “Billy Graham Rule” , Maurice Cordwainer refused to be in a building on his own with me.

I am a respectable married woman and ordained priest. He is 87. He has halitosis. It was Morning Prayer at Woodby Chapel – a drafty former Methodist mission hall.

Believe me. I was unlikely to be overcome with lust.

Yours etc

Revd Joanna, The Old Chapel, Lt Tremlett


Dear Sir

Once again I am disappointed in the Vicar’s religious knowledge.

I stopped him after church to ask him what he thought of the Sandemanian injunctions on the consumption of beasts that are strangled.

He had never heard of this particular ruling of the group, and suggested I give him a few days to look things up.

I don’t know what Ridley think they are turning out these days.

Yours etc

Charmander McBrayne, Woodby Lane, Grilsby


Dear Sir

Don’t ask us to attend, Cause we’re not all there.  Oh don’t pretend ’cause I don’t care. I don’t believe illusions ’cause too much is real. So stop your cheap comment –
cause we know what we feel.

Yours etc

Samantha Giblings, Church Green, Woodby


Dear Sir

 

Inspired this year by the other church members who forsake some enjoyable pastime or foodstuff, I decided to give up eating frogspawn.

I don’t know why everyone finds Lent so difficult.

Yours etc

Rasmere Raxton, Brook Lane, Woodby


Letters to the Church Magazine: Synod Special

Dear all

Being fortunate enough to get a preview of the “case studies” that the Church of England Synod is discussing today, I was able to run them past Monday night’s Great Tremlett PCC.

For each of the case studies, I asked the PCC to role-play their approach.

The results were oddly consistent. For each study they told me how wise old Canon Westclyffe was when he was in charge, and this sort of thing would never have caused a problem.

Yours etc

Revd Nathan, The Rectory

 Letters to the Church Magazine: February 2017

Dear Sir

Anyone can forget to switch their phone to “silent” before they go to church. We should all forgive them that simple mistake.

But actually taking the call. That’s a bit much. The correct response is an embarassed, whispered apology while switching the phone off. Not answering it and dealing with a three minute discussion about the plumbing.

But during the sermon? That’s just plain rude.

What was  the vicar thinking of?

Yours etc

Maisie Daisy, Church Lane, Gt Tremlett


Dear Sir

The last PCC may have set some kind of record.

Three resignations by church officers. And all over the question of the cost of the candles over Christmas.

Paying for all the farewell cards is itself now a strain on the expenses of the church. That’s why I have been investigating the possibly of producing cards for outgoing church officers “on the spot” on the printer in the church office.

In the process of carrying out these experiments, I have of course incurred some expenses. I therefore include an invoice to the value £74.22. The good news is that, now I have been elected treasurer, I will have less trouble getting reimbursed.

Yours etc

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


Dear Sir

In these troubled times, we need strong leadership more than ever.

I have been pushing the details of job opportunities in other counties through the Vicar’s door since November. When will he take the hint?

Yours etc

Dr Sandra Ireland, “Dunphlebbing”, Lt Tremlett



Dear Sir

I apologise for the over-excitement I showed last Sunday when we had a visit from a lovely group of Anglican nuns.

I had consumed a gallon of my friend Daniel Winship’s crab-apple cider and I am afraid he may have left the fungal “bloom” on the skins. With the result that I thought the church had been occupied by a group of oversized mutant badgers.

In retrospect, chasing a group of terrified, whimpled octogenarians from the church with a candlestick is not the highlight of my previously distinguished military career.

Yours etc

Major J Dumpling, “Rodney’s Rest”


Dear Sir

I don’t know which is worse.

The hysteria that Norbert exhibited at Tremlett Stores when I was buying a packet of sanitary towels. He having presumably deduced that this means I am a sexually mature woman and not some kind of robot or disembodied spirit.

Then his offer to carry my basket back to the car in case I was “feeling a bit weak.” I hope the right hook he received put him right on that matter.

Yours etc

Revd Joanna, The Old Chapel, Lt Tremlett


Dear Sir

I was shocked by the Vicar’s performance at the Church Quiz.

A whole round I set on “The History of the Countess of Huntingdon’s Connexion.” And he didn’t get a single question right. I thought he was a man of the cloth.

Yours etc

Charmander McBrayne, Woodby Lane, Grilsby


Dear Sir

Clearly Revd Nathan has been trawling the internet again for the lyrics to modern songs, as printed on the service sheet. How else to explain the references to a “neighbor”? If St Paul had known we would sing about ” blessing and honor” I do not suppose he would have bothered writing Romans at all.

Really, Wycliffe would turn in his grave. If they hadn’t thrown his bones in the river. I used to be in  the Home Office.

Yours etc

Chas “Charlie” Charkles, Hangman’s Close, Gt Tremlett

Dear Sir

Once again a delight to cover for the current Vicar, as he hid himself in his study to deal with six months of administration and claimed he was “on post-Xmas holiday”.

The people at Woodby were so delighted when we restored the use of Lauds instead of the degenerate modern worship they have been used to! 

But a strange thing occurred as I was setting off to Great Tremlett on the Sunday morning. I was stopped by the police in Woodby Lane and told that, under President Trump’s ” Hatred of Foreigners Act” I had to be arrested.

I spent the next four hours tied and gagged in a ditch until a passing cyclist heard my cries for help.

In retrospect I am not sure that was a real police car. It was a 1980 Mini Metro. And the blue flashing light was probably a bike lamp with some kind of blue scarf wrapped round it.

The good news is that the Reader, Doreen, was able to step in and lead the service for me. And even had  a sermon conveniently written for the week! What a treasure she is.

Yours etc

Canon Vyvyan Westclyffe (Retired but still available to take properly-run Occasional Offices), The Old Vicarage, Woodby
Dear Sir

Week five of the vicar’s plan to “make the church more open, less set in its ways.” And there are certainly radical results.

The vicar’s theory, to give us new perspectives on church, was that every week we should sit in a different pew to our traditional place. Well he’s right. I’ve got very different perspectives. In just five weeks.

It is very peaceful staying at home on Sundays. And I get to stay in bed a lot later.

Yours etc

Gabrielle Fitch Thompson, the Old Market House, Little Tremlett


Dear Sir

I may have caused some distress and confusion to Revd Joanne at the Burns Night celebration in the Church Hall. Blame it on the moonlight, blame it on the good times, blame it on the whisky.

I remarked to our lovely lady curate that I didn’t know how she had time and energy for it – what with her four children, full-time ministry and hospital chaplaincy. Said she must be absolutely exhausted at night and  just ready to sleep.

What I was referring to was her prayer life. There was absolutely no need for her to set fire to my tie.

Yours etc

Philemon Doyle, Chestnut Lane, Lt Tremlett 


Dear Sir

You’d better watch out, you’d better beware.

Albert said that e = mc squared.

Yours etc

Samantha Giblings, Church Green, Woodby


Dear Sir

When I heard that the vicar was now allowed to conduct “informal prayers of blessing” I presumed he was referring to rabbit weddings.

Now it turns out that the Church of England was talking about blessings for gay couples.

Not rabbits.

Once again, nobody cares about the rabbits. I suppose they do not buy enough cakes.

Yours etc

Solomon Snodgrass, Station Road, Gt Tremlett


Dear Sir

A little poem for St Valentine.

Roses are red
Violets are blue.
Most things are dead
soon we will be too.

Death death death

Death death death

Death death death

Death.

And some nice chocolates.

Yours wishing you a loving “special day”

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

Letters to the Church Magazine: January 2017

Dear Sir

A couple of years ago, a row of coniferous trees was planted along the northern edge of Gt Tremlett churchyard.

I am pleased to see that they have settled in nicely and are already attracting the wildlife. What an addition they have been to our village! I was impressed with the idea from the start.

Yours etc,

Fennel Bailey, The Old Orchard House.


Dear Sir
Thanks to everyone in the “Golden Girls” over-80s Bingo group for their fund—raising event for the new kitchen. In retrospect, the sponsored Bog Snorkel through Tremlett Marsh may have been ambitious. Still, adding two legacies to the sponsorship money has brought in a tidy sum.
Yours with the funeral fees,

Revd Nathan, The Rectory, Gt Tremlett


Dear Sir

Over the last year, the Church Wardens have given me many reasons why there are only 27 people in Church on a Sunday:

  • Weather too hot
  • People on holiday
  • Weather too cold
  • Rain
  • Children playing football on Sunday mornings
  • Everyone too hung over after the Harvest Supper
  • Everyone gone away for Christmas
  • “A rumour went round that the bishop would be here so they’ve stayed away”

I suspect that there are only in fact 27 church members, but the vicar is trying to keep this a secret.

Yours with the counting machine,

Philemon Doyle, Chestnut Lane, Lt Tremlett


Dear Sir

With a new year comes a new resolution!

I suggest one for the vicar.  Why does he not visit every single house in the benefice, every month? In this way he will be achieving the church’s mission, getting himself fit, and – most of all – doing his job.

Old Fr Honeywicke managed to visit everybody in the parish every month in 1935. Admittedly he had just the parish of Grilsby, and only nine people lived there in those days. But Revd Nathan has a car. There is no excuse.

Yours etc

Charmander McBrayne, Woodby Lane, Grilsby


Dear Sir

How I loved the traditional Christmas events! And yet at this time of purity and holiness, I bet some members of the congregation were still considering the sins of the flesh.

I did invite everyone to fill in a questionnaire – “How long is it since you succumbed to the temptations of your lower beastly nature?” I thought it would help the vicar to get some better control over his congregation’s enthusiasms – something he has paid no attention to over the last few years.

But only one person – Mrs Sparrow – filled it in. And included far more detail than I was expecting. I have not been able to sleep for a week since reading it. I suspect I now understand how Mr Sparrow feels.

Yours etc

Martin Moraine, “Purity House”, Little Tremlett


Dear Sir

I can only apologise for my behaviour at this time of festive celebration.

I know I have occasionally allowed my susceptibility to aromatic substances and ardent spirits to influence my behaviour in church and around the village. So this December I felt sticking to natural, wholesome produce would be sure to keep me on the straight and narrow. I kept to a strict diet of the mushrooms I found growing under the compost bin.

I have no idea what possessed me to scream “Aliens! Run!” throughout the Christingle. Nor challenge my friend Mr Charkles to a  throwing competition. I apologise to Maisie, and promise that if I every throw Christmas Puddings competitively again, I won’t light the brandy first.

Yours etc

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


Dear Sir

Once again Dr Ireland has posted a list of the year’s “notorious sinners” around the village. I would like to make it clear that I have no interest in Mrs Dermer, except as a faithful member of the congregation and able mezzo soprano.

Yours etc

Revd Nathan, the Rectory, Gt Tremlett


Dear Sir

I see the Creme Eggs have appeared in the shops. Outrageous, at this time of year. If they came out in early December, I could eat them at Christmas.

Yours etc

Solomon Snodgrass, Station Road, Gt Tremlett


Dear Sir

Thanks for letting me advertise our inter-faith event on 2nd February: “Imbolc Awareness”.

If you’re coming please bring a lamb and some mint sauce. “Cutlery” will be provided.

Yours etc

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


Dear Sir

There she stood in the doorway
I heard the mission bell
And I was thinking to myself
‘This could be heaven or this could be Hell.

Yours etc

Samantha Giblings, Church Green, Woodby


Dear Sir

A new year brings a new one of my famous “vicar jokes.

Q: What’s black and white and flat out?

A: The vicar on Christmas Day after lunch.

Yours etc

Tom Chancellor, Primrose Path, Woodby


Dear Sir

A poem at the end of a year of goodbyes.

“2016”

David Gest, David Bowie,

Carrie Fisher, Cliff Mitchelmore,

Arnold Palmer. Jean Alexandra,

Paul Daniels, Zsa Zsa Gabor

Jimmy Perry, Bobby Vee,

Jimmy Young and Harper Lee,

Rick Parfitt, Peter Vaughan,

Liz Smith, Caroline Aherne,

Johann Cruff – magician with a ball

“Boutros Boutros-Ghali” to you all.

Death death death

death death death

death death death.

Death.

Wishing you a joyful 2017.

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


Dear Sir

What a lovely Christmas Nativity Play that was! Seeing the little ones so nervous, and yet so proud as they told us the greatest story every told! And what a nice twist – the baby Jesus receiving a Hatchimal along with the more traditional gifts. You have to move with the times, while keeping the important ingredients of the season.

Although I am a regular Christmas attendee, I will certainly be joining the congregation more often in the New Year!

Yours etc

Jasmine Jones, “Chitterings”, Wheezy Lane, Gt Tremlett

Letters to the Church Magazine: December 2016

Dear Sir

The people who have voted for Donald Trump in the United States seem to have disliked Mexicans, Muslims and gay people. This is outrageous. There are far more people that need to be put on a register. These include:

  • Catholics
  • Radicals
  • Catholic Radicals
  • Catholic Radicals in Chasubles
  • Giles Fraser
  • Agnostics
  • Writers of acrostics
  • Funambulists
  • Acrobats
  • Clowns
  • Choir members who are allergic to cats
  • Gays
  • Greys
  • People who drink Thatcher’s “Haze”
  • People from Bakewell
  • Drivers who don’t brake well
  • Nicolaitans
  • Appalachians
  • People who dress up as Father Christmas at the slightest excuse
  • Environmentalists

Yours etc

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


Dear Sir

When will Revd Nathan ever make it into social media or the television as a celebrity vicar?

How can we hope to develop a radical new mission strategy if Natahn’s face is unfamiliar to the typical chap on the Tremlett Circuit Bus (now defunct due to austerity measures at Banburyshire Council?)

He hasn’t even got onto the Gafcon list of Notorious Sinners. At the least, maybe he could shave his legs or wear a feather boa.

Yours etc

Gabrielle Fitch Thompson, the Old Market House, Little Tremlett


Dear Sir

 After the unfortunate double-booking of the Church Hall, I am afraid the Rabbit Breeders Club next few meetings will be cancelled. The Banburyshire Ferret Fanciers would like to apologise.

On the bright side, Flossy and Scut did survive the Bunny Apocalypse so we hope the Rabbit Breeders will be back to full strength next summer.

Yours etc,

Fennel Bailey, The Old Orchard House, Gt Tremlett


Dear Sir

Last week’s service sheet referred to a “narthex” when we clearly have a “vestibule.” This would never have been allowed at St Martin in the Fields. I used to be in the Civil Service.

Yours etc

Chas “Charlie” Charkles, Hanged Man’s Close, Gt Tremlett.


Dear Sir

Players, put yo’ pinky rings up to the moon
Girls, what y’all trying to do?
Twenty four karat magic in the air
Head to toe soul player
Look out uh.

Yours etc

Samantha Giblings, Church Green, Woodby


Dear Sir

As Christmas approaches, once again I realise that I have totally failed to attend worship at St Mary’s since that lovely Nativity Play.

Still, not long now.  I always look forward to seeing how they’ve grown!

Yours etc

Jasmine Jones, “Chitterings”, Wheezy Lane, Gt Tremlett


Dear Sir

When I first left the army I got into the habit, every Christmas, of buying a bottle of white wine for every member of the last battery I commanded. A tradition I have continued ever since.

Of course, as time has gone by the number of my old colleagues has reduced until, these days, there are only 17 of them left. This leaves me a lot of wine to drink myself, but these old traditions have to be kept up.

With any luck I hope I shall be able to focus again by Candlemas.

Yours etc

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


Dear Sir

My nephew Wilbur kindly let me borrow his computer to look at the Church website. Once again, nothing to see.

Wilbur has suggested that this may be because I do not have broadband. But I do not want to rush into things.

Yours etc

Chesney Peterson, Walnut Grove, Lt Tremlett


Dear Sir

During the winter the heating bill rises steeply – causing a substantial increase in our running costs.

We could easily make savings if we cancel all services from December to April. Of course, we should still hold the Nativity Play. We can keep people warm by burning the chopped up old choir wardrobes.

In order to chop up the wardrobes I did have to buy  a  cheap but functional chainsaw. I therefore include an invoice to the value of £74.22.

I would like to apologise to the choir for the state of their robes.

Yours etc

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


Dear Sir

Our “Bring a Friend to Harvest” missional activity was both a massive success and total failure.

Everybody brought a friend. But they were all friends who already come to Church.

Next year’s missional drive will be called “Find Some More Friends Who Aren’t Christians Sunday.”

Yours etc

Chloe Joey, “El Nino Cottage”, Woodby Chapel End 


Dear Sir

I hear that Miss Joey is suggesting we should make friends with non-Christians. A terrible idea! As the Apostle said, “Do not be yoked with unbelievers.” We should pray for people to become Christians, and then become their friends and take them to Church.

Yours etc

Mary England,  Carstairs House, Woodby

Letters to the Church Magazine: November 2016

Dear Sir

I do not understand why we have so few young people attending church in Woodby nowadays.

We had decided to bring the worship up to date. We have a “music group” consisting of two women playing tambourine and a male accordionist. We regularly play only music that was written in the 1970s.

Why are the young people still not coming to church?

Yours etc

Anna Kee, Chafing Lane, Woodby, UK


Dear Sir

The rise of chutney stalls at the Christmas Fayre has, of late, been something to behold. I blame the ready availability, in these amoral days, of tomato plants and pickling vinegar. Can I propose a maximum of twenty jars of chutney per stall? Any more than that and the Major will have another of his “binges”.

Yours etc

Ranulf Bling, Station Road, Great Tremlett


Dear Sir

I dropped into last week’s jumble sale. I had no idea what jumbles are – some sort of relative of the Jumblies in the Edward Lear poem, I presumed. And I wondered whetther they had the green heads and blue hands of their cousins.

Instead when I got there all I saw was old women selling tatty jumpers and other such brocante. There was a sieve for sale, but no sign of any nautical activity. I was most disappointed.

Yours etc

Rt Hon Alicia Cholmondley-Cholmonley, Cholmondeley Manor, Woodby Chapel End.


Dear Sir

Surely innovations in the Church have gone too far. In which Synod of the Church was it decided that breastfeeding infants was acceptable?

The young lady concerned had the offending infant under a blanket throughout the entire operation, it is true. But it was still clearly happening. Put me right off the service. I yearn for the good old days before breastfeeding was invented.

Yours etc

Rob Runes, Church Lane, Gt Tremlett


Dear Sir

Every Saturday, four or five people come to church to sweep the floor, polish the candles and other metal fittings, and generally get the place ready for Sunday. They are stalwarts of the church.

But what on earth do they think the clergy are for?

Yours etc

Felicity Broadstairs, Tremlett Road, Woodby


Dear Sir

What a masterpiece of negotiation and democracy! I refer, of course, to the new monthly “family service” at Little Tremlett.

Because the Vicar wanted a modern worship group, and the organist did not want to reduce his input into the service, a compromise was required. I am glad to say we found one.

Now, each First Sunday, we sing 7 modern choruses, plus 5 hymns. The service now lasts nearly two hours, and the only people who attend are musicians. But at least, through tolerance and love, we have modelled the kingdom!

Yours etc

Marais de Sandeman, The Old Brewhouse, Little Tremlett


Dear Sir
Ah, the mellow, nostalgic days of autumn! Walking back from church last week I smelt the aroma of the apples in the vicarage garden and it took me back to those times – long and merry ago, now – when I used to “scrump” from the old vicarage orchard in Father Tranwell’s time.

Of course these days, climbing over the vicarage wall is not as easy as it once was. So I called into the Hanged Man for some lubrication before attempting a recreation of my youthful exploits. After five hours, I felt sufficiently lubricated.

In the old days, “Buffy” and I would climb to the top of the trees to get the ripest apples. Of course, Fr Tranwell’s trees were old-fashioned standard trees, twenty or thirty feet high. These modern “bush” trees are not so high. Nor, it seems, so sturdy. When I woke, I realised I was in the midst of five or six flattened apple trees, sitting in the dusk in the vicarage garden.

The other game “Buffy” and I would play – when the vicar was out! – was to throw apples over the vicarage roof for the other to catch. Sadly Buffy is no longer with us after that incident with the Swedish navy and the paddling pool. So it was down to me to recreate the  good old days by heaving apples over the vicar’s roof.

By all accounts it was a Bramley that knocked Revd Nathan out as he left the church for Evensong. whereas the people getting off the Banbury bus were taken out by the volley of Ashmead’s Kernels.

I would like to apologise to the vicar, the evening congregation, and indeed  the entire village.

Yours etc

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


Dear Sir

What’s black and white and goes up and down?

The vicar with his foot caught in a bell rope!

Yours etc

Jeremy Stairswell, Crow Lane, Grilsby on the Hill


Dear Sir

It’s hard to believe that there’s nobody out there. It’s hard to believe that I’m all alone
At least I have her love, the city, she loves me. Lonely as I am, together we cry.

Yours etc

Samantha Giblings, Church Green, Woodby


Dear Sir

I am sorry to announce the disbanding of the Interfaith Group.

There’s only Mr Patel at the shop who’s a member of a non-Christian congregation. And he says he doesn’t really believe in any of it. I did tell him neither do we; but he didn’t care.

I am now starting a new Buddhism Group in the village hall. If this catches on, in a couple of years it might be worth starting the Inter Faith group again.

Yours etc

Romilly Randers, Cave Road, Little Tremlett


Dear Sir

The news story about Kumbuka the Gorilla gripped the nation last month. A 29 stone gorilla on the loose in Camden – how could he possibly last more than ten minutes? I had visions of him resorting to pushing canabbis on the Regents Canal towpath.

I attribute his survival entirely to the intercession of his patron saint, the martyred Harambe the Gorilla. Surely more proof that the Vatican should act now to progress his canonisation.

Yours etc

Barbara E Ape, “Tiggywinkles”, Meadow Leys.