Tag Archives: vicar

1864. An unsolved murder

The murder of Octavius Snickenbough was in all the papers. It was in all the papers not because it was a murder (goodness knows, murders are so common these days they could hardly be considered newsworthy) but because of who Octavius Snickenbough was.

Octavius Snickenbough was the local vicar who, despite having being married to a lovely wife for many a year, had singlehandedly fathered three children on the one night, all born in the same local maternity hospital on the same day, and all registered by different mothers with the information on the father recorded as “Octavius Snickenbough, Vicar”.

It had turned Octavius overnight, on the one hand, into a folk hero, and on the other hand, into a fiend. And now, several weeks after the births his body was discovered lying murdered in the sands of the local beach. The beach was in a sheltered bay and most popular over the summer months. The sand was a mass of hundreds of footprints going in all directions, so the murderer’s footprints going to and from the body were indecipherable.

Clearly, Octavius Snickenbough had been chopped to death by a tomahawk. In fact, it was patently obvious because a tomahawk, the kind used to split firewood kindling, was still protruding from the crown of his head.

Naturally, the three mothers of the three new-borns were questioned by the police, as indeed was Octavius’s wife. None could offer any information that caste the slightest light on the situation.

This all happened several months ago, and the police are no closer to solving the mystery and making an arrest. The closed beach has subsequently reopened, and parishioners seem to rejoice in the appointment of the new vicar whose homilies are considerably shorter than those once offered by the late Reverend Octavius Snickenbough. Rather fortuitously, the new vicar has his own house, so Mrs. Snickenbough is more than welcome to continue to live in the old vicarage. After all, why should it remain empty when it is warm and welcoming, and suitable enough for a lone widow to live comfortably? The potbellied stove in the kitchen is a little old-fashioned but Mrs. Snickenbough doesn’t mind that – once she gets a new tomahawk to split the kindling.

1707. A chef for the homeless

“I think caviar is vastly overrated,” said Lord Brackenbury. This was at a meeting called by the local Anglican vicar. The number of down-and-outs on the streets had sky-rocketed. The local vestry decided they would provide a grand Christmas dinner for the homeless. And the wonderful thing was that Lord Brackenbury was lending his cook for the day. “Lending a Cook” might be too banal a description; Lord Brackenbury was “Providing the services of his Chef”.

“I think caviar is vastly overrated; although it doesn’t get simpler—or more elegant—than crème fraîche and caviar tartlets when served alongside a glass of sparkling wine. However, in the case of feeding the homeless at Christmas I think a carrot tart with ricotta, almond filling and pickled grapes sounds a lot healthier. And my chef Delphine makes it to perfection.”

“We were thinking along the lines,” said the vicar, “of something simpler. A slice of ham or turkey, with mashed potatoes and peas. Besides, I don’t think we could afford such extravagance.”

“And you need a chef for mashed potatoes?” said a stunned Lord Brackenbury. “Delphine wouldn’t have a clue how to go about doing that.”

The vicar was starting to get riled. “Delphine can’t be much of a cook if he doesn’t know how to boil a potato. I suggest…”

“I suggest,” interjected Lord Brackenbury, “that you find yourself another chef. I have standards. No wonder no one comes to church these days.”

“You can stick it up your…” declared the vicar. The vicar’s statement was interrupted by Lord Brackenbury rising from his chair; he gathered his proposed menu notes and stormed from the scene. Fortunately he forgot to take the main thing he had brought for the meeting to enjoy: elegant crème fraîche and caviar tartlets with a couple of bottles of sparkling wine.

“Ham, mashed spuds and peas it is,” said the vicar. “Cheers.” The meeting cut late into the evening.

1684. At least the parson’s sermon was short

My dear brothers and sisters. Let me tell you a story; a fable with a profound message.

A woman called Esmay once sowed a whole garden with bright red poppy seeds. It was her way of remembering her late brother who was killed in the war.

“When they are in flower on his anniversary it will be as if heaven is looking down, and saying all is well!”

But they didn’t flower for his anniversary. They hadn’t even given a thought to sprouting a bud for the occasion. They burst into flower several months later. Esmay couldn’t bear to look at them. Basically they were weeds. She pulled them out and planted some carrots instead. It was the wrong time of the year to plant carrots (or potatoes for that matter) and so they came to nothing. She should have planted something like Swiss chard or even some heat tolerant spinach.

So, my dear brethren, as we reflect upon this story let us remember that our Divine Lord choose fishermen to be his apostles. Well, some of them anyway. And we should love everybody. And there’s global warming. Remember that too.

In conclusion may I add that it’s incomprehensible to me as to why so few people come to church these days?

Amen.

885. Frederick Ball’s calling

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Frederick Ball felt a calling to the ministry. His family had always been practicing Anglicans, and how delighted they were when Frederick announced he was off to the Theological College to commence training towards ordination.

And ordained he was! His bishop was more than thrilled when he was appointed to a rather prestigious inner-city parish. And then the Reverend Ball got married; to one of the loveliest of ladies of the parish. She was the daughter of the local sexton, but a very educated and erudite fellow nonetheless.

The Reverend and Mrs Ball had three children over time, named Augustine, Aidan, and Norwich, and then… and then…

Rumour was whispered among the parishioners. The Reverend Frederick Ball was to be promoted. People wouldn’t be at all surprised if he wasn’t to be consecrated as a Lord Bishop. But he wasn’t…

He became Canon Ball.