A Christmas message from the Very Reverend Archbishop of Toad-in-the-Wold, Dr Robert Carolgees

OMG…it’s nearly Christmas! How excited are we here at Monkeybroth Towers? Very, that’s how much. Which is a lot.

We’ve had a brilliant time decorating the office – in fact we’ve never laughed so much especially when Barry from Accounts fell off the stepladder through a suspiciously-left-open window. He plunged three floors down to his death, but it’s what he would have wanted. They’ll be picking bits of his Reindeer-themed Christmas sweater out of the cracks in the pavement for months to come. Fantastic stuff. It all happened this morning, but we can’t grieve Barry’s sad demise for ever. Onwards and upwards eh? although in Barry’s case it was more outwards and downwards.

Anyway, in the spirit of the festive season here’s a special Christmas message from the Very Right Reverend Dr Robert Carolgees.

A special Christmas message from the Very Right Reverend Archbishop of Toad-in-the-Wold, Dr Robert Carolgees

Mmmm… you catch me enjoying a rare break from my ecclesiastical duties, sipping on what my live-in help Gumpert rather optimistically billed as a café latte. All froth and not much substance, a description I could happily divert to the lithe South American who shares my home. Christmas is, of course, a special moment for Christians around the globe but I wonder how many realise that it’s a time of great significance for badgers too? I like to think of myself as being progressive; I embrace new church theories and investigations into the finer point of scripture with an open mind and open legs.

The Catholic Church has led many such investigations which, as many readers will know, led to many aubergines being beautified and declared as saints as late as 1978. The church has also sought to martyrize a single colony of Leatherback Turtles who were found adrift and quite dead off the coast of Bora Bora in 1992. History fans will recall that the quite dead mammals were floating in the shape of the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. As hungry seagulls swooped to peck out the eyes of the deceased flotilla of amphibious marine mammals, many observers likened them to small white flying Roman soldiers, honking and barracking the whole scene.

Regular readers of this column will know that my thoughts are likely to be interrupted any minute now by Gumpert and they won’t be disappointed to hear that at that very minute my sinewy live-in help burst into my conservatory-cum-nook brandishing what appeared to be a bespangled star with a limp bit of thread hanging rather droopily from a hook at the top. On closer inspection it transpired that the object was actually in fact a bespangled star with a limp bit of thread hanging rather droopily from a hook at the top.

Gumpert’s face was positively beetroot in colour and  in taste as I was to later discover, as he stomped towards my high back leather chair, so kindly provided to me by my parishioners. His flimsy cotton t-shirt was also ripped just above his left breast I noticed, before my gaze was interrupted by the sight of the star flying through the air towards my torso. Thankfully Gumpert’s normally trusty aim was askew on this occasion and the star landed gently onto the soft Persian carpet, so kindly provided to me by my parishioners, beneath my slippered feet.

Gumpert had moodily grunted his plans to me that morning and these were confirmed by his earlier thrashings and tossings in the small cupboard under the stairs where the Christmas decorations are stored.

He had a fine film of perspiration on his head and shoulders and I noticed a few drips were now starting to weave their way down the curve of his neck into the nook nestling above his by now exposed collar bone. Given Gumpert’s gruntings that morning I had an idea that he was now engaged in erecting our newly bought Norway Spruce Christmas tree and had spent much of the previous two hours rummaging around for the festive baubles and nick-knacks.

As Gumpert stomped moodily towards the drawing room I resigned myself to the task of curing whatever was clearly ailing him. As regular readers will know I am normally confronted by utter chaos of some kind – flapping underpants on the clothes line or angry wasps greedily slurping up the mess left behind by Gumpert’s efforts to make jam and toast. However, on this occasion the scene in the drawing room was one of festive serenity. Gumpert’s sweaty efforts had, for once, managed to produce a great erection. The tree stood tall and tumescent in the winter half-light and I could see that Gumpert had managed to get his baubles out and was clearly proud of them as they rested gently atop the tree’s lower boughs.

Irked though I was by having to place on hold the particular knotty seven across in that morning’s Guardian, I was intrigued to understand the underlying cause of Gumpert’s clear disgruntlement. As he rolled one of his foul-smelling Moroccan cigarillos, Gumpert nodded grumpily towards the aforementioned star which was now resting on the solid oak coffee table, so kindly provided to me by my parishioners. I understood the root cause of his ire, but how was I, at just 5ft 6ins in my stockinginged feet, going to be able to place the star in its rightful place at the top of the festive horticultural item?

At that very moment the kitchen behind me was bathed in a strange, ethereal light. I do believe the Lord spoke to me at that very moment. As I turned to drink in the glorious illumination I noticed that the light was concentrating on a pair of stepladders left behind by one of the tradesmen who had been employed by Gumpert to clear out some outbuilding guttering. The afternoon, if I recall, had turned into a quite a late night for the pair as I believe Gumpert had asked his new found friend to help clear out his back cupboard. There was certainly much grunting and groaning emanating from Gumpert’s room as the two men went hard at the task in hand throughout most of that evening.

As the light glinted off the stepladder my path suddenly became clear. Why, by just mounting the stepladder near to the tree I could climb up and place the star atop the festive tree. What could have taken many days of mental problem solving had been resolved in a matter of moments! Verily the Lord doth move in mysterious ways!

The Very Right Reverend Dr Robert Carolgees will be leading a special Christmas Eve service from 4pm until 6pm at the St David of Essex Church, Oddstain, Biffordshire. The service is not suitable for those with light-sensitive epilepsy or a fear of ungulates.

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