Thought of the week
With the extremely and hugely reverend Archbishop of Toad-in-the-Wold, Dr Robert Carolgees…
As I recline in my antique calf-leather backed oak chair drinking in the view afforded me from the open rolling fields and open rolling cattle of the Toad-in-the-Wold countryside, I am minded of the church’s stance on Formula One racing.
There is many a passage in scripture which depicts the art of racing around a bit of tarmac at high speed while women, many of them scarlet and wanton, parade around in the ‘pits’ in skimpy outfits gleefully applying motor oil to rubbing mechanical parts.
Perhaps the most famous of these comes from Psalm 1:1 Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. Not one other piece of scripture nor, I feel suitably emboldened to state, any other piece of classical literature quite sums up Jensen Button’s first place podium finish at the 2009 Monaco Grand Prix so succinctly.
As I mused, I was rudely interrupted by the soft drips of hot sweat from my live-in helper Gumpert’s brow who had stolen up to my desk in my conservatory-cum-nook. It had been the hottest day of a rather disappointingly moist summer and Gumpert was taking full advantage. I had heard him muttering and espousing all number of Spanish oaths just moments before as he rummaged through his antique teak wardrobe, so kindly provided to me by my parishioners, from his adjacent bedroom and living quarters.
His aim, as I was later to discover, had been to retrieve his pair of cut off denim shorts which had lain dormant, muddled in a heap of other assorted clothing, since he had donned them to bask in that unseasonal burst of sunshine which Biffordshire had so enjoyed towards the end the April just passed.
The soft drips emanating from my South American domestic’s brow now increased in their frequency as he stood there in his retrieved denim shorts and tight-fitting vest singlet. Knowing Gumpert intimately I realised at once that something had irked his ire, and resigned myself to putting on hold that morning’s Guardian crossword, as I sought to discover the source of his disgruntlement.
So enraged was he that he could barely talk and instead turned away from my desk and stomped childishly towards the landing. I noticed as he began to descend the stairs a pair of woolly leg warmers had been left casually draped over the bannisters. I could only surmise that the leg warmers had been left by one of Gumpert’s late night guests from the village, and I reminded myself to take issue with my lithe domestic about their presence. While my approach to scripture and biblical studies is renowned for its leniency, some might suggest I even go as far as being lassiez-fare about preaching the word of God during daylight hours; I cannot and will not tolerate leg warmers, woolly or otherwise in the Lord’s house.
Determined to be able to enjoy the afternoon, I followed Gumpert downstairs in a bid to offer him some much needed relief. He was, by now, slumped on the leather sofa, so generously provided to me by my parishioners, and was rolling one of his foul smelling cigarillos as his legs, draped over the arm of the sofa, bobbed up and down in clear and unbridled agitation.
Rather than lowering himself to talk to me, the willowy South American firebrand pursed his lips together to emit a rather soft raspberry at me before gesticulating with his elbow towards the downstairs lavatory.
It is, I confess, not a room I am overly familiar with, as I prefer the more luxuriant comforts of the bathroom on the third floor of my parochial house. It’s where the ordered-in toilet roll is kept and its skylight provides some breathtaking views of the crests of the renowned Biffordshire Downs. It’s a view best enjoyed while standing on tip toes with your feet firmly pressed against the foot of the bidet.
As I approached the downstairs lavatory, the source of Gumpert’s fury became quickly apparent to me. The cold water tap to the sinkette was clearly positioned to the fully on setting as streams of water were gushing all around the basin’s bowl, gurgling and spluttering up the sides and splashing over onto the carpet as it did so. It was a torrential rush of white water terribleness and I knew that dawdling would only moisten the deep shag pile carpet still further.
As I stepped back to draw up some plans to tackle the clearly stuck fast tap my eye was drawn through the patio doors by a glint emanating through the garden shed’s open door.
I do believe the Lord spoke to me at that very moment. For just at that moment, a strange and ethereal light had struck the metal shaft of a monkey wrench whose handle was poking, strong and with great tumescence from the rather tatty wooden tool box resting near the door of the shed. My path became clear.
I moved briskly and with renewed vigour towards the shed where I firmly grasped the shaft of the tool. It was most impressive and was heavier than I imagined. So impressive was it in girth and in length that I knew it would be the perfect instrument for me to tackle the onerous task ahead.
I moved back into the downstairs lavatory and with Gumpert’s loud tuts almost drowning out the sound of the raging torrent in front of me, I manoeuvred the tool around the stuck tap and simply, and without fuss, managed to turn the tap securely to the off position.
What surely would have taken many hours and the necessary but endless vetting of any number of tradesmen had been resolved in a matter of moments!
Verily the Lord doth move in mysterious ways!
Barry, can you write something up as a sign off line for that new Archbishop post? Nah it’s for Monkeybroth…What? No Monkeybroth. Cheers. You going out Saturday? Yeah thought I’d try that new Indian on the High Street….