the joke is on me
the joke is on me

April 01, 2011

Dear friends,

  How time flies!

Indeed it was with some surprise that I awoke this morning to discover that not only is the month of April now upon us but so also that short-lived season of japes and pranks, April Fools Day.

    Being somewhat inclined to revert to childish ways at its mere mention I immediately hit upon a humorous ruse with which to enter into the frivolity of the occasion.
In time-honoured fashion I omitted to inform my good lady wife of my proposed antics knowing full well that she would pour cold water on my gleeful enthusiasm and suggest that my time would be better spent visiting a parishioner or preparing my sermon for Sunday.

    Salving my conscience with the adage that ‘all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’ I proceeded with my planned tomfoolery.

    Although we at St Cliff’s could never be accused of resisting the will of God (as did those ancient Egyptians) we have, of late, nevertheless been visited by a plague of our very own, though fortunately for the prayer ministry team, one that does not involve boils.

    Whilst some were inclined to view last summer’s infestation of greenfly as God’s judgement on our parish (for allowing the Morris Men to perform in the village square) this present affliction is of greater concern.

    The affliction I speak of has arrived in the form of litter that is delivered to us personally by a bunch of unruly youths who take great delight in throwing their unwanted refuse over the church wall. This is much to the annoyance of Mr Phillips, our gardener, who has made mention on more than one occasion of an alternative (and somewhat creative) use for his garden fork.

    Donning my cassock, but leaving it to sit atop my head, (you will need to employ your imagination to get the full effect) I headed for the crime scene and lay in wait for the inevitable arrival of these refuse reprobates in a bid to exact my mirthful revenge.

As with most churchyards, stories of ghostly goings on abound. The story of a headless priest is one such myth that has circulated throughout the village for many a year and my headless ecclesiastical appearance was designed to tap into this superstitious mumbo jumbo.

    Hearing footsteps on the pavement (my visibility somewhat diminished by the cassock) I lurched forward with ghoulish fervour, hoping to scare the proverbial pants off the offending youths as they rounded the corner. To my surprise, on pulling my ecclesiastical garment down so that I could enjoy the fruit of my prank, I instead found myself face to face with WPC Grimsdale who, unbeknownst to me, had been there all the time, quietly enjoying a five minute break on the bench the other side of the wall.

    April the first or no, she was not amused in the slightest and was steadfastly resistant to any
explanations by way of mitigating circumstances. As a result it was me (and not those ‘litter louts’) who received a caution for causing a public nuisance!

    It did not help matters that whilst the WPC was ‘booking’ yours truly the offending youths were brazenly depositing a fresh delivery of their rubbish into St Cliff’s hallowed grounds.

    It would seem that the net result of the morning’s unfortunate proceedings is that the joke is well and truly on me and am very tempted to reconsider Mr Phillips’ garden fork offer.

    But then again, perhaps best if I just keep this one under my hat or my good lady wife will assuredly have a veritable field day.

    Onward and upward.

    Derek