The Vicar Retires

Guest blogger, The Rev’d Humphrey Blytherington is Vicar of St Hilda’s, Little Snoring with All Saints, Great Snoring. He is a graduate of Plymouth University. He completed his studies for the ministry at Latimer Hall, Durham. He is married to Daphne and enjoys home brewing, model railroading and is an avid member of the Great Snoring Morris Dancers.

Well now lads, I expect you will have heard the news that was announced in the parish yesterday. That’s right, Daphne and I have decided to call it quits.

I’ve been thinking about the whole business for some time, I must admit. A couple of things have rather thrown me a googly. A while back you may remember Daff and Mrs Doyle came back from one of their jaunts to the continent and brought me a statue of St Therese of Lisieux. I didn’t have much time for all that Frenchy sort of thing and put the statue in the cupboard. Mrs Doyle kept putting it back on the mantel piece when she cleaned so I left it there.

Well, back in May you may remember I had a bit of a dodgy spell. Came over all queer. Couldn’t summon the energy to get out of bed. Huppo came around and we had a talk. He reckoned I was feeling a bit low, and I must admit I’ve been rather troubled by several things of late. This same sex marriage business has rather put the wind up me. Can’t figure out how the bishops could simply go along with it and not put up a fight. Then at the clergy meeting Lavinia was triumphing about it all and told me point blank that most of the bishops had been quietly in favor of homosexual rights for a long time.

So it got me to thinking about the whole matter a bit more. Then when the Romans elected this new Pope he seemed to be talking an awful lot of sense. I can’t sign up to the whole Roman Catholic palaver with kissing bones and wearing spatulas around your neck and so forth, but I do like the chap’s down to earth style.

Then the most rum thing happened. Hard to describe it really, and I suppose you’ll think I’ve gone completely round the bend, but when I was feeling a bit under the weather one night I couldn’t sleep and I woke up with the sense that there was a female in the room. I knew it wasn’t Daphne. She was by my side snoring like a chainsaw. So I sat up in bed and the moonlight came through the window and shone on that statue of St Therese of Lisieux. I’m sure it was no more than a co incidence, but Mrs Doyle must have put it there when cleaning and when the moonlight shone on it I suppose it all sounds rather creepy, but it didn’t feel that way to me. Instead I felt a sense of calm and a sort of energy all round the place if you know what I mean.

Next morning I was right as rain. Furthermore, I knew then that it was time to throw in the towel. I’ve felt for sometime a bit like my batteries were running down, so Daphne and I are off. We’ve found a rather nice cottage in Normandy–as it happens just down the road from Lisieux so we’re going to retire there and I expect I’ll have some time to do some painting. Good neck of the woods for that sort of thing. Lots of picturesque scenes round about those parts.

What’s that Kevin? Am I going to swim the Tiber? What you mean become Catholic? Oh good heavens no. I can’t see myself kissing the pope’s toe and all that. I expect I’ll toodle along to Mass with Daphne. After all, over there the Roman Church is rather like the C of E is here. The village church, the summer garden party and the Christmas bazaar. I ‘spect I’ll get involved in that sort of thing, but I can’t see myself joining the Church of Rome. Not immediately anyway.

  • Suzy

    Ah, Humphrey, you don’t know it, but you’re a goner. Have you heard of the new Anglican prelature???? Now if you’ll just get over your notions about toe kissing and not worry about scapulars (a lot of Catholics don’t wear scapulars) you’ll be far happier where the truth isn’t up for grades according to the fashions of the times.

  • BTP

    The vicar: he’s just this guy, you know?

  • tracymoschelspenst

    Aw, c’mon in, Vicar! The river water is just fine!

  • Absalom Solomon Hall

    Oh no!!! Please don’t tell me this is the last we’ll be hearing of the vicar!!!

  • Mary Ann Bernard

    I hope there will be more Vicar stories from Normandy.

  • Ryan Ellis

    I hope this isn’t the last installment!

  • cookasia

    This is terrific!!! How hilarious….

  • Linda Ludwig

    I’ll miss the Vicar, but this is a wonderful way to end the story!

  • Francis Brennan

    Down the road from Lisieux, eh? I bet the vicar’s going to be hit by one of those roses that a certain famous French nun promised to shower from heaven as soon as she arrived there…

  • the egyptian

    I just knew that statue would be trouble, please don’t abandon the dear man but keep up the story, something tells me he is an allegory for your conversion, and like you he still has a great life ahead of him, don’t let him hang there, it would not be the Christian thing to do

  • mike cliffson

    Does the Vicar already have a taste for normandy cider, or for calvados? I’d expect both, and of course it may be in the book or a post I never saw.
    Somehow I see him with a glass of the neighbour’s home-made and home-distilled, not the shop’s, calvados.
    But I might be wrong.

  • Sharon

    I hope we hear of the vicar from time to time. I bought his book for my Kindle and enjoyed it. He’s a nice old bloke – reminds me of my parish priest – except for the wife of course!

  • Charles Mac Kay

    “Snoring like a chainsaw,” had me in stitches. I would like to see more like Mrs Doyle


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