Friday, 11 April 2008

To verge - a grammar

Below we decline the verb 'to verge' as it is understood and practised in the cathedral, and provide a translation for the perplexed:

I verge = I wear a frock and carry a big stick
You (sing.) verge= Sometimes I let other people carry lesser sticks.
He/she/it verges= These days, the quality of vergers ain't what it used to be
We verge = But it's competitive, not collaborative.
You (pl.) verge = On big occasions, vergers hunt in packs
They verge - on the ridiculous.

The Verger!

How can we continue without mentioning the most important character in not just this Cathedral, but in any – the Dean’s Verger. Our Dean’s Verger, Robert McDougall, or Old Bert as he is usually referred, has been a verger for over forty years, although only at our Cathedral for eight. Appointed in a hurry to replace the former DV who had met with a unfortunate accident while trying to change a light bulb from the top of a precariously-balanced ladder atop the organ screen, Bert’s main qualifications were that he was available, and cheap. Rumour has it that he was only available due to being asked to leave his previous Cathedral, following being caught in the sacristy with some plant-life not considered entirely legal by the authorities. It was made worse by the fact that he was selling this to the bellringers, always a weird lot. However, these rumours could not be substantiated and he came with a glowing reference. This in itself was suspicious! Bert started life in the Royal Navy, having left home as soon as legally possible. Annoyed at there not being a current world war in which to fight, he undertook his service with determined enthusiasm. He was present at nuclear weapon testing in the Pacific in the 1950s although would have preferred to test these weapons nearer home, probably somewhere in the Rhine Valley. Upon discharge he got a job as verger at a small parish church in Yorkshire and worked his way up. Bert smokes like a train and is renowned for his dislike of the assistant organist with whom a constant battle is fought. On one occasion he spent many hours rearranging the chairs in the nave, interspersing newly-purchased plastic folding ones with the permanent wooden ones so that, when viewed from the organ loft, they spelled a somewhat rude instruction. This dislike of one organist is matched by an equal dislike of most of the other people in the Cathedral, except for the bellringers, with whom Bert has an odd affinity. It is hoped that Bert's retirement party will be held very soon.

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Love and Peas

This from the magnificent Dave Walker. His cartoons are scissored out of the Church Times each week with a fervour bordering on the religious, and they are attached by nuns to the inside of the sacristy door. (It causes the Dean endless irritation that by the time the CT gets to him, there is a big hole in the middle. But as the Canon Theologian once said, "Life is like a Polo mint...")

cartoon from

Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.

Dubious Religious Tat #2 Football Jesus

As the website declares without any apparent irony, "Handpainted resin statues on a solid wood base are the perfect gift for every young Catholic athlete. These statues portray Jesus actively participating with boys and girls in a variety of sports. A wonderful way to reinforce Jesus "as friend" in everyday activities. Sizes vary from 4 3/4 to 6 1/2 inches."

We are simply grateful that we Anglicans are happier to consider Jesus less as a friend, and more as a tame tax-accountant - efficient, helpful, on-the-christmas-card-list, but not someone you'd necessarily want to invite to dinner. Or encase in resin and put on your mantlepiece.

En Vacances

Harriet Goose, the Cathedral's Deputy-Under-Sub Publications Editor (With Special Responsibility for Web Design, Print Media and All the Important Things) has been spotted by one of the retired wing-commanders who frequent the Cathedral. She has been en vacances in bracing Bridlington, and was seen walking along the Front with her parents, with all parties dressed in matching orange cagoules, with hoods up, and the little nylon threads tied in bows under their chins. Which would be touching if she hadn't hinted that she was going to St Tropez, and implied that she would be accompanied by one of the loucher (and rather sexually ambiguous) Lay Clerks, who bears an unfortunate resemblance to Jeffrey Archer but with floppy public-schoolboy hair.

Perhaps she and her parents belong to a cult, whisper some fo the concerned voices in the Cathedral. Might it be time to inform the Sub-Dean who may engage in acts of muscular prayer and deliverance?
Watch this space.

The knowledge ...

As he who knows where all the bodies are buried, I feel the time has come to have some input here, just in case there are those reading this who feel this blog may be an entire work of fiction! Mind you, burying anything at all in or around this Cathedral is problematic. In some areas the somewhat unstable medieval foundations make any excavations a health and safety nightmare, and in others the presence of water necessitates the use of scuba gear! In fact, in the graveyard is so full of flowing water that the headstones no longer bear any relevance to what lies beneath – a bit embarrassing when we need to open a grave to bury someone in a double plot and someone else has moved in!

But anyway, I digress … [more to come]