From our church mag – July

The only way is Essex Cornwall

Sorry to miss you in the June mag. I got the weeks wrong and I didn’t meet the deadline. This July, my offering is what you should have seen in June, give or take a few embellishments and updates along the way.

Actually, this month’s column is nothing to do with Cornwall. It’s just that I created a cartoon for something to do with that fine county (where daughter Oholibama will celebrate her forthcoming nuptials)  yesterday last month and as I thought it’s better than the usual rubbish I use, it would be a shame not to share it more widely. This is the last reference to a bride cutting the pasty you’ll read in this article.

I hope she saved on the VAT and bought a cold one. Yaay for the tory/liberal alliance (couldn’t organise a you know what in a brewery) scrapping the pasty tax. An ill-thought piece of budget nonsense if there was one. Stick it on caviar and Eton mess instead. (Bit of politics there, as Ben Elton used to say when he was funny).

I love it when technology doesn’t behave quite as it should. Or possibly it’s more accurate to say when people don’t use it as intended. Do you? Frequently at St. John’s when either the projector page down button or the human doesn’t co-operate, we’re left in limbo with no or the wrong song words on the wall. Some go quiet, some of us go la la la and the music group carry on merrily since they’re all word perfect in every hymn in the universe. It’s those little human moments, flawed as we are, that make the difference between going through the motions and spontaneity. Well I like them. Love them in fact.

Only the other day, a lady on the train was trying to track down the whereabouts of a work colleague who had left her mobile phone at one of their employer’s sites. She was informing her friend that it wasn’t until she’d sent the text message letting the colleague know where to find her telephone that she realised the futility of her action.

Just to balance the politics, as Richard Littlejohn would write – you couldn’t make it up.

That’s like my writing. Every month before submitting another Off the Wall I diligently check my spelling (the old fashioned way, not Spellchecker) yet every month I find a typo or two once the magerzine has been printed. They make me chuckle, particularly when they cast doubt on the meaning of what I’ve written. Ah well, I’m only human.

You can bet now that I’ve mentioned typos, I’ll be extra vigilant this month, because I’ll suspect you’ll all think they’re deliberate if I leave any mistakes in.

The other week I was sitting near Julian during the 11am service and when it came to the physical jerks song, he made me do the actions. I didn’t have a lot of choice as where he and Perry’s wife were sitting was row 2 with nobody in front of us. I felt very exposed, but I put a brave face on it as Jerichos do in adversity and I survived to promise myself a back row seat next time. I let it be known to Mr. Patching that I would get my own back through the medium of the written word. The pen, as they say, is mightier than the sword. However, this is a keyboard, not a pen, and besides, I can’t do it. My rapier like wit cannoy come up with a single thing to get him on. Not when he is single handedly entertaining some 97 of Langdon Hills’s most hardened adolescents at the Friday youth club. I know from my time in days of yore when Sue White was the only one that had a hope of controlling the little herberts. Some of the worse miscreants were the church kids.

Julian, you’re alright by me. For a catholic. (LOL)

Jezebel, Cainetta, Cainetta’s husband to be (Honest Abe to anyone not in the know) and I have been to St. Mary’s recently to hear Cainetta’s banns read. Abe’s too. It was lovely that St. Mary’s is as welcoming as ever, Jezebel (Mrs Jericho to anyone not in the know) mentioned to me in passing. It reminded me of our first time there when we erroneously arrived for matins instead of the family service nigh on 27 years ago and the reason why, give or take a couple of blips, we’ve stayed. It’s just the most brilliantest parish with the most brilliantest Christian people in it in the world. Oholibama was but a babe in arms at the time. Now, Jezebel and I are seeing the pair of them off within weeks of each other. Moreen asked if I’m getting excited about giving them away, but to be truthful, with what it’s costing us, giving them away is like when you win a free holiday then find out you have to pay your own travel costs.

27 years. Who’d Adam and Eve it? Jezebel and I have seen off 2 rectors, a Church Army officer, umpteen curates and any number of lay readers in our time. Obviously one of our readers with a liking for the Bard of Avon has had the resilience to stay. He said I was infamous when introducing me to a member of the St. Mary’s choir during the peace not long ago. It’s been ages since I’ve had such a wonderful compliment. There’s Ken, too, another stayer. Apparently he was quite nervous on his first service after licencing, but his nerves went, he said, when I spotted him all robed up and said to him as he walked by, “Nice dress.”

And now, I learn, we’re to have a new curate with a young family of his own. Mark, Lydia, Caitlin and Mya. Let me be among the first to welcome them to Langdon Hills. I’m sure we’ll love them equally as much as those who have gone on before. I’ll give you 3 months to settle in, Mark, then watch out. Your mistakes will be fair game and any really daft ones WILL find their way into this column.

God bless your ministry with us richly. Welcome.

I’m Ben Jericho, telling it like it is, E&OE.

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