It would appear that I am at present suffering from a decidedly irritating condition affecting my feet that even the most eminent of chiropodists would find themselves stretched to the limits of their capabilities attempting to remedy. It is this. Whenever a situation presents itself through which I might achieve some brief moment of glory, as surely as night follows day, I can be guaranteed to ‘put my foot in it’.
The opportunity to present a creative alternative to Halloween was uppermost in the minds of St Cliff’s Evangelism Committee when they proposed the tenuously titled ‘Hallo-lujah-een Party’ not only in a thinly veiled attempt to keep all potential trick and treating pranksters and egg throwers within the confines of the building (and not outside like last year where they ‘omeletted’ the front porch with enough eggs to give a vex a vegan). This situation was exacerbated by the surprisingly unseasonable tropical heat wave that visited the parish the very next morning and gave new meaning to the expression ‘high church’.
The lure of copious supplies of free food and Marvo – ‘it’s not magic, it’s just an illusion’ – the Christian conjuror did the trick, so to speak, and there probably wasn’t a home in the locale which wasn’t devoid of offspring for that particular evening.
I can only put what happened next down to the frivolous party atmosphere that filled St Cliff’s and, with all things going smoothly, I mischievously took my leave to play a prank on Mrs Willoughby who was, or so I thought, engaged in her weekly clean of the crypt.
Donning a somewhat ghoulish mask that I had confiscated from young Jason Potter who had planned to appear as a deformed shepherd in last year’s nativity, I hid behind a tombstone and prepared to pounce.
I did not have long to wait.
Footsteps on the stony floor were my signal, and with much ghostly relish I leapt to my feet with a wail that would have caused the infamous Hound of the Baskervilles to turn on its tail.
If only it had been a dog that I had nearly frightened the socks off, or even Mrs Willoughby.
Sadly it was neither.
Had I but even the faintest inkling that the verger would take it upon himself to give the assembled children a whirlwind tour of St Cliff’s while Marvo went to look for his missing white rabbit then I would have pulled the plug on my ghoulish enterprise poste haste.
This was not to be and I now fear that I will have to use our forthcoming Reconciliation Service to try to make my own peace with the parents of these traumatised youngsters.
Onward and upward