Even in a small Country Parish there are moments of indescribable rush and confusion. Take a Sunday when the Vicar is away on holiday. There is a parson to be fetched for the 8 0′ clock and to be taken home afterwards. If he lives 5 miles away that means 20 miles to go. The Vestments and the linen have to be tidied away leaving only time for a hurried breakfast. Sunday School takes place at 10 and I am there to open it and read the prayers. On this occasion a representative from a Missionary Society is coming to take Matins and
I have to be at Wycombe to meet his train at 10.25. I dash over there, only to find he has not arrived. Coming home my radiator boils and I have to beg water from a house. I ring Mr Bacon who agrees to read the service. I am just in time to get back to the Parish Room to close Sunday School and then comes the idea of getting the organist to give a recital instead of the sermon. And so the arrangements go smoothly on.
Another Sunday the visiting Parson sent me word at 2.30pm that he felt ill and would be unable to take the Children’s Service at 3. On rushing down to the Church I found that a large number of parents had come with their children so the only thing to do was to open the Parish Room and invite them all in there for hymns, prayers and intercessions. Being quite unprepared it was something of an ordeal.
Dr Chennells, old and somewhat infirm – occasionally did duty when the Vicar was away. All arrangements had been made for him to officiate at a wedding and I had laid out the Registers in the Vestry. He asked me to be present and I took up my position in a pew at the back of the Church to say the responses. As the happy couple came down the aisle I smiled at them and the bridegroom held out his hand. I gripped his in a congratulatory grasp only to find a 2/6 tip left in my palm!
On putting away the Registers I discovered that Dr Chennells had allowed the couple to sign in the wrong place. Before going away the Vicar had filled in the Certificate for 2 Weddings and today’s couple had put their signatures to the wrong certificate. This had to be dealt with at once.
When the Vicar was away
Things always seemed to go wrong when the Vicar went away.
Tiresome little things such as the organ refusing to function in the middle of the service. On that occasion we sang the hymns unaccompanied, assisted by the queer noises and finger clipping on the part of the organist.
One evening, during a thunderstorm, the lights fused and we were left in almost complete darkness.