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Strange Times...


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In these times of utterly confused sexual dysphoria, I wrote the following cynical small tale some years ago.


The Strange Times of a Country Vicar

I had been in post as Vicar of St. Aethelstone’s. in a small rural village in darkest Norfolk for only two months and still finding my feet when George called me. Now George was an elderly farmer who somehow grubbed a living from his small farm, as had his father and grandfather before him.


“Well it’s like this Vicar” he wheezed, sat in my study over a pot of tea: “Since my Ethel passed on ten year ago, I’m lonely and I’ve decided to get married again!”.


“Congratulations, George!” I said, “And who, might I ask, is your intended bride?” “Oh that be Doris,” he replied “Lovely ol’ lass.”


I then moved on to the more technical matters: “ Tell me, George, does Doris live in the parish?” He looked confused.


“Live ‘ere, Vicar? Course she lives here! Born and bred too!”


“When may I meet Doris?” I asked. “Right now, Vicar, if you’ve a mind to.”


George went outside: some confusion and considerable noise followed and, eventually, he guided a large horse into my study!


“Say hello to the Vicar, Doris!” he said. She neighed and pawed my carpet, which being old and rather threadbare, didn’t improve it much.


To say I was stunned, perhaps understates the case: gobsmacked more like.


“George,” I spluttered, “Do I have this right? You wish to err, well marry your, horse?”


“That’s right, Vicar! Lovely ol’ girl!”


“But, George, you cannot marry a horse! There is no Anglican process for this!” I dread to think what the Bishop might say!”


“Well, that’s not right, Vicar! Arter all, today blokes is marrying blokes and gels is marrying gels. And me? I demand to marry Doris.”


“Sorry, George; can’t be done.” “Why?”

“Well, there is no part of the Christian creed which allows this; after all, we are governed in these matters by church laws.”


“Where does it say I can’t, then, Vicar?”


Now, this question was a stunner; simply because I could recall no actual prohibition about a man marrying his horse. I racked my brains; trust me to pick up a raving lunatic within two months of taking over the Parish! Then, I had an inspiration!


“Tell me, George; how old is Doris?”


“She be ten year, Vicar.”


I perceived a ray of light and a way out of this thorny dilemma!


“Well, I am really sorry, George however you cannot marry Doris as she is underage: she must be at least sixteen years old and until eighteen, must also have her parents’ permission. Are her mother and father still alive?”


“Oh dear no, Vicar! ‘er Dad, me ol’ stallion went to the knackers in Bury years back: and her Mum Dotty well the ol’ girl went the same way; pet food I suppose.”


“So there we are than: you could not marry Doris until she is eighteen at the earliest!”


“Oh well, said George, “ with a large sigh “Suppose I’ll have to wait about a bit!”


“May I make a suggestion, George?”


"You certainly can, Vicar.”


“Just live, shall we say in Sin: I won’t tell anyone!”


“What a lovely helpful bloke you are Vicar; that’s what I’ll do then.”


I heaved a sigh of relief: another satisfied parishioner went on his way: after I, an Anglican Vicar suggested he live in Sin: hardly my correct role, I suppose.


However, if you will forgive me here, it was clearly a matter of, well, horses for courses!
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