sermon shocks churchgoers
The congregation of St Stephen’s have expressed astonishment at an impromptu sermon given by Joe Grundy during Morning Service last Sunday.
Claiming ‘the spirits have called me to speak from the heart', Mr Grundy, 94, took as his text the ‘Grundy Apocrypha’, which he said gave his family rights that could not be overturned.
‘Yea, so it is writ, even unto the fourth and fifth generations, that Grundys shall be given dominion over Grange Farm, and shall be suffered to husband their ferrets wheresoever they may choose, even unto the master bedchamber,’ he read.
‘And it is further writ that Grundys shall be entitled to their tithes and compensation from the land of Ambridge, whosoever may own it, even if it be Aldridges. And such tithes may include such portion as a brace of pheasants in due season. And each generation, even unto the little children, shall be taught by their grandfathers to befuddle such pheasants with Bulgarian whisky, for the easier apportionment of said tithe, even though their father be a gamekeeper and be moved to mortal anger when he shall find it out.’
Mr Grundy concluded with a dire warning. ‘If Grundys be not allowed to dwell in Grange Farm, the house of their forefathers, their souls shall haunt the earth, and those who show them no mercy shall be condemned to perpetual torment, especially if their name be Oliver and Caroline Sterling. Amen.’
Worshippers said the outburst was ‘completely inappropriate’ and were surprised that the vicar did not intervene.
‘Apocrypha, my eye,’ said one. ‘Joe said it was an ancient document found in a family Bible, but I could clearly see it was scribbled on the back page of Ferrets Magazine.’
The Revd Alan Franks admitted that the sermon was ‘a little more controversial’ than expected. ‘But to be honest, I get tired trying to think of nice things to say about farmers every week, so Joe’s offer to speak was a relief,’ he said. ‘I do feel sorry for Clarrie Grundy though. She’s so mortified she’s resigned from the flower rota.’
Lawyer ‘concerned’ by Titchener jail incident
Helen Titchener’s barrister says she is worried by reports this week of an attempted suicide at the mother-and-baby custody unit where her client is being held on remand.
‘Mrs Titchener has told her family she was very shaken by the incident, as she was good friends with Kaz, the young woman who was driven to this desperate action,’ said Anna Tregorran. ‘It only shows how vital it is that my client is released as soon as possible. There’s only so much anyone can take, being locked up with Helen. I should know; she still won’t talk to me. Our meetings are a nightmare. Unfortunately, I’ve been a bit busy as my ex has asked for a divorce and I’ve taken to drink. But perhaps this tragic event will be a wake-up call for both of us. Time is running out. And so is my secret stash of Scotch.’
Police crack down on youthful antics
Borsetshire’s Rural Crime Unit (PC Harrison Burns) warned this week that he will show ‘zero tolerance’ to alcohol-fuelled antics over August Bank Holiday.
‘We know that emotions are running high, with exam results coming out,’ he said at a press briefing. ‘But this is no excuse for criminal behaviour.’
PC Burns said a 16-year-old from Lower Loxley had been returned to his home ‘in a drunken stupor’ after receiving a poor set of GCSEs. ‘It seems this young man’s twin sister had done very well, which was difficult for him, said PC Burns. ‘But it is never acceptable to throw up into a policeman’s hat. It took Fallon hours to get the smell out.’
And a party for fruit-pickers at Home Farm was broken up after thousands of pounds’ worth of damage was caused to a new no-till drilling machine in a ‘silly prank’.
‘It was lucky no-one was hurt in this incident, where Mrs Carter drove the tractor at speed round the yard, egged on by Josh and Pip Archer,’ said PC Burns. ‘They should all know better, although Miss Archer said it only proved her point that Alice wasn’t a proper farmer.’
PC Burns also had harsh words for young lovers who might be tempted by the hot weather to frolic al fresco. ‘An Ambridge resident out walking by the Am opposite Bert Fry’s bungalow was alerted by panting noises coming from his garden,’ he said. ‘After cutting down some foliage and using high-powered binoculars, she was able to confirm it was a couple in flagrante. Appalled, she shouted at them to stop but the young man said: “Sorry love, I’d say join the queue, but me and Pip are exclusive now!”
‘It is never a good idea to get carried away outdoors,’ said PC Burns. ‘Especially if your back goes into spasm just as a group of mushroom foragers turns up. Not that I would know of course. Mind how you go now.’
Competition hots up for produce prizes
With the annual Flower & Produce Show nearly upon us, how are Ambridge’s cooks, gardeners and crafters planning to catch the eye of the judges?
• Henry Titchener (aged 5): ‘My Daddy made me a golden crown for ‘Best Hat Made By A Child’. He said if I made it I wouldn’t win and I have to learn that you do whatever it takes to win. Like at cricket. He said I am his little prince. But I’d rather be a donkey like on the beach at Tenby with Granny Pat.’
• Christine Barford: ‘This year I’m sticking to what I know: my famous scones. Last year’s ginger biscuits weren’t everyone’s favourite. But they came in very handy as hardcore in Lynda Snell’s new garden!’
• Keira Grundy (aged 5): ‘My hat is like a chimney pot and it’s got real flowers in it. My brother George says it won’t win because I’m a girl. But at least I don’t steal peasants like him and Granddad. Oops, I’m not supposed to tell.’
• Carol Tregorran: ‘Bert Fry will be masterminding my entry as usual. His green beans are a thing of wonder this year. But I think it would be nice to have a new prize in honour of his dear late wife Freda. What, though? She excelled in so many categories: cakes, pies, rhubarb gin… do you have any bright ideas?’
(Over to you, readers! Please send your suggestions for the Freda Fry Award to the Ambridge Observer office. Ed).
Letter to the Editor
I am writing to cancel the ‘Situation vacant’ advertisement I booked for next week’s issue. I have already found a suitable nanny to look after my son Henry and baby Gideon, when the poor little mite is liberated from the so-called ‘care’ of his so-called ‘mother’.
Charlotte (the successful candidate) is tender-hearted, sensitive, extremely gullible and asks no awkward questions. I have a feeling she will be the perfect fit for our family.
Rob Titchener, Blossom Hill Cottage