The vicar is away for several weeks’ holidays. That means anyone phoning the vicarage with queries is asked to phone me as church warden. I don’t mind. Happy to help. Variety is the spice of life, and I get a wide variety of calls.
First call of the hols – yesterday
Unknown mobile, a lady’s voice:
Hallo. Do you spik Englisch or Cherman?
G in G:
Würden Sie lieber auf Deutsch reden?
WE speak in German. The caller is one of the local undertakers. An English lady has recently died. As she’s not Catholic, the local Catholic priest won’t bury her. Can the Anglican priest come to … Cemetery this Friday and bury her ashes in an urn?
G in G:
No. He’s on holiday abroad this month. How urgent is it?
It’s not urgent. Her ashes are in an urn.
A very practical, German answer.
I email the vicar and cc: the undertaker to assess next steps.
Today the untertaker writes back to advise the local Catholic priest will, after all, bury the English lady’s ashes. Very kind of him.
This afternoon I decide to sit in the library in the city centre in order to:
- Read the Torygraph
- Write my diary
- Think of some blog writing to plan for my avid readers thereof
Another phone call from an unknown mobile number. It’s a semi-regular member of congregation.
Can the vicar countersign some passport and birth certificate documentation, please?
G in G:
No. He’s on holiday this month. What’s the situation? Maybe I can help?
It turns out:
- The fiance is a national of country X
- but was born in country Y
- and also has a passport of country Z
Fiancee is a German national, but has decided that she and fiance will get married in Caribbean country XX, which requires about 300 copies of doxs (countersigned by a doctor, teacher, priest or person of similar standing) in order for a marriage to take place there. But if all else fails, they will marry in a German registry office to make it all legal.
G in G:
Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrright, I think I understand. Where are you right now?
Semi-regular member of congregation (SMOC):
We’re at the airport.
G in G:
If you’d like to come to the library in the city centre, I can take a look and countersign.
SMOC’s fiance turns up thirty minutes later. We sit in the library. I have a brainwave.
Let’s jump in your car and head to the church. We have a selection of rubber stamps there. That’ll make everything look more official .
Twenty minutes later we reach the church office. I grab the official rubber stamps and the ink pad. I take a sheet of A4 paper from the photocopier.
Thump, thump! Thump, thump!
For a moment, I felt like I was an immigration official at passport control.
I show the sample rubber stamps to SMOC and fiance. They are happy.
I take the copies of passport and driving licence. Fountain pen out, I write:
I open the ink pad again.
Church rubber stamp next to my signature and at the bottom of the page. Off you go!
Have a rubbery day, won’t you!