IT WAS the Olympics this week, in case anyone missed it, and the achievements in Rio inspired more than just sporting prowess.
“Clergy were brought in to calm waves on Rio Olympic lake” (Richard Barnes); “The Vatican’s rowers arrived at Rio a little unprepared for their intended entry in the double sculls” (Jonathan Haigh); “Fr Henry was practising to be cox in the slow slalom in the 2020 Olympics” (Bridget Swan); “No wonder Morris and Graham looked so serene: no one told them they were heading for the kayak K1 course” (Vicky Lundberg); and “The last competitors in the coxless Olympic trials seemed to be weeks behind the winners” (Chris Coupe).
Other contemporary references: “Priesty McPriestface” (Richard Barnes); “Two illegal immigrants, heavily disguised, have been spotted after evading the Border Force cutters and attempting to land in a creek on the south coast” (Jonathan Haigh); and “If he’d known about the cuts, he’d never have agreed to be chaplain to the UK Border Force” (Ray Morris).
A few at random: “When Fr Smith’s congregation had started raising money to send a missionary to the Congo, he had no idea that they meant him” (George Frost); “The Mikado promised something amusing with boiling oil in it if they didn’t get a move on” (Bridget Swan); and “Surely Fr John should look rather more stern” (John Saxbee).
Then there were the pedestrian entries: “I could, of course, but walking on water is so first-century” (Richard Barnes); “Think you can walk from here, Father?” (Bridget Swan); and “Stop when you get tired, and I’ll walk the rest of the way” (Tom Page).
And some classics: “He was having great fun! Pity he hadn’t realised that this was the River Styx and his boatman’s name was Charon” (Alison Rollin); “Charon here is taking me to my new parish in the sticks” (M. J. Leppard).
There were several from Patrick Irwin, among them: “Security guards at Henley adopted innovative disguises”; “The Norfolk Broads meet Walsingham”; “Fr Alberic had been coxing an Eight, but only the stroke could put up with his incessant recitation of the rosary”; “In the old days there had been a brass band and the local lifeboat in attendance for the annual Sea Sunday service, but this was Austerity Britain”; and “The Glastonbury pilgrimage was not unduly disrupted by the flooding in Somerset.”
More at random: “Toad and Ratty took to the river in the guise of Rowed and Hatty” (Michael Foster); “Somewhat behind the Oxbridge teams came the stately barque of St Peter (Anglican Mode)” (Richard Strudwick); “I’m sure at least one of us should look where we’re going?” (John Pearson); and “Local mayor in row with vicar” (Tom Page).
Among our favourites: “Owing to cutbacks, there are now only two men in a boat” (Chris Coupe); “Massing about on the river” (John Saxbee); “Two ducks and a photographer. Sea Sunday hasn’t quite worked here, has it ?” (Eric Lishman); “Great Britain won a gold medal in the fancy-dress sculling competition” (Patrick Irwin); and “Eventually the Revd Potts had to concede that the damp was getting out of hand” (George Frost).
Our thanks to all who sent in entries, and to Divine, who kindly supply prizes of their Fairtrade chocolate: www.divinechocolate.com. We have chosen two winners this week.