WERE the Church Times Caption Competition a democratic enterprise, one entry would be a clear winner: “Quick! Follow that star!” It’s good, but we didn’t fancy dividing the chocolate prize up between so many entrants. Congratulations, though, to all who sent it in.
There were plenty of other entries: “You want to get to Paradise? Well I wouldn’t have started from here” (George Frost); “At Worcester, the traffic wardens like to dress up for Christmas” (Patrick Irwin); “Your annual service? Christmas Eve, 11.30 p.m.” (John Saxbee); and “This was a new interpretation of the role of spiritual director” (Michael Foster).
There were several entries about vesture, naturally enough, including: “Fr John has been told that cars are good in vestments” (John Saxbee); ”Do I look like a car-park attendant?” (Chris Coupe); “The Dean had forgotten his high-viz jacket” (Dennis Steer); “Sorry, sir, there wouldn’t be room for you wearing that big coat” (Richard Hough); and “If you think I look like Vivienne Westwood, you should try St Peter’s down the road” (Eric Lishman).
Then there were the directions: “Take the left lane for our drive-through communion service, but if you have ordered take-away carols, keep straight ahead” (Daphne Foster); “Enter by the narrow gate” (Valerie Budd); “Straight on for the reproduction of The Creation of Adam from the Sistine Chapel” (Ray Morris); and “Go past the Dog and Hammer, turn left at the Railway Inn, go as far at the Drunken Bishop, and the Convent of the Sisters of Total Abstention is on the left” (Eric Lishman).
Also: “Big. Built of stone. Large tower. You can’t miss it” (Bridget Swan); ”Cathedral? Yes, I’m sure there’s one around here; try down there” (Neil Potter); and “Down there is a dead end. In fact, it’s the cathedral’’ (Peter Walker).
It wasn’t all about directions: “Could you get me to the doctor’s? My back’s gone” (Eric Lishman); “Eating someone else’s doughnut through a car window can be so undignified” (Chris Coupe); “Parking is that way. Do you mind turning up your heater first, though, so I can unfreeze my lips?” (Marcus Booth); “Stop! My maniple is trapped
in the door” (Richard Barnes); and the entry we would rather not have received: “Car sick’’ (Peter Walker).
A few more: “Sorry, but your car is just too mid-range for today’s C of E” (Richard Barnes); “A guiding star and a reasonably priced car — but still no wise men on Top Gear” (Richard Martin); “Mistaking the radio for a request for directions, the Bishop was happy to help: ‘That is the way to Amarillo’” (Andrew Greenhough); “No, the fancy-dress party is taking place down there, second on the right” (Richard Strudwick); and ”‘I have a mission to the lost,’ commented the Canon, as he directed vehicles towards the new drive-through confessional” (Derek Hollis).
Among our favourites were: “The motorist got a surprise when the ‘good time’ he was promised involved four hymns, a sermon, and a cup of luke-warm coffee afterwards” (Stephen Disley); “Unusual, perhaps, in the Church, but he knew exactly which direction to take” (Alison Rollin); and ”I’ve never blessed a satnav before. . . Well, not in that sense” (Valerie Budd).
Because it’s Christmas (or because we’re indecisive), we have chosen three entries to receive the prize of fairtrade chocolate, kindly donated by Divine (divinechocolate.com).