PUNS are a staple feature of the Caption Competition, and our readers have this week plumbed new imaginative depths: “This is verging on the ridiculous!” (John Saxbee); “This is virging on the ridiculous” (Timothy Beecroft); “Vergers on the ridiculous” (Richard Barnes); “I said ‘Mind the virge!’” (Stephen Venner).
Dr Saxbee, to be fair, did find a different angle for his second pun: “The cathedral’s new bouncy castle experience included some sole searching.”
Now that those are over with, here are some other entries, the first from a former cathedral verger: “Matching socks are an essential part of a verger’s uniform. One just never knows when they might be on show” (Bridget Swan); “The new verger lasted only a few hours before collapsing exhausted” (Richard Hough)
Some readers thought that church summer-holiday clubs might not be going to plan: “When the Holiday Bible Club did not recruit as well as expected, the cathedral staff jumped at the chance to fill the spaces” (Vicky Lundberg); “All the parish children refused point blank to attend the Messy Yurt” (Eric Lishman).
J. K. Rowling would be proud of these entries: “Expelliarmus!” (Sue Chick); “‘Locomotor Wibbly!’ The Moderator was putting his Harry Potter knowledge of spells to seemingly good effect” (Daphne Foster).
For others, it brought to mind internal cathedral politics: “Where the vergers really go during the Bishop’s sermons” (George Frost); “A good use for the hot air of the Chapter meeting” (Vicky Lundberg); “No, that’s the Dean, and you verge her to . . . no, stop laughing” (Bridget Swan)
“Not everyone was happy with Midsomer Minster’s innovative approach to the Mystery Plays” (Ray Morris); “Mystery Play on bouncy castle. St Mark warns St Theresa of dangers of hyper-inflation” (Ian Barge); “Murder on the Bouncy Castle was one of the lesser-known Agatha Christie adaptations” (Margaret Wallis).
We enjoyed these sartorial contributions: “Despite succeeding in matching his socks with his robes, the verger’s co-ordination skills did not extend to bouncing on castles (Mervyn Cox); “Michael now understood why the uniform policy insisted on matching socks” (Peter Chapman).
Some suspected mischievous behaviour: “‘What on earth had Mrs Sidebottom put in the fairy cakes?’ wondered His Grace” (Eric Lishman); “Was it the Bouncy Castle Blessing or had someone spiked the Pimms?” (Richard Barnes).
Other entries that we enjoyed: “Slain by the Spirit?” (Sue Chick); “Holding the exorcism training course on a bouncy castle was bound to lead to the Fall” (Michael Foster); “And did those feet!” (Daphne Foster); “They decided to follow their falling congregations and see where they were going” (Edward Mynors).
“No need to kiss my ring. We’re Low Church.” (Roger Knight); “‘Three little Vergers bouncing on a castle, one fell off and broke his metatarsal.’ Sadly, one Verger did fall off, but he soon bounced back.” (George Frost).