IT WAS good to see readers of our Christmas double issue in festive mood. They sent in some amusing entries for this week’s caption competition, which features the Chancellor of St Albans Cathedral, Canon Kevin Walton, standing next to the city’s newly commissioned Christmas nutcrackers: “Any minute now, we’ll have the swans, geese, and no doubt the partridge, too” (Chris Coupe); “Sadly, the six geese-a-laying were unavailable” (John Radford); “‘I always thought it was three kings,’ Kevin thought. ‘Oh, well, perhaps it’s the big six’” (Michael Sansom); “The Canon Chancellor was not too keen to take part in St Albans Cathedral’s Christmas production of The Nutcracker, but he was glad that it was the Dean and not him who had been cast as the Sugar Plum Fairy” (Mervyn Cox); “Did Tchaikovsky say he could join in?” (Heather Smith).
Some detected the manoeuvrings of an over-enthusiastic dean: “The Dean had ordered three oriental kings for Epiphany, but failed to read the small print which read ‘Buy one, get one free’” (Geoffrey Parkinson); “When Keith ordered three kings for the Christmas-crib tableau at St Albans, he hadn’t noticed that it was ‘Buy one, get one free’” (Daphne Foster).
Others suspected that the Bishop was up to mischief: “The Dean wasn’t too enamoured of the Bishop’s idea of playing life-sized skittles” (Chris Coupe); “St Albans announces its forthcoming skittles tournament” (Richard Hough).
Or the Archdeacon, of course: “When the Archdeacon sent for the Nutcrackers, it was not musical torture that he had in mind” (Jonathan Smith).
We couldn’t possibly comment on the part played by the national church institutions: “Renewal and Reform’s plan for a race of Cyberdeans was nearly complete” (Richard Barnes).
Some other entries that we enjoyed: “If Worcester chose to celebrate asparagus, St Albans would concentrate on nuts” (Patrick Irwin); “May contain nuts” (Bridget Swan); “Will English Heritage approve his plan to fill the vacant west-front niches?” (John Saxbee); “There were no high hopes of impartiality in the identity parade” (Bridget Swan); “Yes, it’s true: cathedral staff can be a bit stiff” (Tom Page);“He’d heard them call for a canon, but hadn’t realised they were setting up a live firing squad” (Alison Rollin); “The rota for security guard was the least popular of all” (Valerie Budd); “At the photocall for the New Year production of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, there was confusion about why one of the brothers had come in a dress” (Dave Hover); “Kevin was planning his diagonal move without putting himself in check” (Sue Chick); “The Clergy Discipline Measure sometimes needs to be rigidly applied” (John Appleby).
Two winners this week, who will receive a prize of Fairtrade chocolate, kindly provided by Divine (divinechocolate.com).