The Vicar organised a men’s breakfast last Saturday morning. After their bacon and eggs the chaps did some work in the churchyard. Our churchyard is pretty small – there’s the new playground, some lovely trees and a few dilapidated headstones and chest tombs. But it’s also completely open, and many people walk through it as a shortcut. Others use it for less civilised purposes.
The gardening crew last week only unearthed the usual debris – Kestrel Super Strength beer cans, Sobieski Polish vodka bottles, used condoms, newspapers, clothes – everything you’d want for a top evening’s entertainment. It was just before the Vicar family went on our summer camping holiday a few weeks ago that we found something a little unexpected.
We were on our way back to the Vicarage at lunchtime, after our main Sunday service, when I spotted a green metal box propped up against one of the chest tombs. It looked very new, so we picked it up and had a look inside. It was a two burner camping stove, completely unused. Well, it was most tempting. A week to our longest ever camping trip and we only have a piddly single burner stove.
We valiantly resisted the urge simply to snaffle it, though, and the Vicar handed it in at our local police station. There was speculation as to its origin – was it nicked by one of the local drug addicts, who then struggled to find a buyer? Had it belonged to the Roma gentlemen who’d been sleeping out on the church steps on the balmy summer evenings? The police decided they’d log it as lost property. And told the Vicar that if no-one had come looking for it by the first week in September, then he could claim it.
So although we camped with the one burner stove this summer, next summer we will have gourmet options. The snazzy new stove is now sitting in our cellar. And if anyone would like to leave some extra comfy camping mats in our churchyard, I’d be very happy.