Monday, January 25, 2010

The devil may wear Prada, but the vicar wears a Leinster shirt

The vicar called round unexpectedly last Thursday afternoon. The vicar was never going to call round expectedly to this house, since we're not in the habit of expecting vicars here. And anyway, in uber-Catholic Ireland, a protestant minister at the door is only slightly less unlikely than a vampire at the door (and that's only because we all know vampires come in through the windows. D'oh).

Anyway, imagine the scene. The vicar rings the doorbell. A man answers the door.

"Is this the Franklin household?" asks the vicar.

"Yes", says the man, clearly at home here. "I'm not a Franklin, though. Sarah's upstairs showering"

Sarah (why yes, I am in third person this evening; does my bum look big in it?) isn't quite in the shower yet, so she belts down the stairs to see who's in the hallway. She is dishevelled (OK, even more than usual) and panting, her hair plastered becomingly to her cheeks with a winning mixture of sweat and rain.

(I'd been out running, OK? And our neighbour friend was watching the kids as part of our weekly swap. Honestly).

"Hello, vicar," she says, trying to look as if this sort of thing happens every day.

" ..... "

This would be the point where a normal person would offer the vicar a cup of tea and a selection of nice homemade biscuits, but we don't need to tell you that that didn't happen, do we? Nah, thought not.


So yeah, the vicar is sitting in our rocking chair, cup-of-tea-less, chatting brightly with me as he, essentially, vetted our godliness in order to assess whether or not to award Jonah a place in the local school. The kids, all three of them (Jonah's BFF Finn was here too) kept barreling in to see the exciting new person in the front room. Lucas, who at 2 is a mixture of Cartman and Father Jack , was particularly taken by this new audience to admire his sofa-diving technique.

After I'd rescued Lucas from his third landing (upside down jammed behind the baking hot radiator) whilst simultaneously trying to focus on nodding in a suitably pious-looking manner, I suggested to Lucas that he go and read a book with Jonah, Finn, and the longsuffering neighbour friend.

Lucas had a better idea. He disappeared for a couple of moments. We heard some middle-distance thuds, as if blunt objects were falling off high shelves. (They were). Then he reappeared, triumphant, bearing his bodyweight in Hairy McClary and I Love You, Little Monkey tomes.

"Mama read book me" he beamed.

"Yes, darling. I'll read to you after I've finished talking to the nice man"

Lucas didn't hesitate (maybe I'm selling him short in that description above. He has a decent whack of Jason Bourne in there too).

"NO!" he corrected me, dropping the books and whipping, ninja-like, to the vicar's side. "BAD man!" And then, should the vicar be in any doubt as to the toddler's opinion, he whirled his leg back and kicked him as viciously as he could manage.

We're all going straight to hell.


There was one tiny, beautifully ironic, redeeming part of the whole visit. Jonah happened to be wearing his Irish rugby top (for matters of laundry rather than team affiliation). The vicar, delighted, confided to me that he was going to be missing church on Sunday because he was off to Twickenham to watch his team, Leinster, play London Irish. So Jonah and the deliquent vicar bonded over rugby. One soul, at least, may be saved.


Simon said...

Firstly, saying you do weekly swaps with a neighbour whilst revealing you were all sweaty 'after a run' leads the mind a wanderin' and secondly Lucas kicks a vicar- I bet Dave's never been more proud! x

KimKuHar said...

Children can always tell who is a bad person from the start. Children and dogs. I think Lucas did the right thing.

Sarah said...

since the one & only time I took Lucas to church he spent the whole time yelling "NO!!!!!" whenever the vicar asked a rhetorical question ("Is God good?" - that kind of thing), I'd say you're both right!

Imen McDonnell said...

What is it with priests and vicars and such "calling round" unexpectedly..i find it really unsettling frankly! Thank you for injecting humour into this otherwise, frustrating and rude clerical gesture Sara. Hilarious! Imen x

Sarah said...

Thanks for your comment, Imen! I didn't mind too much, but I'm sure the poor vicar has been shocked beyond a second visit...

Anonymous said...

This is hilarious, Sarah, I'm still laughing!