Justin here. I write in the Vale of Gloom and Despond. Despite my long and varied experience of distant shores, it is my fate to be forever English and today my patriotism is being tested. Our national football team is playing Costa Rica. Are they winning? I don’t know. Our cricket team is holding on by the skin of its teeth against Sri Lanka, so lately a place far away of which we knew little. I cannot help understanding the young man with the wire in his ear when he says, “Stuffed, Archie – that’s what we’ve been – stuffed!” And as I type I can hear my lady wife sobbing quietly.
So, what would Jesus have done? He would have straightened his back and carried on – that’s what he would have done. And so I cast around for a New Cause; a campaign to rally our tattered army. But what might that be? The Lord knows I have tried to save it from rapacious money lenders. How might I save it from a desperately average football team? I know not and must now retire. Who knows, perhaps a steaming mug of Ovaltine and sleep might bring the answers.
This morning my prayers were rudely interrupted by the young man with the wire in his ear rushing in shouting, “’E’s done it again! The loony’s done it again!” It transpires that a foreign footballer had bitten another foreign footballer. One Luis Saurez, a Uruguyan player, had used his teeth on an opponent. Not for the first time, apparently. I don’t mean that Saurez bit THIS opponent more than once, but that whilst playing for two other clubs he had similarly assaulted opponents. The young man with the wire in his ear and my lady wife were laughing helplessly, tears of mirth rolling down their cheeks and chanting, “Get yourself a dog called Saurez, Roy!”
I moved immediately to close all the windows and play some well-loved hymns on the gramophone, loudly. Outsiders hearing chanting like that could lead to all manner of misunderstandings about the Archbishopric.
Whilst I was pleased that the young man with the wire in his ear and my lady wife appeared happier now, I resolved to pen a line or two to The Holy Father in Rome. I assume that Mr Saurez is Catholic and I feel sure that the powers that be in the Vatican would rather not have one of their own roaming the world biting people. That sort of behaviour, whilst falling some way short of defenestration, does give religion a bad name.
Finally, despite our crushing defeat by Sri Lanka in the Test Matches, I do not agree with the young man with the wire in his ear’s assessment of our cricketers. They are not “a bunch of plonkers” and will soon regain the sort of sporting assertiveness needed to win without, I sincerely hope, biting umpires.