And first, let me thank all of you who sent their sympathy and wishes for my speedy recovery in the matter of my bad back. I am pleased to say that thanks in no small part to the young man with the wire in his ear who appears to have access to all manner of powerful analgesics, the discomfort has lessened somewhat.
Interestingly, my PA, the ever resourceful Miss Gittins, discovered that I am eligible for the C of E Clerical Physiotherapy Service and last Thursday, a substantial young woman named, if I remember correctly, Gudrun, presented herself, satisfied the young man with the wire in his ear as to her identity and, for want of a better word, attacked me, bending me over one sturdy knee whilst intoning “Ahh, that is good, no?” Eventually, my cries were answered by the young man with the wire in his ear who was able to persuade Gudrun to put me down, by levelling his automatic pistol at her.
Fortunately, no damage seems to have been done and after embarrassed apologies all round, Gudrun made her exit, muttering, “Huh. Must go. Curate. Hackney. Sleeped disc”. After two rather attractively coloured purple tablets from the young man with the wire in his ear, I felt much better, quite elated in fact, and went about my daily round.
In fact, an incident occurred during those duties which I will relate to you now. As I was leaving my private vestry, I sensed someone behind me. I turned and beheld a handsome though troubled-looking man in, I would guess, his forties. He was perspiring slightly and his well-cut suit was rumpled; his corn-yellow tie definitely off centre. He seemed somehow familiar. “Yes?” I said, “How may I help you?” He looked furtive, glancing from right to left then suddenly blurted, “Your Grace, your grace! Everybody hates me. Call me a traitor. They want me out! I’m gonna lose my job! I wonder – can you put in a good word for me with, with, you know….”
At this he pointed to the ceiling. Suddenly, around the corner strode the young man with the wire in his ear, fixed the distressed stranger with an icy gaze and said, “Right, you’ve had your two minutes. Now, on your way!” With a sob, the stranger went. I was staggered. “Who on earth was that?” I asked.
“Oh him?” said the young man with the wire in his ear. “Coughed up 50 notes for the Widows and Orphans Fund for two minutes of your time."
“Yes, yes," I said rather testily, “But who is he?”
“Name of Clegg” came the answer. “Nick Clegg.”