As the Great Day and the Miracle of Christmas draws ever closer, I have to report that the various Yuletide domestic crises – inevitable at such a busy time – have themselves been overshadowed by the sacking of one Jose Mourinho, lately the manager of Chelsea, a local football club. I must admit to being less than captivated by the activities of footballers, and have deep reservations about someone who calls himself, “The Chosen One”, or “The Special One”. Surely these titles have religious overtones bordering on the blasphemous. Several months ago I said as much in our Palace circular, but was persuaded by the young man with the wire in his ear not to include the observation in distributed copies. His words were; “Get real Archie, they worship him.”
But as I write, my concern is with the effect Mr Mourinho’s departure from Stamford Bridge is having on Palace staff. Why, even my lady wife has taken to wearing a black armband. Our Nativity scene remains unfinished. The cow, you will remember, had been partly painted brown by Mr Crumbling. It is now partly Chelsea blue, rendered so by Mr Crumbling who I found weeping gently in the Lower Scullery this morning. Controversially, Mr Hassan, my ethnic adviser is lobbying for the inclusion of an astronaut in our Christmas tableaux in honour of Tim Peake who is presently orbiting this troubled globe. Mr Hassan went further by suggesting that for all we know, The Baby Jesus was himself a very tiny alien. He then lapsed into a tearful fury, yelling, “Mourinho will never go to United!”
At this point, on the advice of the young man with the wire in his ear, I left.
Such is the miracle of Christmas, as I passed Lower Chapel, my heart was lifted by the singing of our junior choir so lately enmeshed in the difficulties of “In The Bleak Midwinter”. Today they were fairly belting out “Hark! The Herald Angels”, one of my favourites. I popped my head round the door to congratulate Alison Grommet on her sterling work with so disparate a group of youngsters. She thanked me, but looked troubled. When I asked what concerned her, she said, “Thank you Archbishop, but they like it so much, won’t sing anything else now.” I was nonplussed, but immediately interrupted by young Craig Hassan who ran up and asked, “’Ere! Who’s Harold Engels anyway?”
I made my farewells and trudged back to my study. There is still much work to do here.