Sunday, 23 December 2007

Bomb threat!

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Well, an interesting start to the day; after being really very unwell yesterday I am merely feeling under the weather now and I elected to head off to ring the bells for the last time before Christmas (I don't do campanology on Christmas day - I stay at home with my family).

First of all I had to nuke the children's hair. One of the biggest problems with school age children is nits. I can completely strip the eldest child's head of lice and eggs (they show up very clearly in her very blonde hair) and the next night she is crawling with them again. My approach to this is that I empty her head of them every night - it is strange having a child with lice but no eggs - and then at half terms and school holidays I nuke them.

Things have changed a lot since I was a boy and a bit of orange smelling shampoo killed off a headful of lice. These days those weaker lice are all dead and what remains is a super breed. I have tried many, many products, from the full on chemical attack through to hippy remedies and electric combs and trust me, 12 hours of prioderm is the only thing which kills the eggs, at least of our Exeter lice.

Lice are the bane of any parent's existence and anyone who tells you that their children never et them and stand aloof is either a liar or is too idle to check their children. Excluding the common cold for a moment, head lice infestation is a more common infestation all the other childhood communicable conditions combined with around 20 million people suffering at least one infestation each year.

Anyway, this done I defrosted the car and toddled off to church. When I got there, after accidentally thoroughly scaring a young mother who had left her lights on - in the early morning mist I thought it was my light reflecting on her car and proceeded to flash my lights in an attempt to extinguish them, following which Marky turned up and we walked towards the church past her car, at which she sent her child running off and locked herself in the vehicle - I found that the church was still locked.

Now, there is a rumour that there is a key hidden somewhere for the outside toilet, but I have never found it. I proposed, since the graveyard was already being used as a urinal by our resident retired policeman, to try once again to locate it. Instead I found a bomb.

Lent up against the rear door of the church, held in place with a rock, was what appeared to be 7 candles, held together in a roll by some string and coated in red wax. Poking out of the top of this was a fuse. To begin with I though that this eas merely some sort of toy, but when I cut the wax away with my trusty Opinel I found what resembled thunder flashes inside.

Now, explosives on their own are not going to do a whole heap of damage, but this was a fair old size - about the size of a 500ml can of McEwen's 80/ (and not at all the size of any other canned beer at all, ever, no siree) or, indeed, 7 full sized candles - so it could potentially start a fire or put out the church window or, at the very least, throw the rock on top of it a goodly distance.

Lacking a suitable open space to set it off in, I decide to call the police in to deal with it. Sadly, reporting IEDs takes a fair old time, so I miss raising the bells and have to deal with the church warden.

Many years ago a young man came into church one morning and then left, before the service and with a handbag he had not arrive with. This has bred the sort of paranoia within the church that those who cling to authority and power thrive on. The outcome is that self appointed officials hang around the entrances and exits with the sole aim of shouting at anyone who leaves a door unlocked.

As I am standing outside the bell tower door, trying to finish my conversation with the bomb-squad switchboard operator, along comes the warden who steps through the door as I make room for her and tries to lock me out. I have to try to carry out two conversations at once as the policeman is asking me for details and trying to ensure that this is not a hoax and I am also fighting a losing battle against bloody mindedness. No matter that I am standing right outside the doorway, just think who might break in whilst the door is left unlocked.

Eventually I place my foot in the jam of the door and with a friendly 'Do you mind terribly minding your own business?' the warden is seen off and my conversation with the officer, who clearly cannot believe that I could be making this up and is sending out a van, comes to an end and I make my way up to the ropes for a ring, making sure to lock the door behind me. No sooner have I closed the trap door when I hear what can only be referred to as 'a kerfuffle'.

Two police officers are trying to get through the main door of the church, but the church warden is trying to explain that the service doesn't start until ten and they will have to wait. That ridiculous situation bypassed by means of being an overly aggressive copper, I take the officers to where I have hidden the device (not wanting to bring it indoors or leave it for kids to find), they inspect it and it is taken away with surprisingly little difficulty.

I manage to squeeze back in the door just in time before the zealot shuts it (this is no feeble writer's licence, she was at the door, in the act of closing it on my approaching form) but then am harangued. No matter that the device was discovered before the warden arrived, I should not have taken any action without informing her, because I am the church warden, I need to know everything.

I am ashamed to say that I raised my finger and eyebrows as if I were about to speak and then, as she paused to hear what I had to say, turned on my heel and walked away from the battleaxe.

A successful ring later I took the car up to the university where I know of a tree which is infested with mistletoe, then down to the pines to collect a scuttle-full of pine cones for the fire and off to the woods for a decent chunk of holly.

I weigh 191.9lbs.

I am having a poo

I weigh 190.3lbs Not too dull a start to the day - I might think about some lunch in a bit.

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