Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Monday, 2 December 2013
The Vicar's Relief Fund
Today I can go back to freezing my arse off whilst whacking a large block of white marble - or, more accurately, reducing it with some fast-moving diamonds.
The job on the pub - once handed over to a more well insured main contractor - was only supposed to have me going up and down the scaffold a couple of times to reposition the bell, but in the end it got quite physical.
The building advisor on the board of this publicly-owned, Grade 2 listed building, now refers to me as the 'arbiter of taste' and I just accept the title, even though it does not sum up the position as well as my self-styled 'spiritual advisor' one which I gave the board and about 100 shareholders a few weeks ago.
Now that the scaffold is down, I have a whole suite of alibis to hand out to the dozens of people who are already complaining about the colour, the lighting and even the timing of the initial external works, and it's not my fault that the toilets are still a tad on the disgraceful side.
They used to stick up large event posters with wallpaper paste just to the left of the front door, but I got them to make a large wooden billboard to save the fresh shelter-coating from getting too unsightly, too quickly. As soon as it was up, one of the shareholding regulars came out, took one look and said he didn't like it. This was the man who has moaned about the work all the way through, but got so used to the scaffold he asked if it could stay permanently up.
I replied that I did not give a flying fuck about what he did or did not like, and recommended he should just fuck off. The strain was obviously beginning to tell on me. We went back inside and he bought me a drink.
Changing the subject, the St Martin's in the Fields appeal for the homeless is the only charity that me and H.I. give to every year, and it is always launched in the run-up to Christmas, heavily sponsored by BBC's Radio 4.
I saw H.I. putting a stamp on an envelope last night, and she told me it contained a cheque for the cutely named 'Vicar's Relief Fund' of St Martin's in the Fields.
I remembered that you could also donate with a card by phone using a free 0800 number (0800 082 8284 in fact, just in case you want to do the same), and that the phones were being manned by various announcers and newsreaders of Radio 4 - familiar voices all. I decided that I was going to phone through my donation, so I could speak to a mildly famous person at the same time - you know, get my money's worth.
I was rather hoping to get Neil Nunes, the unmistakably rich-voiced newsreader whose bulletins I love listening to, but I got Kathy Clugston instead.
This was just as good as Mr Nunes, because she has a wonderfully smooth, Belfast accent, and not only that but she is very chatty indeed. It turns out we both have accounts with the same banks, and we both have the same attitude toward them as well, which is both unbroadcastable and unprintable.
She also knows someone who lives in Bath who I vaguely know, and I am hoping she will pop into The Bell next time she visits him. Maybe she will bring her ukelele with her and give us a tune.