The Housewarming Party

“Quite a marvellous view from up here,” Simon said as he looked through the window over the sweeping Warwickshire countryside.

“Indeed,” Horatio Smyth, the recently appointed Bishop of Knightlow, said, “it’s probably the best Episcopal residence I’ve been in.”

For over 200 years, Upper Strangling Tower had been home to the Bishop of Knightlow.

It was a building known by pretty much everyone in the local area. Perched high on a hill, it was hard to miss.

But it was also shrouded in mystery. The official residence of the Bishop of Knightlow, it was closed to the public. Only the incumbent Bishop and their family knew what was inside the tower.

Until today, as Horatio Smyth invited some of his new colleagues to his new home after he suddenly became Bishop following the dismissal of the previous Bishop because of sexual misconduct.

Among them was Simon, who was appreciating finally being able to see behind the faux medieval exterior.

“Did you know my predecessor?” Horatio asked Simon.

“Vaguely, yes.” Simon said. “I admit I thought he was alarmingly like Kenneth Williams in Carry On Camping, and he was also the spitting image of Jimmy Savile.”

“Were you aware of what he was doing?” Horatio asked.

“Unfortunately, no.” Simon said. “I guess I wondered why he stripped down to his boxer shorts when he conducted a baptism in the Leam.”

Horatio shuddered. “We really have to stop these people. It’s no wonder people are turning away from the Church, considering it’s teeming with sex pests.”

“Yeah,” Simon said. “But there are also decent people trying to do the Lord’s work.”

“Indeed,” Horatio said.

Simon and Horatio continued to look out over the surrounding countryside.

“You’re not a sex pest, are you, Simon?” Horatio asked.

Simon laughed. “No, of course not. I’m not that desperate for love.”

“Just checking,” Horatio said.

“I assume you’re not a sex pest either, Horatio?” Simon asked.

“No, definitely not. My wife wouldn’t let me hear the end.”

Simon laughed.

“Anyway, the thing with my predecessor aside, how have things been?” Horatio asked Simon.

“Pretty good.” Simon said. “I’ve had a pretty eventful start to the year. I found some Nazi Memorabilia whilst clearing out the vicarage loft.”

“Interesting.” Horatio said.

“I spent weeks trying to figure out who they belonged to and why, fearing that a previous vicar was a Nazi sympathiser.” Simon said.

“Better than being a sex pest.” Horatio said.

“Really?” Simon said.

“Well… perhaps not.” Horatio said. “Anyway, what happened?”

“Last week I discovered the memorabilia had belonged to an elderly gentleman in the village who was an ex Nazi general and had come to Lower Strangling in order to escape his past.” Simon said.

“Was that Nazi general a vicar?” Horatio asked.

“No, they gave the memorabilia to Paul Starr, the vicar, in 1985, who agreed to store them at the vicarage so the gentleman would never have to look at them again.” Simon said.

“Oh, well, that’s all good then.” Horatio said.

“Indeed.” Simon said. “Both of them are dead now, sadly. But at least the ex Nazi found peace.”

“Of course.” Horatio said.

“And I can sleep again, which is the main thing.” Simon said.

“Ah, yes. Very important.” Horatio said.

Just then, a man entered the room.

“Dinner is ready now, gentlemen,” the man said.

“Shall we retreat to the dining room?” Horatio asked.

“Yes, I think we shall.” Simon said.

And so the two men left the room, ready to have a slap up feast.

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