A few years back, I made an extended business trip to Europe. Bouncing about in planes, trains and automobiles, I spent a considerable amount of time in Germany, France, Spain, Portugal and the United Kingdom.
Now, if I had to choose a spot to lay low for a bit––let’s say I was an international financier incorrectly fingered for some great crime––and even though I adored France, Paris in particular, the UK would be my choice. There’s just something about the Brits and Scots and Irish and Welsh that make me want to not only live there and embrace their culture––but talk like them as well. No small feat, that last one.
Which reminds me of a certain fellow I just met courtesy of Fr. Longenecker. His name is Humphrey Blytherington, the Vicar of Great Snoring. Delightful. The kind of chap one would eagerly invite to the pub for brew, pleasantries, grins and giggles––a fellow one would most likely call a friend and be over the moon to be introduced as such. I became acquainted with the Vicar this morning as I read with great pleasure Father’s first short story about this nice but dim English country vicar.
The Vicar of Great Snoring is described as follows:
With his formidable wife Daphne at his side, English country vicar, Humphrey Blytherington, bumbles through village life, confounding the critics, making unlikely friends and unexpected enemies before triumphing against all odds. In the Humphrey Blytherington stories the wacky wit of Wodehouse and the anarchic satire of Tom Sharpe jostles with the arcane machinations of the Church of England.
I enjoyed my introduction to the Vicar––found the book to be clever, warm-hearted and a tasty sliver of English life. And the characters that inhabit this charming nook of England are far from sleep-inducing. Quite the contrary old boy. One could develop quite an affection for this lot.
The e-book version of the short story is published here.
Fr. Longnecker’s terrific blog is here.