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Tuesday 1 December 2009

767 Weddings, 2 Irate Vicars And Almost A Funeral - END

(Continued from Episode 4)
James Pendletons of all shapes and sizes, fat ones, thin ones, small or large, handsome or ugly or just plain, all entered the church to Bach’s Toccata and Fugue, played yet again by the talented organist. There were so many Pendletons he followed this masterpiece of music and recital by all his other party pieces -again to tremendous applause and he finished with a bow to the audience who brought the house down with their clapping and shouts of "Encore".

Both vicars, shaking their heads in protest, were rather peeved at this latest delay. However, there were sounds of approval and satisfaction between all the Elizabeths and James as each one inspected their range of suitors and with remarkable speed they selected a James or Elizabeth to their liking. Before long they had rearranged themselves, each James with an Elizabeth sitting on his lap since there were no more seats available. The fluttering of eyelashes sounded as though the whole congregation was situated inside the centre of a large bee colony.

1534 people all smiled profusely at their new partners, making eyes at each other. Yet there remained still two bridesmaids who burst into tears. The vicar ambled over to them to enquire how he could comfort them.

“We are both 25 and have no partner still – we too do not want to be left on the shelf”, explained one pretty young lady.

“I cannot imagine that you ever could be, either of you. What are your names?” enquired the vicar.

Together they replied, “Elizabeth Pendleton."

"What! - more Elizabeths and both Pendletons!" exclaimed the entire company.

"We are first cousins once removed from each other. We are related to James Pendleton from Liverpool as his second cousins once removed. Elizabeth is a very popular name, as is Pendleton, but the family tree researchers have not found us yet so alas we belong to nobody and cannot find our rightful place in the family tree which is becoming terribly complicated, demanding acres and acres of paper to get all the details down. We are not there - anywhere! It is most upsetting! Oh why can't they find us, and find a partner for us?”

“Well, I may be able to assist you my dear", said the vicar addressing the first young lady, who was the most attractive, of course. “I am unattached and available – will I do as suitor?”

“Oh yes your reverence! Anyone would do really! Em, sorry! But you will do nicely - yet, sigh, I had hoped for a James”.

“Well, actually I am a James, my full name is Reverend James Evans. I would be honoured if you agreed to be my wife, if I may be so bold and if you forgive the speed of my affection.”

“Oh, yes, I’m so happy”, said Elizabeth, "I have a James at last!"

“Then that is settled”, said the vicar, “We shall make the arrangements for our wedding. Perhaps Reverend Harding would kindly do the honour this day!”

“Excuse me!” said the organist, addressing the second ‘available’ Elizabeth Pendleton, “my name too is James Evans and I would be honoured if you would be my wife - you look decidedly musical if I may say so - I can tell by your hands - I would think they span an octave and three, at least! And your Adam's apple looks as though you have a wonderful singing voice.”

She replied 'A Capella' in a beautiful soprano voice which rattled the chandeliers, “I am very musical and you are so observant. I can sing well and I play well. Does that mean I can get to play on your organ?” She finished her sentence in a loud crescendo, which made everyone gasp.

“My word, what a voice! Certainly, come up and join me in a duet - I will share my keyboard with you and we can share our lives together! I cannot imagine how musical our children will be!"

“Then that is all settled, everyone is happy”, said Vicar Evans, “may I proceed now you have all settled down with your chosen ones? I am getting extremely nervous because I am due to officiate here for a funeral service, scheduled after this wedding, in 5 minutes and we've barely started with this wedding - all these extra bodies have multiplied the time factor by a thousand, and . . . . . . !”

Walter interrupted . . . . "Excuse me Vicar, a horse driven hearse has arrived outside with a coffin, some guests and funeral Paul Bearers. Also quite independently three others have arrived - a gentleman describing himself as the Bishop with two nuns attending."

"Oh! jeepers! Just what I wanted, I must say! How embarrassing! Show them in - I guess I'll have to modify the service yet again! What a mess I am in now!"

At that precise moment Marguerite's MP3 player turned itself on with the volume set very loudly. Everyone was spellbound because this miraculous little machine emitted some strange music - it was playing a long Cajun Waltz and although all the folk there did not know this modern music they all knew a waltz when they heard one. Soon their feet started tapping in beat to the music and beating time, 1,2,3 and 1,2,3 - especially the ladies.

With the music in full flow the Bishop and two nuns strode into the church. The Bishop looked rather amused and addressing the vicar said, "We've heard you are having one of your a 'doos' here, Rev Evans, and thought we'd pop over - your 'parties' are far more interesting and amusing to us than playing croquet, aren't they my sisters? Quite a 'hoot' usually! judging by all these ladies sitting on these gentle men's laps. Can anyone join in, or is this some kind of game you are introducing into the church?

"Tell me, what do you want me to say to the funeral entourage - they've been waiting for an hour and the deceased is getting decidedly impatient, although he's not doing much to complain at the moment! Better get it sorted soon before he wakes up and asks, why the delay!"

"Wheel them all in, please!", said the flustered vicar.

"Don't let me stop your enjoyment", said the Bishop, "please play that music again, we rather like it don't we sister Mary and sister Joan? Rather fitting for a hearse and a body entering the church to a waltz, methinks, if that won't wake him up then nothing will! Quite unusual, Vicar! but innovative, I would say. It might well catch on!"

The sisters nodded in approval.

The music started again and Marguerite made a beeline for Eddie, "Come on cher, at long last we can have a little cuddle to my music - dancez avec moi - we can do a little Cajun Waltz because you have been a very good boy lately - don't be shy you gorgeous British gentleman, I will not bite you and I've had my breakfast already, shrimps and crayfish, so you are quite safe!"

Eddie, not the best dancer in the world, nodded, saying, "Enchante!" and counted "1,2,3 and 1,2,3" to get the feel of the dance and then he took the plunge. How could he refuse? Both the lovely Marguerite and the music beckoned him and shortly both organists joined in as well, revelling in a new musical slant which bound them as something they enjoyed in common.

Marguerite remarked that the Cajun Two-Step may be a little difficult to learn at short notice so she had programmed in the Cajun Waltz instead. Eddie took her in his arms and they waltzed expertly down the aisle as if they were magically charmed by Marguerite's leopard skin shoes - once they started to dance it seemed they could not stop.

"Ooh you are so strong, Eddie, quelle muscle avec votre jambes. Now you have caught me, Mr Bluelights, what next are you going to do?"

"Oh! Err! Oh" Er, I'll think of something!"

"I thought you wanted to whisper sweet nothings in my ear as you commented so politely on my blog! What a lot of sweet compliments you make! What did you want to say to me, cher?"

"Er, nothing as yet! Er! I cannot multi-task right now I'm concentrating on the dance!"

"Oh! you are just like all Cajun men! They cannot do anything romantic without a drink of beer and a few shrimps!"

As they danced they were followed closely by the Bishop with the two nuns - everyone was spellbound as to how he managed to dance with two ladies at once yet he did so with great aplomb. Then one by one each Elizabeth grabbed her James and they followed. Janine managed to find a stray usher, as did both Cherry and Jackie, whilst Meredith, finding David, followed, but she was rather annoyed because instead of concentrating on his dance partner he seemed more interested in taking photos.

Round and round the church they went until the music stopped and miraculously the leopard skin dancing shoes stopped dancing and they stood there motionless with Eddie gazing into those big green eyes.

They all took their seats as the beaming Bishop resumed the conversation, taking command of the situation.

"Well, we did enjoy that didn't we sisters? Now Vicar Evans, what is the full scope of the problem? Perhaps I can assist to muster a solution to this chaos that lies before me!" said the Bishop, obviously loving every moment.

"It's a very long story - perhaps you'd better start reading from Episode 1"

Five minutes later the Bishop had a full grasp of the situation.

"The solution is very simple, we have 2 Vicars and a Bishop and between us we can undertake all the weddings here except one plus the funeral - we can do it in one sitting, a sort of combined wedding/funeral service.

"The wedding of James from Liverpool to Elizabeth Evans must take place in St Benedicts church, Liverpool under the remit of Rev Harding - that will be later. All the rest can be done here, including yours Vicar!

"Now bring in the coffin please - who is the deceased?"

"James Pendelton, your grace!"

"What! Another James Pendelton - a deceased one at that!", exclaimed the vicar, "Oh No! I cannot believe this! Am I mad or is this a total nightmare? I have total information overload! I cannot cope, please give me a glass of water." The exasperated vicar was almost spent with exhaustion.

Said the Bishop, "Come on old chap it's only a name, dear boy, very common round these parts. Let us proceed. This combined wedding and funeral ceremony must be a first in my considerable experience in ecclesiastic matters! The hymn choices are going to be a bit tricky, how about these for a short list to cater for weddings and funerals simultaneously?

'Nearer my God to Thee',
'Abide with me',
'Rock of Ages',
'Give me strength',
'Help, Lord, the souls that though hadst made, and perhaps,
'Deliver us Lord'

"There, continued the Bishop, "the balance should be about right from that little lot! Of course banns of marriage should be called first for every Elizabeth and every James, but as Bishop of this Parish and with all my considerable authority I am in agreement to waive this particular requirement - we all want to get home for our teas as quickly as possible after all this excitement. I see the registrar is here. Little fellow, can you manage to write all the details of the deceased documentation plus the, let me see 767 plus 2 = 769 marriages? No! Well there are 694 (sorry 695 at the last count) followers of an Australian photographer outside doing nothing! Go and elicit their assistance and bring them in to witness the weddings and help with the writing! There that's settled! Of course there will be a huge shortage of rings so today we shall be using imaginary ones unless someone can miraculously drum up 769 of them. Now let me begin."

"But you grace! If we have any more people in this church it will sink! It will be too heavy", protested the vicar.

"Rubbish, my man, oh ye of little faith - this church is built on rock and not on sand! Just do it, and get them all in, there's a good chap!"

"First! I want the two feuding James Pendletons and their Elizabeth partners to come to the front, shake hands and make up. There is no reason how you can expect eternal forgiveness if you cannot forgive each other right here on Earth - and you've got to mean it as well - not to just pretend! Come come and shake hands. There that's better! I don't expect you to have Sunday lunch together but be civil and nice to one another!"

It was then Mickey flew towards Eddie full of the joys of spring. For he had been asking all the Elizabeths if they knew of any little budgie hens available. His luck was in for a little green budgie hen winked at him as she peeped out from a handbag - she had been watching him for half an hour and thought to herself, 'This is the chap for me'.

Mickey flew over to her and said, "Hi babe, what's your name then, my your are lassie with a classy chassis? Don't tell me, I bet your name is Elizabeth or is it Lizzie?"

She nodded, "Lizzie".

"Thought so, suits you. What lovely eyes you have! Do you realise I have travelled through time itself just to meet you? Come light of my life, come fly with me!"

He took off and she followed him. They flew round and round, up and down, weaving between the pews and furnishings. It was love at first flight. The congregation loved it - they all clapped in admiration of their acrobatics. After a while they both landed on the Bishop's mitre. Mickey said, "Your grace, we are in love. Will you marry us?"
"Well why not?" said the Bishop, "The more the merrier. Are there any field mice out there that want to splice to knot, or perhaps a couple af rabbits? Speak up - it's your last chance!"

Mickey and Lizzie's little service was done first and was very short. Mickey kissed Elizabeth affectionately on the beak but she blushed profusely. "Not in front of all these people, dear!" she said.

The Bishop commanded, "Now to the service, there are 767 couples divided by three which equals 256.333 each." No that won't do! We can't start cutting people into three! Oh! I'll do it all and you two can join in - so here we go!"

"Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to say farewell to this deceased gentleman, John Pendleton, and to witness the marriages between John Pendleton and Elizabeth Evans, John Pendleton and Elizabeth Pendleton . . . . . . . . . etc . . . . . . . . etc . . . . . "

He read all 767 what stamina!

"Has anyone got any cause of impediment why these couples may be married?"

SILENCE (wonderful!)

"Do all the James Pendletons take your chosen Elizabeth Evans or Pendleton to be your lawful wedded wife?"


"Do all Elizabeth . . . . . . . . . . "

The service was highly unorthodox and lasted 6 hours but eventually it was completed with the funeral section finally over as well. There was no sign of a protest from within the coffin which was a relief for all, although people nearby rather thought they could hear an additional voice joining in the hymn choruses.

The Bishop concluded, "You are all married, you may kiss the bride but make sure she is the correct one. You are free now to go forth and multiply and fill the Earth. I expect Rev. Evans will be inundated with Christenings within the year."

"There remains one thing to do to unravel this fiasco! That is to get the other wedding party to the correct church and I ask Eddie Bluelights to use his motorised contraption to get them there as soon as possible. The service is over go in peace, . . . . wait for it, after the blessing!"

The organist, James Thomas, and his new bride, Elizabeth Pendleton, seized their chance for glory and played with wild abandon as a duet this time all the difficult organ pieces in their repertoire as 767 happy couples left the church. At the end they did a little Cajun Waltz which prompted some couples to dance down the aisle out of the church. Vicar Evans was exhausted and relieved it was all over. Rev Harding wondered still whether he was asleep and dreaming. He looked shell shocked.

The Bishop took it all in his stride and commented that he had not enjoyed an afternoon as much for as long as he could remember and asked Rev Evans what entertainment he had planned for next week.

James and Elizabeth boarded the ambulance together with all their principal players, Walter, Sarah, Cyril and other close family. Rev Harding would travel on the stretcher for a well deserved rest.

Eddie kissed goodbye to all his blogging friends and said he hoped to meet them all again in Oz when he finally gets round to writing more of the story instead of labouring around the spit roasting people.

It was then that Mickey spoke to Eddie. "I am not going back with you, Eddie! I want to stay here with Lizzie in this time zone. It is much nicer! The people are much nicer! The air is much nicer! I don't want to go back to that horrible world in which we live where there is back biting and nastiness and political correctness - the few have ruined it for the many - it is simply not nice living in 2009!"

"I understand, Mickey, just what I was thinking - it is much nicer here but I have to go back because my family is there. But you cannot stay here, Mickey! You might alter the whole course of history! You could seriously violate the laws of cause and effect! Just think if you and Lizzie have some chicks and one of them becomes your ancestor you could run the risk of a fatal error in the time-space continuum! It might cause the whole universe to quietly disappear! Interfering with the laws of time is highly dangerous!"

Mickey argued, "Well that's what you have been trying to do today isn't it, with you trying to alter James's mind concerning 1905 and hoping when you return to our time you will find James living to a ripe old age? What happens if he does? Then you will have altered the course of human history and that could cause a space time violation too, couldn't it? They might have more children and that might alter the course of history as well!

"That's different, I think, because James and Elizabeth are both here already and I am trying only to change an action and not introduce a being from the future into the equation belonging to a different time. That must cause a violation."

Lizzie interjected, "I don't think it will be a problem because I cannot have children - the vet says I am infertile so Mickey being here cannot in any way alter the laws of cause and effect."

"That should be alright I guess, but I will miss you, Mickey! and you were a fantastic substitute for a Sat Nav."

They said goodbye with tears in their eyes and Eddie drove away with the sirens and blue lights flashing. For a little way the two budgies flew beside them making ambulance noises but finally could not keep up and returned to their new life together.

"Boy have I got some questions for you, great grandfather, and grandad and grandma!" said Eddie as they sped to St Benedicts church.

Meanwhile Congleton church was completely empty when old Joseph Pendleton, who had been dozing for several hours, woke and enquired, "What did that lady want to know about George Pendleton, the miller?” Where is she? I have a lot of information for her!"

"Oh shut up!", said Vicar James Evans, "I've had more than enough today!"

The End
(Curtains! yes it probably is!)

(If you have missed earlier installments it might be worth starting at Episode 1)
Also you may be wondering about my little budgie, Mickie. I have written two popular stories about him.
Mickey the Celebate Budgie HERE
Mickey the Love-Sick Budgie HERE


  1. I am sooo pleased to have been ushered into this wonderful piece of writing, Eddie. I smiled at the number of followers of the Australian photographer...and am amazed at how you wove us into your writing.
    My favorite line: This church is built on solid rock.
    You are a Master Writer, Mr. Bluelights....such humor...and truth. What a wonderful combination.
    Geneology is certainly your forte. Great job, Eddie. Many smiles from your friend across the pond: Jackie

  2. I see you've revised this a little bit - a bit more Cajun-y ;-) Lucky Margeruite has made another cameo appearance on here!

    Shrimps and crayfish for breakfast!

  3. Absolutely wonderful! I was thoroughly entertained with this tale. Thank you ever so much!

  4. Excellent! Kept me going to the very end! Mr. Bluelights that was wonderful and thank you!

  5. Oh, just keep getting better!!! Too, too funny...I love all the additions!!!! Leopard skin dancing shoes and the MP3...Marguerite has never led such an eclectic group of party-goers, but as always, (with your creative assistance) she has done it brilliantly!!!!!!!! Hurrah! Hugs, Janine

  6. Eddie I have just spent the better part of 2 hours reading your story/play and it was so worth it.....a wonderful piece of writing, I loved every bit of have a talent my friend, and it is huge......:-) Hugs

  7. Wow, Eddie, I am speechless for the second time in my life! Seriously, Janine is right, what an eclectic group of party-goers and I was happy to lead them! And you are right about the Cajun men needing a drink or two to loosen up, but once they do, look out, cher! Waltzing is as easy as 1-2-3, but it is amazing that you caught on so quickly! And yes, I do occasionally have shrimp and CRAWFISH for breakfast. Did you go on my Facebook page? lol Great, fun post, you really outdid yourself on this one, cher amis! Bravo!

  8. Yes, it's shrimp and crawfish in New Orleans, breakfast or any other time.
    Great work Eddie, as usual!

  9. Eddie, you're daft and brilliant (which I think is a wonderful combination, being blessed with the same myself.) Thanks for the great read!

  10. Wow, just WOW Eddie. What a fabulous job you did. Great story with lots of twists and turns. Thanks a million.
    More please!

  11. Hi my friend...I'm popping back in to say hello.
    I hope that you're not working too hard...and that you take care of yourself. I wanted to send a smile....of course!
    Smiles to you, Eddie.

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