‘Bilgburger McGrath, whose nickname was derived from his habit of resting near the drains, eating beef burgers after extended discussions with an intriguing ale or two ,had undergone a renewal of purpose: he had entered the doors of St Cuthbert’s church for the first time, to seek ordination. Although he had often passed these same doors on numerous occasions en route to one beer sampling festival or another this was the first time he had actually walked through them.
Once inside he accosted the lucky vicar, The Rev Nigel Avasponge, and told him, without unnecessary preamble, that he had decided to seek ordination within the church. The Vicar, a kindly man, whose mean streak only manifested itself during crucial final moments of the croquet game at the summer fete, was a bit surprised by the request, but reacted with a smooth delivery developed during his career as a city councillor. “I don’t believe we’ve had the pleasure of your presence in our congregation” said the Vicar. “I’m wondering how this sudden urge to change your profession came to be, and at this late stage in your life” To be fair, Bilgeburger was a little unsettled at this reference to his age. At seventy- six he felt he still had the time to pack in one or two more careers before retirement became a serious issue. “No need to get lippy” said the born again ‘man of devotion’, waving a small bottle of something restoring in front of the vicar’s eyes.
The vicar, whose survival skills recognised that deflection is often the best form of confrontation, suggested they move to the vicarage where Bilgburger might be able to help him refine his recipe for custard crèmes. Our ‘would be’ missionary was flattered to have his advice requested on any subject at all, and followed the vicar quietly into the vicarage kitchen, where the necessary ingredients were already on display.
For reasons not understood by any but a few over paid psychiatrists , ‘Bilgers’ as I will now call him, owing to a lack of typing energy, discovered an enthusiasm for toying with ingredients, and tossed aside all thoughts of ordination. Instead he went home and began working on the famous ‘St Cuthberts Steak Pie’, now a staple of many fine dining houses, and a cornerstone treat for those interested in flavour rather than healthy eating: and at the age of eight- five he became a newly discovered television chef and raconteur; a role he crammed in between bouts of culinary invention, beer sampling and the odd packet of Malboro Lights. That moment when he had tripped and dropped the half a bar of chocolate he was eating into the pie mixture turned out to be a career boosting accident: indeed a pivotal incident in this careerists career. Perhaps divine intervention comes in many forms.