This month's guest editor: Brian Ghoul, our births deaths and marriages correspondent.
As far as internments go, the funeral of Bernard Paxo, our popular local butcher, was routine and uninspired. As you would expect for such a colourful and well-loved character, the occasion was well attended by family, friends and well-wishers, but sadly they were treated to nothing special. The tributes were gloomy and uninspired, the floral displays flaccid and dismal and the whole occasion was, yawn, pointlessly predictable.
The only brief promise of excitement came when the vicar almost slipped in the wet mud on the way to the graveside - although, disappointingly, he recovered his balance and avoided catastrophe.
I had hoped that things would pick up when we got to the wake. Might we perhaps be treated to a few ribald stories of the deceased's exploits? Sadly not. The whole event was, appropriately enough, deathly dull. The guests were painfully boring, the food was abysmal, there were absolutely no takers when I tried to start a conga and frankly it was a relief when I was asked to leave.
I've never quite seen the attraction of a christening. The spectacle of some wailing, dribbling bundle of blubber being ceremonially moistened leaves me bursting with indifference. I can't understand how the practice ever caught on and I was hoping that the christening of young Thomas Caractacus Fraggle (Caractacus!) might depart from the familiar routine.
I'll admit that I wasn't expecting a chorus line and a laser show, but you would have thought they'd make some attempt to jazz the whole thing up. No chance. We stood around in a draughty church while the vicar, a man whom I have always thought has all the charisma of a damp sock, dangled the infant over the ecclesiastical bird bath. It was an ugly child, too; had the appearance of something that you might ordinarily just sweep into a drain, which wasn't surprising since the parents looked like the kind of people who can only have conducted their courtship in the dark.
At least the godparents provided some small measure of entertainment. They were both clearly drunk and unable to disguise their deep desire to be anywhere but in church. The sight of them shuffling uncomfortably from foot to foot to foot was delicious.
Things didn't get any better at the 'do' afterwards, held in a cold village hall decorated with numerous photographs of the recently anointed mutant child, as if we hadn't already seen enough of him. You would have thought that my fellow guests would have been grateful when I went round and drew moustaches on each of the pictures with a biro, but no, apparently this was unacceptable.
They were a joyless lot, and I was really quite grateful when they threw me out.
I like a good wedding. A good wedding is when someone stands up at that bit where the vicar asks if anybody has any objection and says that the groom is a cat shagger, or something. Admittedly, that person is usually me. Or, another definition of a good wedding is any wedding at which a fight breaks out. Again, I usually bear some responsibility for that.
It is because of my deeply held beliefs in what makes a good wedding that the vicar, a foul and unpleasant man, no longer allows me inside the church. I was therefore unable to witness the recent marriage of Mr Roly Mushroom and Miss Whitney Scallop, forced instead to hide behind a gravestone in the churchyard and follow them surreptitiously once they emerged. Thus I was able to discover the location of their reception, the Rose and Horses in Market Street - a public house, you might be interested to learn, which used to be two pubs that has since been knocked into one.
Anyway, despite whatever colourful history it may have had, these days the Rose and Horses is a filthy, rat-infested dive in which no one would ever dream of celebrating their union unless they were either stony broke or insane. Their function room does possess the advantage, however, of having a very dodgy fire exit, and this is how I was able to gain entry and take my seat in time to hear the speeches.
There are some people, I know, who consider it bad manners to heckle the speeches at weddings but this is precisely the reason why we all end up sitting through more and more of these dreary, humourless and tedious addresses. In this case, what was offered up by the father of the bride was not so much a speech but rather a slow release of gas. Well, if someone is crap I believe it is my duty to tell them, and since I saw no reason why this occasion should be an exception, this I precisely what I did. Of course, it's always important to make constructive suggestions where possible, so I recommended to the speaker that, since the whole village knew that his daughter was a slut, he might like to try out a few jokes on the subject.
Clearly these people were not my crowd as no one present appeared to support my view, so in many ways it was something of a relief when one fellow brutally hoisted me from my seat, dragged me out into the car park and gave me a bloody good kicking. He's a vicious swine, is that vicar.