"Clergy hide from Constant Callers" (BBC News)
"I'm sorry, I can't make it to the phone right now.
"If it's a normal week day, I'm probably in a meeting, or taking a funeral, or at the hospital, or in a School Governors' Meeting, or maybe in the vestry printing off the service sheets, or fixing the boiler. Or maybe on the church roof, covering up the hole where the lead was stolen, with plastic sheeting. Or if I've not fallen off and I've got back down safely, maybe trying to persuade English Heritage that it might be an idea to replace the lead with something that's not lead. Or, if I'm halfway through the latest set of 200 forms that I've been asked by somebody to fill in for no apparent reason, I may simply have taken the phone off the hook in a desperate attempt to concentrate.
"If it's Sunday, I'm probably at the 8 am at Great Spaldersley. Or the 10 am at Little Spaldersley. Or the 11.15 at Upper Twing. Or if it's between noon and 2, I'm probably at the Faith Lunch. Unless I've any urgent pastoral visits to make. Or if it's the evening, I've got the 6pm at Bradwick-cum-Gobley. Or the "Cafe Church". In between times, I'm probably slumped, exhausted, on the couch next to an untouched glass of whisky.
"If it's my day off, please refer to what I do on other week days. Except of course I'll be feeling guilty for doing whatever it is I'm currently doing, as it's supposed to be my day off, which is when I normally do the shopping, gardening, house-tidying, cooking and get to see my parents and children.
"If you are standing outside my house and it looks like I'm in, and you've rang the bell and I've not answered - that's probably the cardboard cutout I put in the window to make it look like I'm around. If you can hear sobbing, that's just the sound effect I play to confuse burglars. If there were other people in the queue to the door before you, can you pass this on to them?
"You can phone me on the mobile if it's urgent - which I'm sure it is, as it always is. But if you do, and when I answer it I start screaming or swearing, could you just do me a favour? Hang up and call back in ten minutes, when I've pulled myself together.
"And bear in mind there is a very, very slight chance I may have locked myself into my own garage, with a cup of tea, a torch and a copy of 4-4-2 Magazine, in a desperate attempt to evade detection and get in the first serious reading I've managed in 2 years. Should you break into my garage and can't see me, I'm probably hiding in the old filing cabinet in the corner.
"And once again, sorry I can't answer the phone."