by Robert Williams
"Hey you lot!" said Mrs Greasy to the others in the usual morning meeting at the cafe. "You'll never guess what I've just found out!!"
"Kennedy's been shot?" said Clive. "Lord Lucan's disappeared?"
"Has he?!" said Des.
"Apparently, Dickie the Vicar's leaving!!" said Mrs Greasy.
"Where did you hear that then?" asked Mick.
"I read it on the internet," said Mrs G. "So it MUST be true!!"
"Yeah right," said Clive. "I never believe anything I read on the internet!"
"That's right!" said Des. "There's no way Dickie the Vicar's leaving! It's too good to be true!"
Just then Dickie burst into the cafe.
"Hey you guys!! I'm leaving!!!"
"Told you," said Mrs G, smugly.
"WHAT?!?!" said Des. "Does this mean I'll never have to sit through one of your boring discos ever again?!"
"That's right!" said Dickie.
"HOORAY!!!" yelled Des.
"Why have you chosen to leave us?" asked Mick.
"Look at this!" said Dickie, handing Mick a letter.
"Oh yes, it's very nice, isn't it!" said Des.
"Shhh!" said Mick. He read the letter. "Good grief!! The council have slapped a compulsory purchase order on the vicarage! They're going to knock it down and build a jazz club in its place!!"
"It's disgusting isn't it!" said Dickie. "I can't stand jazz!"
"Neither can I," said Des. "Three cheers for jazz!!"
"I'm so disgusted that I have decided to resign my position as vicar of this parish!" said Dickie. "Instead I'm going to become the vicar of Carlisle!"
"Carlisle?!" said Mick. "That's a long way away! In fact it's almost Scotland!"
"Far enough away not to come calling on me to come to your discos!" grinned Des.
"The only thing is, me and Mrs Dickie are on a bit of an economy drive," said Dickie. "We want to save money by not using a proper removal company!"
"Why don't you try PIG Removals?" suggested Mick. "They're not a proper removal company!"
"Oooooh arrrrrrr!!!" exclaimed Farmer Files, bursting into the cafe and then bursting back out again.
"Apparently he has his porkers driving the removal vans for him!!" said Des.
"Hmmm, can't say I'm tempted!" said Dickie.
"I've got a better idea!" said Mike the Manic Mechanic, bursting into the cafe. "I can lay my hands on a couple of vans for you at a surprisingly reasonable fee!"
"Sounds fab!" said Dickie. "I'll take 'em!"
"Only problem is, I'll be too busy to help you drive them up there!" said Mike. "Business is booming at the moment, I can't afford to leave the garage for even a second!"
"You just have," pointed out Mick.
"Oh don't worry about that, Mikey!" said Dickie. "Des and Mick will drive them up for me!"
"WHAT?!?!" said Des and Mick.
"Cheers lads," said Dickie. "You're a couple of bricks!"
"Thanks," muttered Mick the brick.
"The demolition men move in tomorrow!" said Dickie. "So we'd better start moving all our stuff out today!"
"Oh goody," sighed Mick. "There I was, hoping for a nice quiet afternoon reading the paper..."
"You'll never have a nice quiet afternoon for as long as you've got Des living next door to you!" said Clive.
So after lunch Des and Mick went round to the vicarage to help Dickie and Mrs Dickie carry out all of their worldly possessions. Mike had already parked two removal vans outside the house.
"How many clocks have you got?!" exclaimed Mick as he carried out another in a long succession of grandfather clocks.
"Nine!" said Dickie. "One for every room plus one for the garden! It's so I always know what the time is, no matter where I am!"
"Why don't you just buy a watch?" said Mick.
"A watch...that's a good idea, I never thought of that!!" said Dickie. "Hey Des, make sure my record collection stays in alphabetical order!"
"But they all start with the same letter!" said Des as flipped through the records. "They're all Status Quo!!"
Once they had squeezed all of Dickie's furniture and possessions into the back of the two vans, they all headed down to the church hall where Dickie hosted one last charity disco, which had a rather more celebratory atmosphere than normal.
Early the next morning Des, Mick, Dickie and Mrs Dickie all gathered outside the vicarage.
"Take one last look at our house, Mrs Dickie," said Dickie.
"Yes, it's very nice, isn't it, Dickie?" said Mrs Dickie.
"It won't look so nice once the bulldozer moves in!" said Des.
"Come on everyone, stop chatting and let's get this over and done with," sighed Mick. "Now where exactly are we heading for?"
"Carlisle!!" said Des.
"I know that!" said Mick. "But where exactly?! Have you got the address, Dickie?"
"Yes, I've got it here somewhere..." said Dickie, fumbling around in his pockets. Eventually he pulled out a torn piece of paper out of his pocket. "It's...The Vicarage, Carlisle."
"Is that it?" said Mick. "What about a street name or something?"
"Nope, that's all it says!" said Dickie.
"Come on, we'll find it!" said Des. "There can only be one vicarage in Carlisle you know!"
"That's right, Carlisle's only a small town you know!" said Dickie. "They don't have cities that far north, they haven't progressed to that stage yet!"
"Fine," sighed Mick. "Just be prepared for a shock when we get there."
Des and Mick took a van each, while Dickie and Mrs Dickie got into the churchmobile. The latter whizzed off straight away, but Des and Mick both had problems starting their engines.
"This is typical of Mike," groaned Des as he tried the ignition time and time again. "He can never supply us with anything less than forty years old, or anything in full working order for that matter!"
Finally the pair of them both got started. But progress was slow. The rickety old vans were overloaded with too much furniture and they coughed and wheezed their way along the road.
"Good grief," sighed Mick as he reached the traffic lights. "It's taken ten minutes to get two hundred yards up the road! How long is it going to take to get to Carlisle?!?!"
"Hi Mick!" said Des, drawing up alongside him. "Race you away from the lights!" Mick raised his eyes to the sky.
As the lights turned green Des tried to race Mick away from the traffic lights - but instead they both stalled.
"Oh botherations," groaned Des.
An hour later the two vans were crawling their way round the M25, with Mick just behind Des.
"This is ridiculous," said Mick. "At this rate I'm going to be an OAP before we get to Carlisle! And why on earth did Des decided to turn anti-clockwise onto the M25?!?! We should be going the other way!! Well at least I'm safe from his inane wittering in here."
"I wish I could get into contact with Mick," said Des. "If only he actually had a mobile phone!! Hang on a minute, what's this microphone thing? Must a CB radio!" He picked up the microphone. "Hello hello, this Des calling Mick, Des calling Mick, are you receiving me, over!"
Des's voice suddenly came booming through into Mick's cabin causing him to swerve all over the motorway.
"OUCH!!!" exclaimed Mick. "Turn that thing down!! You nearly made me cause an accident!!"
"COME IN MICK, ARE YOU RECEIVING ME, OVER!!!" said Des's voice.
"Yes I am receiving you, now shut up!!" said Mick, picking up his microphone.
"OOOOH, GET YOU!!!! WHO'S RATTLED YOUR CAGE!!" said Des.
"You have!" said Mick. "Now listen, why on earth did you turn the wrong way onto the M25?!?"
"I THOUGHT IT'D BE QUICKER!!" said Des.
"Well it isn't!" said Mick. "It'd be quicker if we walked!! Whilst carrying the furniture on our backs!!"
"OH STOP COMPLAINING, I DON'T THINK DICKIE'S THAT FAR AHEAD OF US ANYWAY!!"
"At least he probably went the right way round the M25," muttered Mick.
Just then Des's mobile phone rang.
"That's probably him now!!" said Des. "Hi Dickie!"
"Hi groovy Des!" said Dickie. "Listen, where are you?! I can't see you in our rear view mirror any more!!"
"We're on the M25!" said Des. "Heading towards Sevenoaks!"
"Oh right," said Dickie. "We're on the M1 just outside Milton Keynes!"
"Ah!" said Des. He picked up the CB radio microphone. "It's all right Mick, Dickie's only about a hundred miles ahead of us!"
"Now Des, the thing is we're going to have to stop in a min, because I need to have a quick disco!" said Dickie.
"You need to have a quick disco," said Des.
"That's what I said!" said Dickie. "We're pulling in at the next service station, so we'll meet you there!! All right chuck?! Ta-ra!"
"Great," said Des, putting his mobile phone down. He then remembered that using his phone on the move is actually illegal, so he switched it off and continued shouting at Mick through his CB radio instead.
Four hours later Des and Mick finally arrived at Newport Pagnell Services on the M1, where Dickie and Mrs Dickie were waiting for them in the car park.
"Hi there, great to see you at last!" said Dickie.
"And about time!" said Mrs Dickie. "It's very difficult to find enough to do at Newport Pagnell Services to fill up four hours!"
"I think I've lost my hearing," said Mick, as he staggered out of his van.
"What's the matter?!" said Des.
"Haven't you got a volume control on that thing?!" said Mick. "You've been shouting at me non-stop since Sevenoaks! And we shouldn't even have been going past Sevenoaks!!"
"You just won't let it lie, will you!" said Des.
"Cheer up you two, it's time we had our disco!" said Dickie.
"What, here?!" said Des. "In the car park?!"
"Why not?!" said Dickie. "Remember what Cliff Richard said?"
"The young ones, darling we're the young ones?" said Des.
"I mean let's do the show right here!" said Dickie. "I'll just fetch my decks! (Oh, and please don't call me darling)."
Dickie went rummaging about in the back of the removal vans looking for his record decks.
"This is worse than a nightmare," said Mick. "I've just spent five hours driving the slowest van in the world round most of the UK motorway network, listening to Des Wednesday shouting in my ear the whole time, and now I'm going to be subjected to a Dickie the Vicar disco in the car park of Newport Pagnell service station!!!"
"Never mind Mick, it could be worse!" said Des.
"How?!?!" said Mick.
"Ummm..." said Des.
Eventually Dickie found his decks. He dumped them onto the ground, pulled out some Status Quo discs and slapped them on the turntables.
"Yo groovers, glad you could join me, DJ Dickie, here at the DJ Dickie the Vicar Disco Roadshow!! Let's get down to the humungous sound of Status Quo!!!"
Various passers-by looked on bewildered at this vicar moving and grooving along to Status Quo in the middle of the car park, while Des, Mick and Mrs Dickie stood there looking equally bewildered, and rapidly losing the will to live.
After half an hour, during which time Des and Mick had sneaked off to grab a bite to eat, Dickie decided that disco time was over, and it was time to make some headway. So he and Mrs Dickie whizzed off up the M1 again, while Des and Mick heaved the decks back up into the removal van before crawling back onto the motorway.
"I'm getting tired," groaned Mick as they continued their journey on the very slow lane.
"DON'T WORRY MICK!" said Des's voice coming over the CB radio, "WE'LL STOP AT THE NEXT SERVICE STATION AND GET SOME HOTEL BEDS FOR THE NIGHT!! FANCY A GAME OF I-SPY IN THE MEANTIME?!?!"
"Oh give it a rest," sighed Mick.
"I SPY WITH MY LITTLE EYE, SOMETHING BEGINNING WITH C!!!"
"Cars," sighed Mick.
"OH DARN, HOW DID YOU GET THAT?!!! OKAY, YOUR TURN!!"
Before long they arrived at the next service station. But it didn't have a hotel, leaving Des and Mick little option but to spend the night sleeping in their cabins.
Mick woke up in the middle of the night. He had an idea. He climbed out of his van and crept into Des's van. Very quietly and carefully, making sure he didn't wake Des, he picked up the CB microphone and yanked the wire out of the dashboard. Then he climbed back out of Des's van and back into his, and went straight back to sleep.
Des was awoken in the morning by his mobile phone going off.
"Who's that?" mumbled Des.
"Hi Des the dude, it's me, Dickie the Vicar!" said Dickie. "Where are you?!"
"Watford Gap," said Des. "Where are you?"
"Carlisle!" said Dickie.
"WHAT?!?!?!" exclaimed Des. "How on earth did you get there already?!?!"
"Easy, we drove right through the night! Me and Mrs Dickie took it in turns to drive!!"
"Hey that's a good idea, why didn't we think of that?!" said Des. He picked up the microphone. "Hey Mick, why didn't we think of that?! Hang on a minute, this isn't working!!" Then he noticed the microphone wire was no longer attached to the dashboard. "Oi, someone's trashed my CB radio!!"
"Okay, you two get a move on then, and we'll try to find the vicarage!" said Dickie. " Ta-ra!"
"Ta-ra," said Des. "Now what's going on here?!!"
He got out of his van with his microphone, complete with dangling wire, and climbed into Mick's van where Mick was still fast asleep.
"Oi Mick, look, someone's trashed my CB radio!!" exclaimed Des, dangling his microphone in Mick's face.
"Huh?! What?!" said Mick, waking up suddenly.
"Someone's trashed my CB radio!!" repeated Des.
"Oh dear what a shame," said Mick sarcastically.
"How are we going to stay in contact now?!"
"I dunno," said Mick.
"Well never mind that now, we've got to hurry up and get to Carlisle! Dickie's there already!"
"You're joking!" said Mick.
"I don't know what Mike's done to Dickie's churchmobile, but I reckon he's been breaking a few speed limits!" said Des. "Come on, let's go."
Des and Mick spent the whole of that day trundling up the M6, Mick now able to enjoy some peace at last. Late that afternoon they finally arrived in Carlisle and proceeded to spend the next hour driving all over the city looking for the vicarage and/or Dickie and Mrs Dickie. At last they found them, in Sainsbury's car park.
"Found you at last!" said Des, as he and Mick parked up and jumped out of their vans.
"We couldn't find the vicarage anywhere!" said Mick.
"Neither could we," said Dickie. "Carlisle's bigger than I thought! But hey, you'll never guess what Mrs Dickie found in her handbag!!"
"Not the vicarage?!" said Des. Dickie handed him a torn piece of paper. Des stared at it. "'Road, Tolworth'. Eh? That doesn't make sense!"
"Put the two pieces of paper together," said Mrs Dickie, handing him the first torn piece of paper. Des did so.
"Oh!" said Des. "The Vicarage, Carlisle Road, Tolworth."
"Just round the corner from your old vicarage," said Mick.
"That's right!" said Dickie.
"Don't tell me," said Mick. "You resigned from your old job, only to unwittingly apply for it back again."
"That's right!! My new parish isn't in Carlisle after all!! How funny!!"
"Hilarious," sighed Mick.
"So this means we've completely wasted the last two days driving up here for no reason?!" said Des.
"That's right!" said Dickie.
"And now we've got to waste the next two days driving back again," said Mick.
"That's right!" said Dickie. "Don't worry, to cheer you up we'll have another disco at Watford Gap!"
As it was now very late, they all booked themselves in at a hotel for the night. The next morning Dickie and Mrs Dickie made an early start and spent the day driving the churchmobile back home again. Des and Mick made not such an early start and spent the next two days driving their vans back home again.
When they finally arrived back in Tolworth they drove past a pile of rubble which until recently had been Dickie's old vicarage, and round the corner into Carlisle Road. They drew up outside a newly-built vicarage, outside which were standing a happy looking Dickie and Mrs Dickie.
"Hi Des and Mick!" called Dickie to them. "This is the place! Our brand new house!"
"Isn't it lovely!" said Mrs Dickie.
"It's smashing!" said Dickie. "I'm so glad the parish council decided to move us here! Three cheers for jazz!"
"It's even got more space than our old place!" said Mrs Dickie.
"That'll mean I'll have to buy some more clocks then!" said Dickie. "Come on Des and Mick, carry our stuff inside for us!"
Mumbling and grumbling, a tired and jaded Des and Mick got out of their vans and started unloading all the furniture.
"All the way to Carlisle and back, when his new house was just round the corner," grumbled Mick. "Four days of my life, completely wasted!"
"Well at least it's all over now, things can't get any worse," grumbled Des.
"Hey you guys!" said Dickie. "Of course you know what this all means! Our nightly charity discos to raise funds to fix the church roof are back on!! So see ya tonight at 7.30!!"
"I think I'm going to move to Carlisle," mumbled Des.
Copyright © Robert Williams