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Monday, December 11, 2006

Black eyed Bishops

You have to be fair, when the Guardian does gossip, it does it really well:

The Rt Rev Tom Butler, 66, one of the Church of England's most senior bishops and a pillar of Thought for the Day on the BBC Today programme, says he has no idea. Others say he was seen sitting in the back of a Mercedes chucking children's toys out of the window and announcing: "I'm the Bishop of Southwark. It's what I do."

Last night the bishop - who earlier in the week told a congregation that he could not get his mitre on because of the lump on his head - told the Guardian he could not recollect what had happened. Police were informed the following day that his briefcase, spectacles, a mobile phone and papers were missing.

"The problem is, I don't remember anything. This has been a difficulty from the start," he said ruefully. "I told the police I arrived home without my briefcase and with bruising on my face and a gash on the back of my head. There was this story about me being in a car at London Bridge, which I can remember absolutely nothing about. I thought I was travelling home on public transport. I went to the doctor the next day and was told my injuries were consistent with a blow to the head, so I assumed I had been mugged, but that's a supposition. I am hoping the police will be able to be clearer."

What he can remember is attending the pre-Christmas reception at the Irish embassy near Buckingham Palace. These are events not noted for their abstemiousness. MPs have been known to leave on their hands and knees.

"I can remember the reception. It was one of those pre-Christmas receptions with drinks and nibbles, with interesting conversations and interesting people. I had a drink," said the bishop, with what may or may not be a degree of understatement. "There lies the difficulty. I am not in a position to say dogmatically anything more about it. I have no memory of what happened. I came home certainly with an injury and with a loss of property."

As Christmas approaches and others suffer similar lapses in memory they may be conforted to know that they have been in good company.
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