"So Luke, when I saw you last Sunday you had been out the previous night performing a caesarian on a sheep, how have the last seven days been?" came the question.
I smiled politely, collected myself, and cut to the chase.
"Last night had call about a sick Terrapin, 11pm, owner thought it was swimming funny - booked it in for a blood sample so no dramas, but the previous week has generally been mad. The practice has been busier than ever; Sinead has been healing a donkey with tetanus, James has been castrating any stallion that moves, Becky has been working through the nights sorting a dog with renal failure and Caroline has just got back from a a trip to the International Training Centre in India. Personally, Thursday was a low one for me - bit of a death run, weaving from house to house doing what needed to be done, but aside from that, I've been doing a fair bit of surgery and monitoring a critical patient so holding my breath on that front."
There was a pause, a small collection of family and friends had gathered around.
"What was wrong with it?"
"It was a Jack Russell Terrier, got a bit carried away, developed something called priapism, permanent erection. By the time we were onto it, it was too far gone, penis had turned gangrenous so had to amputate - took the scrotum as well.....it's doing great...."
I tailed off. The Catholic priest looked at me, his eyes widening in surprise. A collective gasp sounded from the back of the room as an eerie silence descended. Several key phrases not to bring up at your sons christening had somehow been spoken. Personally I blame a keen moralistic sense of duty not to lie to a Father of the cloth. Others might think I had been a touch under the influence. Either way, no coming back from that one.
"We also rescued another Tawny owl this week..." I tried to recover, but a few sniggers said it all. I noticed my sister in law quietly shake her head.
The Father took it in his stride, after all, I am sure he hears worse in confession. It just seems that recently, many of my conversations with any figure of religious authority somehow go a bit awry. The last time we had a chat, we ended up discussing the fate of the apostles. Now they had a tough time of it - no swift amuptations for them. Peter was crucified head down, Andrew crucified, John banished, Philip probably martyed, Thomas speared, Matthew martyed, James martyed, Simon crucified or hacked to death, Matthais probably martyed, Jude killed, Judas - intestines burst and Paul beheaded. All in all, not just miracles, food and wine being one of the elite 12. Judas was never destined for a happy ending, we all know he was in for it, but the rest of them - I had no idea. No one said it was always easy to follow Christ, even so, no one told us that morbid news at Sunday school, even if it was over 2000 years ago. Again, this wasn't a subject to bring up over a cup of tea on a Tuesday night.
So to more cheery news, we now have a rescue rabbit called Ben. Ben is 4 years old. Noah (my son) saw him in the adoption corner at a local pet store - for pets returned unwanted - and that was that. Noah's first pet and he's doing great. Ginny and her team at the store were super thorough, checked us out and sure enough, Ben is now firmly ruling the roost around the place. Truth be told, I have never been into pet rabbits, but Ben is growing on me and I've lined him up for the next topic of conversation should I strike up conversation with another Father in the near future. It's got to be a safe bet hasn't it? The only slight worry is that Ben needs a friend and that means he needs castrating and that means... I am back into that awkward terriority of chit chat again. Probably best I just keep a backseat for once and chew on a carrot.