For those who remember with fondness the 'Awkward Churchwarden' stories that used to feature in our magazine, written by our previous Editor Reg Frary, you will be interested to know that Reg also writes books all on the subject of church life. Although not on the subject of animal welfare, his books are very enjoyable and for cat lovers - look out for the cat that appears on every cover! They can be ordered from Amazon or from all good bookshops.

You might also be interested in the article that appeared on the BBC website on Reg


Book Reviews


We Don't Do That Tune, Vicar

More disharmony in the choir

ISBN 978-1-85311-837-1


The Lost Chords

The parish choir tries its best

ISBN 978-1-85311-977-4

Both By
Reginald Frary

Published by Canterbury Press, Norwich Paperbacks

Amid all the snow and ice, rising taxes and other gloom with which 2010 came to an end reading these two books brought a real light into the darkness and gave cheer when there was little of that commodity around.

Reginald Frary has been singing in church choirs for more than sixty years and has previously written at half a dozen similar books of amusing anecdotes from choirs where he and his many friends sing. One does not have to be a chorister to appreciate these stories; I am certain that similar interactions are to be found in belfries and other groups, whether linked to a church or not, throughout the land. Although setting out with a common purpose, such societies can easily descend to apparent chaos - often with hilarious outcomes.

For some two hundred years, choirs have been a rich part of the fabric of Anglican worship. From the early days when they were hidden in a gallery through the introduction of organs and organists to today they have been at the heart of parish worship.

The reader is led to a variety of churches, some urban and some set in the West Country or East Anglia and introduced to a wide range of characters, many of whom we can all recognise. The "coven of contraltos", Growler and Howler, the sexton who fills the choir vestry with sacks of fertiliser and old mowers but whose grand-daughter is the soprano soloist, the enthusiastic new vicar and the vicar's warden who sits in the back pew are but a few.

Reginald tells these anecdotes with a gentle humour, always laughing with and never at his subjects. It is no surprise that he has so many friends who regularly invite him to be a guest member of their parish choirs. Having been a churchwarden I shall now view our choir in a totally new light.


John Roll Pickering