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ETA: You can tell I wrote this late at night - forgot to mention this was for the 50 Days Meme!

DAY NINETEEN: whatever tickles your fancy

Here's a strange thing: R found a news story about how the officials of a church in Cheltenham sold a painting of the Madonna and Child without permission. It was auctioned off for £20,000, resulting in church court proceedings and the vicar leaving the parish. I think the scariest bit in the article is when they say that there was "an initial plan to throw it away": http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-gloucestershire-29347751

But if you click through to the investigation report by the chancellor of the diocese (link goes to the PDF), things get more and more surreal. It seems the painting was regarded as too Catholic (which is quite impressive given that they seem barely to have glanced at it or been aware of it for some time) and, well... the writer of the report does not pull any punches:

"They were not in any way being dishonest. Their behaviour was more akin to a driver who causes a crash by driving through a red light, but whose excuse is: 'I had never bothered to read the Highway Code, and I forgot what I had been told about it, and so I did not know what was the purpose of a red light.'"

"In the event, someone, when it was on the point of being thrown out into a skip, did question as to whether it might have a few pounds value. Given the plethora of television programmes about auctions and treasures in the attic, I suppose I must be grateful that some kind of warning bell was rung.

However, worse was to come."

You can really hear her getting her narrative thing on here.

"This wretched and lamentable history is a textbook example of how not to do things, as I have sadly had to set out above. Monumental stupidity is involved, some degree of arrogance, and, even possibly [I make no finding as to the latter] a degree of evasiveness."

Unflinching practicality re: the asbestos/leaky roof budget:

"...but there is a limit to the burdens that can be placed successfully on an average congregation of some 40 adults."

I enjoyed this as much as those proceedings about Richard III that semyaza found...