Margaret and Marian disagreed about what to serve at the annual party to benefit their diocese’s homeless ministry. The problem was whether to serve alcohol at the gathering. Margaret worried that people would not attend a party with no alcoholic beverages, resulting in a very small turnout in the village. But Marian felt that a party with alcohol sent the wrong message, particularly as the church very much discouraged the drinking of alcohol. They looked for a middle ground: a drink that was not too likely to cause many people to become overly inebriated.
They chose to serve bishops, the hot drink made of port wine, oranges, cloves, and other spices. They thought that the oranges could serve to slow down the effects of the wine. They decided to create a batch of bishops and evaluate the effects.
Margaret volunteered to concoct the brew for them. The only problem was that Margaret, being an ex-pat from America, did not know how to change ounces to milliliters, so instead of the 25 ounces of port required, which equaled about 750 ml, she mistakenly used 1500 ml, which nearly doubled the potency of the drink.
To their great joy, the vicar stopped in and they asked her to help them make the decision. The vicar drank a small cup of bishop, and quite liked the taste. She kept saying, “Just one more, I think, to be absolutely sure!” By the fourth or fifth cup (no one was sure of just how many), the vicar, Margaret, and Marian were starting to list to one side, and Margaret wondered when did the vicar’s twin sister join them.
Unaccustomed to drinking more than one glass of wine, if that much, the vicar left to drive home. Everything was great, until she missed the curve right beside the butcher’s shop, and drove straight through the front of the shop and right up to the counter, barely missing Mr. Simon, the butcher’s helper. Needless to say, the embarrassed vicar, now an avowed teetotaler, has been assigned to a new post, and no alcohol was served at the event, after all.