A chaplain (especially one who is abroad) needs to know many things. He needs to know how to put together the English calendar with the French one. He needs to be able to decipher the half whispered confessions of boys in French. He needs to be able to work out if there is a good reason why half of his class do not have socks on, or no ties, or three ties... or any combination thereof.
But most of all he needs to know how to cure a Rabbit Skin.
No, really, he does. I'll tell you how the boys got the rabbit skins some other time (ahem!) but all I know is that my boys think that curing rabbit skins is something that a chaplain not only should but will know how to do.
I heard this conversation, behind me:
Scout 1 "Who shall we ask about the Rabbit skin?"
Scout 2 "Father. Father will know what to do."
Well, faced with such confidence, what should a chaplain abroad do? I dredged my memories for all of those Boy's Own annuals of my youth and remembered the universal truth about salt and skin. As long as the skin was relatively clean, then it could be salted. Lots of salt.
So I went along with my trusty knife and scraped some remaining flesh from the skin (though the Scouts had done awonderful job already) and supervised the rubbing in of salt.
And it worked (after a fashion). Well until it started to rain then it became ever so whiffy.
So that is another string to my bow and another section in the job description:
"Chaplain Abroad - needs to be able to cure a Rabbit Skin"