Early this time last year the Lord spoke to Naoh and said, “In six months I am going to make it rain until the whole world is covered with water and all the evil things are destroyed. But, I want to save a few good people and two of every living thing on the planet. I am ordering you to build an ark.” And, in a flash of lightning, He delivered the specifications for the ark.
‘OK,’ Noah said, trembling with fear and fumbling with the blueprints, ‘I’m your man.’
Six months passed, the sky began to cloud up, arid the rain began to fall in torrents. The lord looked down and saw Noah sitting in his garden, weeping and there was no ark.
‘Noah!’ shouted the Lord, ‘Where is my ark?’ A lightning bolt crashed to the ground right beside Noah.
‘Lord, please forgive me!’ begged Noah. ‘I did my best, but there were some big problems. First, I had to get planning permission for the ark’s construction, but your plans were not liked my Borough Council. When I put in my application under the Town and Country Planning Acts and Orders, the chief planning officer came for a site inspection. He said he did not consider my small garden as having development .potential for a large ark.’
‘Then English Heritage arrived. They said my cottage is Grade 2 listed, and ark might have a detrimental impact upon the character of the property. However, if I was to go ahead, I should at least make the ark of authentic gopher wood, and not settle for anything reconstituted. Then the highway engineers arrived, and were worried about vehicular access. They did not see how I was going to get my ark out of the garden without cutting down the ancient hedgerow. If I did that, they’d get The Council for the Protection of Rural England after me. They did not believe me when I said I expected it to float away.’
‘Then the planning officers said that in any case I was not allowed to build anything in cubits – it all has to be centimetres now we’re part of Europe. So, I had to hire an architect to redo the plans, only to get into a long argument with him about whether to include a sprinkler system. Then, I had a big problem getting enough of any kind of wood for the ark because there is a ban on cutting trees to save the barn owls. I tried to convince the environmentalists that I needed the wood to save more than just the owls, but they wouldn’t believe me.’
‘Next, I started gathering up the animals, but got sued by an animal rights group that objected to me taking along only two of each kind. Just when the case got dismissed, tile Nature Conservancy Council notified me that I couldn’t complete the ark without filling out an environmental impact statement on your proposed flood. They didn’t take kindly to the idea that they had no jurisdiction over the Supreme Being.’
‘Then, the Borough Council and Railtrack wanted a map of the proposed flood plan. I sent them a globe!’
‘Right now, I’m still trying to resolve a complaint with the Equal Rights people over how many minorities I’m supposed to hire. And the RSPCA has persuaded the Home Office to seize my passport, as they claim that I am trying to leave the country with a lot of animals that haven’t been rnicro-chipped.’
‘So, I’m really sorry, but I don’t think I can finish this ark.’
With that, the Lord sighed, and the rain slowly stopped. The sky finally cleared, the sun began to shine, and a rainbow arched across the sky. Noah looked up arid smiled. ‘You mean you are not going to destroy the world?’ he asked hopefully.’
‘No,’ said the Lord. ‘I can’t face all that bureaucracy either.’