An American photographer on vacation was inside a church in Oldham taking photographs when he noticed a golden telephone mounted on the wall with a sign that read '£10,000 per call'.
The American, being intrigued, asked a priest who was strolling by what the telephone was used for. The priest replied that it was a direct line to heaven and that for £10,000 you could talk to God. The American thanked the priest and went along his way.
Next stop was in Manchester... There, at a very large cathedral, he saw the same golden telephone with the same sign under it. He wondered if this was the same kind of telephone he saw in Oldham and he asked a nearby nun what its purpose was. She told him that it was a direct line to heaven and that for £10,000 he could talk to God.
'O.K., thank you,' said the American.
He then travelled to Blackburn, Darwen, Burnley, Rochdale and Littleborough. In every church he saw the same golden telephone with the same '£10,000 per call' sign under it. The American, upon leaving Lancashire decided to travel to Yorkshire to see if Yorkshiremen had the same phone.
He arrived in Todmorden, and again, in the first church he entered, there was the same golden telephone, but this time the sign under it read '50 pence per call.'
The American was surprised so he asked the priest about the sign. 'Father, I've travelled all over Lancashire and I've seen this same golden telephone in many churches. I'm told that it is a direct line to heaven, but in Lancashire the price was £10,000 per call. Why is it so cheap here?'
The priest smiled and answered, 'You're in Yorkshire now, son. It's a local call.'
"Being Irish, he had an abiding sense of tragedy, which sustained him through temporary periods of joy."