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And this fabulous can of soup

We went to a church flower festival this weekend, one of England’s zanier natural disasters. How it works is, they pick a theme for the festival, and a dozen or so people make flower arrangements and little tableaux on the subject and scatter them around the church. There’s usually a helpful program.

That doesn’t sound weird? Well, this is how it usually ends up: say the theme is “summer activities”, you’re going to find a vase of zinnias and a grubby sneaker in the pulpit. And a bowl of badminton shuttlecocks with petunia in the baptismal font. (Hello? Salvador Dali called: he’s a lit-tle creeped out and he’d like a ride home now, please).

There’s usually refreshments and some stalls and other fundraising things outside, in aid of the church building. Bits of this church are 900 years old. It has clearly been extensively renovated many times over the centuries. There’s a sign on the tipjar by the door that says it costs £100 a day to keep the building together.

And that’s the thing. This is a little community to pony up a hundred smackers a day. And, without breaking a sweat, I can think of a dozen villages around me with small populations and beautiful ancient churches to keep afloat.

The big ‘C’ Church helps with the costs, of course, and there are various architectural grants and things. But these great old buildings are mostly kept alive by locals. I don’t know if it’s a Christian thing, this bedrock devotion to the church building. I suspect not. It’s very powerful, though.

Oh, I won that can of soup in the raffle. Only cost me a pound in tickets. I like to imagine some nice old English lady shrieking, “oh my lord — the flower festival is today! Quick, go into the kitchen and grab something. Anything!”

sock it to me

Comments


Comment from Christopher Taylor
Time: June 25, 2013, 10:57 pm

I bet its good soup though.

 


Comment from Stephen Falken
Time: June 25, 2013, 11:39 pm

Next year, I think, you should use your artistic skills and create a nice flower arrangement.

 


Comment from Nina
Time: June 26, 2013, 12:55 am

Stoaty, you simply must keep your eye out for another charming English Badger who wants to sweep an American female off her feet and bring her to southern England to live the rural life in an old house. With chooks. You and your Englishman are having just too much fun…and it’s got to be better than trying to teach science to ungrateful teenagers ten months out of the year.

Or northern England, I’m not choosy. 🙂

🙂

 


Comment from Mrs Compton
Time: June 26, 2013, 1:15 am

I say they just adopt us, Nina.

 


Comment from Deborah
Time: June 26, 2013, 2:04 am

If my “home” church was ancient, I’m sure I would feel enormous devotion to the building. But I’ve been a nomad for a long time, so no particular church building means a lot to me. But I love the Alamo with all my heart and soul, so I get it. One of the touching things about being at the Alamo, is seeing the number of people outside on the grounds who are painting, or drawing the facade. It’s a calm and pleasant place to be, but you never forget that it’s honored as holy ground.

 


Comment from eastAsia
Time: June 26, 2013, 2:29 am

I wonder if the nice old English lady would be shocked to know how many people, tother side of the pond (hell, all over the world), are sharing her soup. Vicariously, course.

 


Comment from Nina
Time: June 26, 2013, 2:45 am

That would work too, Mrs. C.

🙂

 


Comment from P2
Time: June 26, 2013, 3:32 am

Had a church still in use and what remained of a castle keep, both finished in the late 900’s in the village in Suffolk where I spent my last couple of year’s in England… I get the whole donation thing for the buildings. I did notice that the 900 yr old pub was faring much better…… Nina, would a Yank who spent enough time in Old Blighty to be considered a displaced Brit be enough to sweep you??

 


Comment from Christopher Taylor
Time: June 26, 2013, 3:49 am

The building doesn’t matter much to me, although I prefer it to be conspicuously a church rather than an office building or barn. I prefer the focus be on what goes on inside; let that be ancient, holy, revered, and impressive.

 


Comment from Davem123
Time: June 26, 2013, 5:13 am

I’ve never made it to England, though I’d love to go. I have seen a modern interpretation of an old English country church, though. They’ve built one at the Mighty 8th Air Force Museum just outside of Savanna, GA.They call it the Chapel of the Fallen Eagles. I like the feel of it, a bit small on the inside. Just like the Alamo, in that regard.

 


Comment from Mike C.
Time: June 26, 2013, 6:59 am

Always a struggle to preserve architecture, and an even greater struggle to preserve not just the exterior, but the whole thing, and to it’s original purpose. I hate seeing things like houses and taverns converted to law offices or little shops. It’s better than having them just torn down, but it’s not great.

 


Comment from dissent555
Time: June 26, 2013, 12:55 pm

Stoaty, you simply must keep your eye out for another charming English Badger who wants to sweep an American female off her feet and bring her to southern England to live the rural life in an old house. With chooks. You and your Englishman are having just too much fun…and it’s got to be better than trying to teach science to ungrateful teenagers ten months out of the year.

Green Acres – English version.

 


Comment from scottthebadger
Time: June 26, 2013, 1:30 pm

Sigh, American Badgers remain solitary creatures, while English ones have waiting lists.

 


Comment from mojo
Time: June 26, 2013, 2:20 pm

You might like a novel by Connie Willis called “To Say Nothing of The Dog”, whose MacGuffin is something called “The Bishop’s Bird-Stump”…

 


Comment from AliceH
Time: June 26, 2013, 2:36 pm

mojo: I love that book!

It’s not required in order to enjoy Willis’ book, but I highly recommend one first reads Jerome K Jerome’s “Three Men in a Boat” first. There are many allusions to it both explicit (via events and dialogue) and implicit (via the itinerary and scenery).

 


Comment from mojo
Time: June 26, 2013, 4:44 pm

You might also try her sorta-prequel, “Doomsday Book”, but it’s pretty much a downer, storyline-wise.

 


Comment from Deborah
Time: June 26, 2013, 10:00 pm

Perhaps the American badger should copy some examples from the English badger for wooing the elusive Weasel. Suggestions:
1. give her live chickens
2. take her on frequent days trips and buy her tea
3. indulge her interests
4.

 


Comment from Nina
Time: June 27, 2013, 1:16 am

Live in a charming English village. 🙂

 


Comment from AliceH
Time: June 27, 2013, 1:43 am

There is something comforting about a land that delights in pottering about while cautioning against mucking about. Too expensive for me to live there even in the frugal style to which I’m accustomed, though. I checked.

 


Comment from Rich Rostrom
Time: June 27, 2013, 1:44 am

I might have a comment in the spam trap…

Don’t care that much, but I’d like to know and maybe avoid it in future.

 


Comment from scottthebadger
Time: June 27, 2013, 2:08 am

Deborah, I don’t have the slightest idea where to go to get a bouqet of chickens.

 


Comment from Deborah
Time: June 27, 2013, 3:44 am

I know, scottthebadger, I know. It’s a problem.

 

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