Posts tagged ‘village’

Jun 2009
Fete worth than death

Tomorrow is the day when the village I’m planning to move in to gets together and tries to earn money to stop the village hall from falling down.

Everyone gets together at The Chase, or the farm, or the house that is still known by the surname of the old lady who died 20 years ago, and they eat cream teas made with Tesco Value jam, and play those strange games that you only ever see at this level of fund raising event – tombolas and raffles; guess the name of the teddy and the weight of the cake; get as few points as possible at clock golf or as many as possible at pig bowling on a lawn that resembles the Himalayas. And I know that I will both love it and hate it.

I’ve lived there, on and off, for 15 years, yet I know that I’m still considered a new comer. In all that time, just one house has been built, and that was for the old farm manager not an outsider. I’ll go to the fete and know that barely half a dozen people will recognise and acknowledge me – and one of those will think I’m my brother.

Yet still, I’ll enjoy it in that way where you don’t really enjoy anything. It’s a sign that the village still cares about itself and is still small enough that everyone feels that they need to take part. Hell, I know that by next year I’ll be conned into running a stall of some kind – the ultimate sacrifice since it means you can’t bugger off when it gets tedious.

But I’ll be there – just like I’ve been there every year since 1987.

Yet, if I’m honest, one of the reasons I love it so much is that it lets me replay my old “Fete worse than death” joke. It’s hardly an original joke, but it’s one that appeared spontaneously many years ago and has remained a family joke ever since. I don’t recall who first made the joke either. It has a certain dark depressing cynical word play that could well be my doing. But that’s hardly unique in my family.

Yet, despite not being original, it always raises a smile, and it always seems to be new to someone.

There’s just one rule… don’t let anyone in the village hear you call it that…