Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Charitable Doings

Valley’s End practises a form of charity which is certainly not cold, and only stone-cold-sober when the Methodists arrange it. Before we came here I used to think of charity in the bleak terms of a Dickens novel, or worse, as described by Albert Camus in 'The Fall’, when he said “too many people have decided to do without generosity in order to practise charity”. Charity in Valley’s End is Fun; harmless Fun (note the capital F), the sort that does nobody any damage except that too much Fun might cause  reputations to get shredded temporarily. Sometimes it’s worthy, sometimes it’s earnest,  sometimes somebody wags a moralistic finger in your face, but basically, when people get together in the name of a good cause, they always remember that laughter, a glass of wine,  a bit of jollity, produce a bigger haul of pennies in the tin than a straight demand for cash.

We’ve just had three different fundraisers, the
highlight being the Fiesta Espanola.

The Spanish class, which is taught by Jay,
a former teacher living in the village,
decided to make up for their
so far only middling success in learning the
language by exposing their not inconsiderable
thespian and musical talents, not to mention chutzpah, to a large assembly in the Church Hall.

The money raised was to go towards badly
needed structural repairs for St George’s Church.
My table did its very best to make a real
difference by buying as many bottles of wine as
five of us could safely drink in two-and-a-half hours of entertainment, without ending up under it.

Hence the shredded reputation.

The evening kicked off with an initial
wine-tasting, half a glass each - a crafty
wheeze if ever there was one -  plenty of tapas,
and Spanish songs.

Singing in a foreign language allows the singer
to gloss over mispronunciations and the more
enthusiastic the singing, the easier it gets.

Wine continued to play a major role throughout the
evening; considering that this was the Church Hall
the whole thing was quite disgraceful. I can’t think what
the vicar was doing allowing such levity as a Porron drinking competition. The participants were furnished with a large towel to drape over their shoulders in case of spillage, of which there was plenty. The winner was the one whose towel didn’t need wringing out at the end.

Ruth, ever the mainstay of any theatrical event in Valley’s
End, took over the role of Basil in the Spanish
version of Fawlty Towers, namely ‘Torres Basilianas’
which interrupted the singing, probably to stop the
audience getting wholly out of hand. By now we were all singing lustily, even those of us who speak not a word of Spanish.

I believe the grand total of £900 was raised.
That should stop a few bricks falling on the
congregation’s head.


  1. That sounds like totally fun; wine, singing in Spanish, Faulty Towers in Spanish, and all for a good cause. I love to see old churches repaired and not torn down.

  2. onderhoud is duur,daarom verzinnen ze overal dingen die geld opleveren voor de restauratie.

  3. Sleepy Hollow, it is not. The whole description glowed with warmth. Thanks for taking us there.

  4. After an evening like this , would one really notice the odd falling brick ?

  5. Friko, you are the best chronicler of life in an English village. Definitely more rollicking than Miss Read! Love it.

  6. very cool....charitable giving is a beautiful thing...and there are so many in need as well you know...singing in a foreign language sounds a wee bit hard, but hey if everyone is forgiving...smiles.

  7. Oh how wonderful it is to read your descriptions of English life. I'd definitely want to be at your table! And you even made some money -- bravo!

  8. 'Oh my dear we're off to sunny Spain' even if we only get as far as Valley's End - Viva Espagnol. Friko, what a fantastic time you all had and raised all those pesetas - well done all of you

  9. What a super way to raise funds....and how well you describe the Fun.

    Years ago when using the church hall there was a strict 10.00 p.m.curfew for everything from carpet bowls to a well oiled retirement social though it was probably with the latter in mind that the lady in charge of bookings would say

    'Now remember, it's wheelbarrows at ten...'

  10. that chap with the moustache looks like Boyce from Only Fools And Horses - is it?

  11. I know, B's Presbyterian congregation doesn't allow any kind of liquor at church functions -- and they have a heck of a time raising money!

  12. Nothing like singing in Spanish to make people feel generous. Throw in a half-gallon of wine and even I will write a hefty check.

  13. I haven't gone to church in awhile, but I think I'd like to go to this one.

  14. I don't know why Methodists have to wring the last little shred of fun out of everything, but they do, don't they? Somebody's sure to chime in and say, "I'm Methodist and we have plenty of fun making our popcorn balls while we wear our tasseled Christmas stocking hats!" Yeah right. Used to be Methodist, been there, done that.
    Now wine and singing! What's better'n'at?

  15. Now, that sounds like a rocking good time and fun way to raise funs.

  16. The ladies have learned the secret to partying under the Vicar's nose... do it in Spanish so he won't know what's going on!

  17. Sounds just like MY kind of gathering, Friko! I think the hangover would be worth it. :-)

  18. Well, this is hilarious. What I think I loved best was the way you set off "Hence the shredded reputation" as a separate paragraph, so that we all might pause and simply imagine what took place!

  19. yes, but where is Millie!

    Aloha from Honolulu
    Comfort Spiral

    ~ > < } } ( ° >

    > < 3 3 3 ( ' >

    ><}}(°> ~

  20. Friko, I so enjoy experiencing life in an Engish village through your eyes! From the breathtaking photos to fun stories like this one, it's always such a pleasure to visit!

  21. HAhaha! So good to see drinking included as a charitable activity, and therefore worthy of emulation!! That'll be MY excuse when I'm next caught out!!!

  22. Frico, your church vicar is very tolerant man. I suppose that collected money will be useful.
    Thank you for Translator, now it's easier to understand some words.

  23. Sounds like a great night out with friends - and if it served a good cause, all the better! What's "bottoms up" in Spanish?

  24. Hi Friko - sounds like a fun event with a difference .. the thought of most people attempting to sing in Spanish would be positively mouthwatering ... or mouthvintering ... and therefore mouthspluttering ... it's great that the village will pull together and raise funds while having fun at the same time. English village life is just slightly different isn't it .. and very special.

    Love the paragraphs ... on shredded ... usually cabbage I thought - not people ... and the fact you all needed proverbial towels ...

    I had to look up Porron ... I see Wiki has some good explanations - Orwell is quoted ... but I'm sure you know this one .... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Porron - made me laugh and I know my mother would have too ....

    Cheers - a well deserved fund raising ... always good to bring the village together .. Hilary


  25. Great idea!! I would have been under the table for sure!!
    Well done

  26. Friko, there's lots of creative imagination bubbling around Valley's End!

    Bravo to all involved in your fund raising soiree. xo

  27. A fun charade that makes money...Good for you.

  28. sounds like a very fun evening. I love listening to songs in Spanish. Not being able to understand the lyrics makes it better for some reason.

  29. Looks and sounds like it could have BEEN an episode of Faulty Towers, er,‘Torres Basilianas!’ Not much can be better than a good time for a good cause! :)

  30. Dear Friko, you are a born storyteller with tongue in cheek! Peace.

  31. And a jolly good time was had by all! That 900 pounds was a good effort - Dave

  32. Village fund-raisers are all about fun and enjoyment, Friko, whether it's a concert, a quiz or a social evening like this. I hope your reputation is rapidly repairing itself....

  33. When the English are silly, they are very silly, indeed. I love Valley's End's way of fundraising!

  34. "Charity" has helped me with patience & self-sacrifice. Your fund-raiser sounds high fun & high empathic. And you tell a good story, as always. ~Mary

  35. I think your evening sounds splendid indeed and 900 pounds is a tremendous amount! there are lots of ways to raise money but I like the interactive, joyful ones the best. If I was in England, you know I'd be there!


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