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.
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