On Saturday we went to the summer fete in the village where we first rented a cottage in the Cotswolds. Dorothy was on duty collecting the £1 entrance fee. She’s getting a bit forgetful (she tried to get me to pay twice!) but she can still add up your bill in her head when you buy supplies from her at the village shop she runs most days. Jean was also there, busy judging the various dog classes, my favourite of which was “dog with the waggiest tail.” There were way more ribbons on offer than dogs in the village.
On Sunday we went back to the village for church. Jean was on duty again, this time as a lay minister leading matins. Dorothy was there too and led a prayer that covered victims of friendly fire in Afghanistan, knife crime in London, and, of course, the Queen (“an inspiration”).
These two older ladies (Dorothy is 80, Jean 60+) make up over twenty percent of the normal Sunday congregation in addition to their myriad of other civic duties. It makes me wonder what will happen when they are gone. There is the younger Chris, who is the local post-mistress (until her post office closes later this summer and she becomes solely a shop-mistress) and was on duty at the fete dispensing tea and cakes.
Another country lady who caught my attention this week was Mrs. Moneypenny, a columnist in the Weekend FT. Her Sunday piece was essentially a retelling of an evening at a country house where Mrs. Moneypenny got very pissed and passed out on the bathroom floor – not what I’d expect to read from a very successful businesswoman with three kids (her cost centres as she calls them) and a husband, although I was highly amused. After three years away from the puritanical bonds of the United States, I am still taken aback at the friendly ease with which tales of excess are thrown about the workplace, or the national media in this case. I remember when I used to do quaint things like hide the fact that I was hungover from my boss.