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A Fête Worse Than Death: extract from the book
A Fete Worse Than Death - Iain Aitch

As we parked in the lane near to St Mary’s Church, where the fête was taking place, there was a certain something about the greenness of the trees and the shady walk down to the church that told me that I was right about this being an affluent area. My suspicions were confirmed when we were greeted with the cake stall at the entrance to the church. Before us rose a veritable K-2 of cakes, every one screaming ‘I was baked in an Aga you know’. It was good to know that those hours between greeting the nanny, lunch and the personal training session with Giles hadn’t gone to waste.

Further along, the barbecue was well underway and selling burgers made from local animals whose lineage could be traced back to the court of Henry VIII. There was also a huge array of salads and, of course, lashings of balsamic vinegar for all. Burgh was obviously the kind of place where petitions calling for the provision of quality ciabatta for all and the outlawing of instant coffee occupied the majority of parish council time.

In the church grounds there was a scene of dampened misery similar to that at Aylmerton, only here everyone was prepared with Barbour jackets, cagoules and golfing umbrellas. There was the usual array of games outside, including the fête staple of Whack the Rat, which requires you to hit a stuffed sock dropped down a drainpipe before it hits the ground. Who needs television?

Inside the church, the vicar himself was running a tombola of sorts. It was the kind where there is a board full of nails and you pay to pull them out, winning a prize if you pick one with a painted tip. I couldn’t help thinking that the vicar could have made the stall far more attractive by using a picture of the crucifixion with nails to pull out placed at strategic points, rather than just a plain white board, but I imagine that may have upset some of the parishioners.

I invested a pound in four nails and drew them out. I had a fifty per cent success rate. I hadn’t been paying too much attention to what colour on the end of the nail went with which prize, but it turned out that, along with my pack of fizzy chews, I had won one of the star prizes – a bottle of Chardonnay. The vicar didn’t exactly look delighted for me. Maybe he had been reading my thoughts about the crucifixion scene idea. Is having a potentially blasphemous thought a sin when it could actually help church funds?

Read the chapter breakdown to find out more about the contents of A Fête Worse Than Death.

All content copyright © 2008 Iain Aitch

 

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Related Links

Some of the events I attended, places I went and people I met along the way.
Toe Wrestling
Blyth Power folk-punk rail rockers
Eastfield Urban rail punk
Touchdown Tours the website of planespotter Paul Coppin
The Luftwaffe Historical Group
Bognor Birdman contest
The Aetherius Society
The Circlemakers
Wiltshire Crop Circle Study Group
The Eden Project
Pontins
Centerparcs
 
People I travelled with or who helped me in some way:
Chris Butler
Cathy Ward
Christina Lamb
Mark Pawson

Charlotte Cooper

Eric Wright