Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Excuse me, but I'm enjoying the Crash

Those of you who follow county cricket will have noticed by now that Suffolk and Norfolk aren't amongst the iconic cricketing shires; Hampshire, Worcs, Yorkshire, the home counties and even Glamorgan have deep cricketing roots that have completely failed to grow in Anglia proper. There's also a deep genetic contrast between my old friends from the West and my older friends from the East; in Hereford it's cider, the mullet and who cares. In Diss it's ale, short back and sides and take care. No surprise then that East Anglia's heart was with Cromwell's roundheads whilst the zider drinking cricketers went with Charles. Cricket is somehow frivolous, you see; not a serious job of work as we say. Our boom was over by the fifteenth century, and we went quietly back to sleep until the industrial revolution and the coming of the trains. Even the industrial revolution left us pretty well untouched. We saw Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham grow from villages to cities and collapse again and nodded sagely and muttered "I knew that wouldn't last".

Drive through Suffolk and in almost every village where there's a mediaeval church, you'll find a Methodist or Dissenters chapel. Building historians who scour our mediaeval parish churches in vain for traces of gilded saints or lachrymose virgins conclude that the Puritan iconoclasts must have done a good job, neglecting the possibility that we never had them in the first place, preferring our places of worship to be clean and austere.

Ours too is a shire of solid virtuous Yeomen; the local grammar or minor public school, redbrick uni or local agricultural college (RAC being a debauched Satanic temple not worthy of the scions of decent Suffolk growth) and keeping a decent distance from the 'county set', a racy and cosmopolitan crowd with their Etons and Oxfords and Beerage nobility.

You can see where I'm going with this by now. There's something in my bones that's very Anglian and is actually enjoying the prospect of hardship, collapse, ruin and apocalyptic destruction. From the fire of suffering comes purity and that sort of thing. I'm actually looking forward to the prospect of baking my own bread from hoarded flour supplies in a wood oven in the garden. In winter. When it's raining. During a power cut. I'm sorry. I really am. But when the FTSE falls below 3000 or Waitrose goes into receivership or Easyjet goes bust there'll be something deep inside that smiles in deep satisfaction. It's wrong. It's immoral. It's irrational. It's the sort of desire for catharsis that led to the mud of Flanders in 1914. Is it just me?

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Have you forgotten that Essex is a First Class County?

Or are you one of those who exclude us good men of the three scimitars from East Anglia?

Anonymous said...

And don't start anything about them not having First Class and Minor Counties any more.

You might as well say there are no longer Three Ridings in Yorkshire.

Raedwald said...

ha! It was once said by an early chronicler that 'The inhabitants of Essex are half East Anglian and half Human' so I'm hoist either way; personally I'm happy to include much of Essex as EA. Especially the dark witch country and those isolated marsh villages ...

Nick Drew said...

a bit parochial, Mr R - it tolls for thee !

it is said that during WW1, French propaganda-merchants tried to stir up the denizens of the South (of France) against the Germans with tales of atrocities committed upon their Northern countrymen

but it didn't work, they didn't much care

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