Thursday, 19 March 2009

The Wilful Walks of C.J.Duffy part one


Saint Andrews Church – Ashingdon * Full Bladders * Ghosts of Saxons *Old King Canute


Sitting by the weathered, lichen covered gravestones that are slowly sinking into the greedy Essex soil; I can see before me the flat marsh lands of this East Anglia County. It was down upon those neatly cropped fields, now the land of farmers, where Edmund Ironside fought against Canute. One a Saxon King the other a Dane. They fought, as Kings did in those days, for ownership of land which in itself is, if not a little bizarre then certainly a rather pointless exercise but perhaps that conclusion is just the perspective that history allows.
Further out, beyond Canewdon, named after Canute, and a bit to the east is Pagelsham where you can see one of the tributaries of the Thames estuary that leads even further east and into London. Across these level lands a mist sometimes rolls in from off the water, covering the rough ploughed fields with a lace of grey. I still see those ancient Saxon armies with their men armed with swords in their scabbards and shields slung across their broad shoulders, while others carry axe and spear, strung out like beads on an old ladies dress, marching with a soft sound of wet soil beneath their booted feet. Were you to dig down deep enough, I wonder what fossils of bones you might find? How many broken blades? How many helms cleaved in two? The fragmented bones of fragile infants; the teeth and jaw bone of family canines, all long dead and equally long forgotten.
On the hill that overlooks the vale of what was once known as Assandun is a church: Saint Andrews. It was built four years after the battle of the place it now overlooks: The Battle of Assandun. Only a short four miles north is a place called Battlesbridge, it is aptly named as that is where the first clang of swords would have been heard. The battle was fought in ten sixteen and Saint Andrews was built in ten twenty. The church is some eleven years shy of being one thousand years old. Can you believe that? A building that has seen nigh on one thousand years of history; of the progress of European man; his comings and goings, his wars, his creativity counter balanced by his apparent disregard for all but himself.
As I sit observing I am forced to move occasionally to another bench. This is due to the sun that hangs distant in the March sky for although relatively warm it still strikes cold as it moves in orbit and hides behind the church tower and so I move with it.
Before I left home I prepared for myself some tomatoes; tomatoes on toast sprinkled liberally with salt and pepper. This I washed down with a cup of tea (well, I am English after all) and to ensure, because of the climb up the hill, that I have a sufficient blood sugar level, I drank a half a bottle of Lucozade. Unfortunately, the consequence of downing all this liquid is an overwhelming need to urinate. Normally, I would simply find a tree and do against it what comes naturally. However, this is a graveyard; not that I am religious in any way whatsoever but the thought of taking a leak onto a grave strikes me as, if not the act of sheer vandalism, probably sacrilegious, but certainly highly disrespectful. How would you like it if an Englishman pissed onto your grave? I suppose that I could relieve myself against the church wall but even that seems wrong somehow, something a green haired punk of nineteen might do but not some middle aged old fart of fifty five. I mean, my rebellious youth has surely passed me by? I’m sure God wouldn’t mind if I took a leak against the church wall, he could simply summon a cloud and get the rain to wash it all clean, but I bet you a fiver the vicar would be none too pleased. Nor would my wife when she read the local news paper headlines: middle aged family man relieves himself in graveyard. Wouldn’t look to clever would it?
Anyway, I gird my loins, or whatever it is that one does when their bladder is full to bursting and look back down over the vale of history.
It is about four, maybe five, miles from where I sit to the reciprocal village church in Canewdon. I don’t know its name but I fancy it might be the same as the one in Ashingdon, Saint Andrews, I know the one in nearby Rochford is Saint Andrews which makes me think that those ancient Danes and Saxons, as good at fighting battles as they undoubtedly were, by the same token weren’t very creative when it came to naming churches.
Now then, where was I? Oh yes, Canewdon’s church is said to be haunted. You see Canewdon used to have witches all of whom would have met with some pretty gruesome and horrific deaths. When you stand outside Canewdon’s church you can audibly hear a low moaning as of spectral voices. Perhaps they are moaning because they too need to urinate?

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all words and art are copyright © of C.J. Duffy.


9 comments:

starbender said...

Yeah! You are still here. I'm back, and now most are missing!

Go figure!

Stop by and say hi.

http://wackocrazy.blogspot.com/
¸.•*¨ƸӜƷ Starbender ƸӜƷ¨*•.¸

weirsdo said...

As usual, I'd like to read more. . . .
This piece gives me a sense of pent up frustration . . .

C.J.Duffy said...

Starbender>>>Good to see that some of the old crew are still out there. Welcome back!

anonant said...

Just pick the grave of one who deserves the rain. :)
There is a saying in my family when one of us injures the others dignity, "Thats OK I'll just piss on your grave at your funeral."
Hope your hearts are getting close again.
peace

C.J.Duffy said...

weirsdo>>>I think you may be right. At least i am not being so boringly self absorbed though which must be a relief? LOL!

bananasembassy said...

ehy ... lot of culture in this blog! but my English will be empruved by that. XD

Shadow Lor said...

Why give up your rebelliousness? Without it you become complacent.

It sounds lovely there. I'm totally jealous lol.

btw, tea is delicious.

ryn: no, but I haven't been trying at all. I'm working on what I'm hoping will be a novel *knocks on wood* and some flash fiction. Most of my stuff is just too weird lol.

C.J.Duffy said...

anaonant>>>We are trying our best. Thanks.
x

teresa martin said...

yes, you would have been "ass un done" had you pissed on the wall!