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Picturesque Village Harbours Dark Secrets

Reprinted from The North East Essex Weekly Trumpet

Mary Blythe; NEEWT community welfare correspondent


May 10, 2019

Day-trippers to the charming North Essex beauty spot of Finchingfield know little of what goes on when they depart home.

The night I visited the village, pagan chants with cacophonous accompaniment howled out discordantly across the village green. Neophytes processed to the water’s edge in exotic costume, waiting for their baptismal initiation.

The guru-priest, a reclusive academic rumoured to have founded the controversial Zimmerman Institute, beckoned them forward. He began to intone the mystical learnings of his growing sect.

Mere fripperies must be abandoned by those who wish to take the enlightened path, he insisted to his transfixed audience. Governments, saloon cars, and even famous English batsmen are 'over-rated', and henceforth to be abhorred.

The initiates emptied their pockets of keys and cash, and laid their cast-off clothes on the ground in a pile.

'Over-rated' they all called out, echoing their leader, 'especially the Nouvelle Vague and Geoffrey Boycott' *

At this point, our small gaggle of onlookers was driven away by cowled priests, and I found myself crouching behind a low wall in an effort to follow proceedings. Then I heard a whisper behind me. 'It’s all a load of nonsense. Just a bunch of old gormless codgers trying to steal a bit of beer money -- and talk bollocks to fools even more stupid than them.

'Him on the left in the leather clobber, he runs a second-hand garage up the road. And all those clothes will be in their jumble sale next week too. Mark my words.'

My companion told me more. Named Lily, and sprightly for her 70+ years, she surprisingly confessed that she is the Keeper of the Instruments for the cult. 'Someone’s got to keep an eye on their evil corruptions, and barmy so-called insertion ceremonies.'

Blackmail may have played a part in her continued grim custodial duties. 'The inner circle has got hold of the Big Key. I’m at their mercy,' she confided.

Not a gold-plated symbolic piece in a mahogany box, but the rusty iron crank that opens the sluice at the far end of the pond. The last time Lily attempted to rebel against her irksome responsibilities, the cult closed the sluice and flooded her garden.

More cultish inner workings were revealed when a middle-aged male novitiate came close by. It was Derek, Lily’s nephew, whom she greeted with poorly concealed disdain. 'I’ll tell your mother, you feckless bezzum, and don’t come round begging for my fruit cake ever again,' she called after him, finger wagging. I managed to catch up with Derek as he headed up the hill to the pub, still in cult robes, but without his work clothes or car.

'The cult has an attractive philosophy,' he explained. 'I see its work as one of great sacrifice. Most of the women in the village don’t understand — although the Cult officials say there are lots of secret female admirers.

'Despite all appearances, we are great supporters of feminism. Our pioneering role is to liberate and express the fully-fledged inner soul of male stupidity and uselessness. Then the world can more clearly see the necessity of women taking charge of anything with even a hint of responsibility'.

What sorts of activities does the cult indulge in, I asked. 'We follow our instincts after shedding inhibitions. We try to reveal ourselves to the world and spread love through challenging rituals. It’s a kind of social confession to the follies of millennia of hopeless patriarchal illusions.'

And what of his aunt’s garden? 'She’s got the wrong end of the stick. She asked could I help water her plants, and we reckoned the easiest way was to close the sluice. Less effort, and more time to mind our own business. I know it didn’t really work, but we kind of knew that too. It’s what we do. Stupid things that don’t work.'

He called out for a fellow novitiate to 'get one in for me, I’ll go and get the fruitcake', and strode away. A gust blew open his robes to expose a hairy naked derriere. I averted my eyes, and closed my mind to unwelcome new thoughts of magical instruments and insertion ceremonies.

Can our communities survive if the Cult keeps on spreading like this?

Editor’s note: The accuracy of this quote, and the quality of Boycott’s batmanship was disputed for many weeks in The Trumpet’s letters pages

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