Thanks Are Due To Dear Old Etheldreda

AS I said last week I am going to give blood for the first time on Wednesday. I also have a dentist appointment on Friday and am much more nervous about giving blood than I am about going to the dentist. In fact, I am one of those rare people who actually

AS I said last week I am going to give blood for the first time on Wednesday. I also have a dentist appointment on Friday and am much more nervous about giving blood than I am about going to the dentist. In fact, I am one of those rare people who actually doesn't mind going to the dentist. I love the feeling afterwards when your mouth feels all clean and fresh and you can smile with a bit more confidence. My experiences have not all been plain sailing though, I did have an infection in one of my teeth a few years ago and I often relay the story of how painful it was and usually go on to say that I would rather give birth again than suffer the pain of my bad tooth. I have told the story several times and, as you would expect, any men who are present when I am talking will keep very quiet. For obvious reasons they have nothing to compare it to, and also, no sensible man would ever question or doubt the pain and suffering of child birth. But I always find it hard to convince any females who have had children that it could have been that bad. There is always one lady who gives me a hardened look from across the room that says 'you couldn't possibly have had as bad as I did then love'. All my sons are around the 6ft mark but at birth they were all less than 7lbs so maybe that, without going into too much detail, made a difference! I told my sister I was giving blood and it turns out that she is a bit of an old timer and due for a silver award soon so I ended up feeling more guilty that I had never made the effort. I told her I was nervous, and she said 'you'll be alright as long as no-one else faints, because once one person goes down it's like dominoes'. Oh dear, I do hope I am not the first domino.

Anyway, less of childbirth and pain and more of Etheldreda. I had my parents to stay at the weekend and I decided to take them to the Etheldreda Fair in Ely. I know I keep harping on about Ely and how lovely it is, but I honestly don't think I will ever tire of the place. The sun was shinning on Saturday and as we walked round to the cathedral it was like walking on to a film set. It was as if everything had been set out to conjure up an image of quaintness, eccentricity and the best of English life. The cathedral lawn was bathed in sunshine and the hard-working folk who had earned themselves degrees from the Open University were milling about in their mortars and gowns and drinking Champagne. We walked over to the fair and had strawberries and cream for a very reasonable £1 and then sat in the sun drinking Pimms and listening to the King's School jazz band.

The fair was only a small part of the day which was organised to mark the death of Etheldreda.

Etheldreda was a Saxon queen and in 672AD she founded a monastery in Ely which later became the cathedral. Ely became an important pilgrimage centre and were it not for that it would probably have remained a small Fenland village. Nothing wrong with small Fenland villages, but it seems we all have a lot to thank dear Etheldreda for.


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