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An Appeal for Aid: SPEW, the Society for Promoting Englishry in Wessex - Wemyss's Appalling Hobby:
From the Party Guilty of Committing 'Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn'
wemyss
wemyss
An Appeal for Aid: SPEW, the Society for Promoting Englishry in Wessex

I’ve said, and not once or twice only, that one of the things I most cherish about the HP phenomenon is, that:

 

… everyone in this fandom, in whatever station they occupy, right down to the schoolgirls with appalling grammar and no grasp of spelling, … all, as Britons trying to convey something very special to the world or as bloody vurriners so gripped by Rowling’s world as to want, even haltingly, to make some imaginative connexion to her beloved Britain, are engaged in a great and worthy task of communication and international empathy. [What matters] is the interconnectedness of rural English life writ large and slightly distorted as in a mirror, this imaginative involvement in something at once universal, and very particularly English – indeed, something smacking of a particularistic ideal of England – something transcending borders and accidents of place.

 

And of course we know that, really, JKR’s heart remains in the West Country, one can place most of her characters and historic places firmly in its landscape (the Forest of Dean, for example), and that, even after Spinner’s End, the only specific places we have in canon as the home of an important character are the Black town seat in London, we still don’t know where they’re actually from, Harry’s involuntary stay in Surrey (and we still don’t know where Godric’s Hollow is), and – Wilts for Draco and Devon for Ron.  The West is important to JKR, and it’s important to me.  And for that reason, I am making an appeal.

No consideration on earth could prompt me to set up some PayPal scheme for administering, or failing to administer, charitable contributions from fandom.  I am not, actually, so much as asking for anything on anyone’s behalf.  But I have paused in the midst of working on Under a Dragon Moon to say this: that if any of you are thinking even idly of doing something vaguely charitable, I submit that JKR’s Wessex, and English heritage and history generally, could use a few bob.

 

I know that many of you are young people, students, or traditionally impoverished scholars (snort.  Sorry: just thinking of college endowments and the cellars at certain SCRs).  But every yen, dollar, quid, franc, zloty, Dm, or Knut helps.  Should you chance to want to send a few pence in the way of charity, learning, and preservation, then, do allow me to suggest the following.

 

The Harnham Water Meadows Trust, Reg Charity No 1001360, Caprice Cottage, Middle Winterslow, Salisbury SP5 1QJ , and the Friends thereof, are engaged in the restoration and maintenance of the famous Salisbury Water Meadows that Constable so loved to paint.

 

The Wilts Wildlife Trust, of course, Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, Freepost SN1986, Devizes, Wiltshire SN10 1YZ, wants helping, and there are few worthier causes.

 

Local history museums, such as The Trowbridge Museum, The Shires Shopping Centre, Court Street, Trowbridge, Wiltshire, BA14 8AT, are always in want of help.

 

The RSPB are always, always, deserving of help.  With particular reference to Wilts and the West, they are currently engaged in buying Manor Farm, near Stonehenge, and turning it into a refuge for the desperately endangered stone-curlew.  Please consider aiding this appeal.

 

There’s hardly a parish in England, there’s certainly hardly one in the West, that isn’t running a restoration appeal; pick a village and use a search engine.  By way of example, the St Mary’s Steeple Ashton Preservation Trust are shoring up five hundred year-old St Mary’s, Betjeman’s ‘silvery battleship’ of a church, for the next five centuries, and may be contacted via The Membership Secretary, 10, Dark Lane South, Steeple Ashton BA14 61EZ.  In the Codfords, again as an example, there are The Friends of Codford St Mary Church, Registered Charity No 274483, Major Euan Branford Hutchings, Old Orchard, Church Lane, Codford, Warminster, Wilts BA12 0PJ, and The Friends of Codford St Peter Church, Registered Charity No 269038, Ms Ann Levick, 3 Burymead, Codford, Warminster, Wilts BA12 0NU.

 

The Llewellyn Edwards Bell Restoration Fund, Registered Charity No 270529, should be contacted through the Salisbury Diocesan Guild of Ringers.

 

As always, the right side of this page has a link (‘A Pious Appeal’) to another and very important possible donee, the trust for the Cathedral in Salisbury, than which there can be no more important beneficiary of your aid.

 

In Somerset, home of dumbledores and hunky-punks, ahem, one might consider The Shepton Mallet War Memorial Charity, Registered Charity No 2004004, 1, Park Road, Shepton Mallet. Somerset. BA4 5BS, and the Market Cross Charity, Registered Charity No 236427, Mrs Dawn Gould, 13 Westbrook Rd, Evercreech, Shepton Mallet, Somerset BA4 6LR.

 

Generally and nationally speaking, Common Ground and England in Particular deserve all possible support, and their sites will suggest local resources in want of aid, be it monetary or muscle-powered.

 

All over the country, The British Horse Society, Stoneleigh Deer Park, Kenilworth, Warwickshire CV8 2XZ, Registered Charity No 210504, works very hard to preserve and promote a fundamental part of British life.  You may direct contributions you make to its general fund or to your local county or to any county or region of your choice.

 

Although of course East Anglian in genesis, the Suffolk Horse – the Suffolk Punch – is one of the iconic British breeds.  The Suffolk Horse Society is a worthy cause: The Market Hill, Woodbridge, Suffolk IP12 4LU, Reg. Charity No 220756.

 

One needn’t be a Jethro Tull fan – and that dates me – to appreciate heavy horses; the Shire Horse Society wants your help, as well, as does the Western Counties Heavy Horse Society.  Also worthy recipients of charitable interest – and again, if you can’t spare a quid, perhaps you can spare an hour of voluntary time or a gill of voluntary sweat – are The Society of Ploughmen Ltd, Reg. Charity No 1062780, Loversall, Doncaster, South Yorkshire, DN11 9DH, and, for all British livestock heritage breeds, from horses to cattle to pigs to goats to sheep to poultry, The Rare Breeds Survival Trust, Registered Charity No 269442.  Please, in all your concern over issues abroad, do not forget those striving in these islands to preserve such ancient living links to the past and elements of biodiversity as the Wiltshire Horn, Cotswold, and Dorset Down sheep, Gloucester cattle, the British Lop, Tamworth, Berkshire, Old Spot, and Saddleback pigs, the Bagot goat, the Hackney Horse and the ponies of Dartmoor and Exmoor, and the Ixworth, Dorking, and Old English Pheasant Fowl chickens.  In a world in which one can pay £307/ for a pair of boots, there is no reason one cannot spare a few quid to save a species.

 

Sometimes, worthy projects become moribund from lack of contributions other than the purely monetary, or because they serve an interest that is narrow or obscure as well as important.  I encourage everyone who is legitimately interested in waterlore and holy wells and their history to give what encouragement they may to Living Spring Journal, Richard Pedrick, editor, in hopes that it will see a resurgence of interest in its work.

 

Some of you, no doubt, may likewise be interested in helping canvass a possible revival of At the Edge.

 

I shan’t get into politics here, but I do submit that if you are one of those who wished to see an end to traditional countryside pursuits, you have at least a responsibility to aid the people and animals, especially innocent hounds, displaced and endangered by that ending.  I of course support the Countryside Alliance just as I do CAMRA, and for similar reasons of Preserving Local Distinctiveness.

That is my appeal to Potterfen.  If you won’t do it for me,

do it for Harry. 

And if you won’t do it for the Boy Who Lived, then Mr Draco Malfoy, of Wilts, will have to Break Out the Begging Face, and Wibble. 

And no one wants that.

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11 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
tiferet From: tiferet Date: January 14th, 2006 08:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
Are those your drawings? They're darling! :D :D :D

And thank you for the linkage.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: January 14th, 2006 09:24 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thanks.

Yes, all my own work, as the pavement artists used to say.

Thank YOU for the support.
bufo_viridis From: bufo_viridis Date: January 14th, 2006 10:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
If you start auctioning your drawings in the fandom, you'd make a pretty penny for all the noble causes listed above and I'm totally serious.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: January 15th, 2006 05:25 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thanks, Old Man.

But I believe I'll pass on that. Vy kind of you, but they're hardly fine art, are they.
bufo_viridis From: bufo_viridis Date: January 15th, 2006 11:55 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thanks, Old Man.

First, please drop the false modesty, doesn't suit you in the least :)
Second, you have a very fine line abd a great ability to catch an expression (in general)
Third, you draw (in comparison) better than a great number (if not majority) fandom artists
Fourth, I'd like to see more of your drawings
Fifth, post more of them and then try my suggestion out and we'll discuss it then :)
alexia75 From: alexia75 Date: January 14th, 2006 11:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
How did we not know you were so good at drawing?! Concurring with bufo_viridis absolutely.

I've been doing much CAMRA supporting in recent months - does that count? :)
wemyss From: wemyss Date: January 15th, 2006 05:26 pm (UTC) (Link)

Ah, Well, Thank You.

Still....

Oh, well, let's just have a pint, then.
eagles_rock From: eagles_rock Date: January 15th, 2006 01:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
I can only echo other commentators: your drawings are splendid and I'd happily see more of them.

Shame there wasn't an open casting for Lupin.. :-)
wemyss From: wemyss Date: January 15th, 2006 05:28 pm (UTC) (Link)

My Blushes, Watson!

And if I were to play Remus, I'd want a much better-looking Sirius for the slashy subtext, with all due respect to that distinguished thespian, Mr Oldman.
alliekiwi From: alliekiwi Date: January 28th, 2006 09:23 am (UTC) (Link)
I chuckled my way through many of your LJ entries, having just meandered my way to your diary through various waterways of the internet. What a wonderful turn of phrase you have. It gave more of a shine to a dreary day, with something to smile about.

Thanks.

Allie
wemyss From: wemyss Date: January 28th, 2006 05:59 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thanks, Love,

Most kind of you. Welcome to Bedlam. Always a joy to see your name, here or at FA.
11 comments or Leave a comment