I've finally managed to reload Windows, after a load of false starts that seemed personally tailored to get me as wound-up as possible.
I wouldn't mind, but I was late back, having been out with my brother Asinus and his family at their old fen's Advent fair, which always has an international flavour and shows how a village can touch the world in ways that the cosmopolitan life can only hint at.
For a start, one stall manned by a German lady sold paté made on-site at the Steinhart family farm near Heidelberg with the help of a local Steiner school, while another sold crib-figures made from wood in the Holy Land. Ugandan gifts were on offer from children from the villages set up by the Watoto movement that many churches through the world have reached out to and been enriched by the experience. Closer to home, I wasn't so sure about the chocolate wines, but others seemed to like them, and I picked up a book on birdwatching from XV, the local charity shop.
I wouldn't like you to think I'm seeing things through warm fuzzy glasses, for the old fens certainly have their problems - like parents who take the saying that it takes a village to bring up a child too far and deprive their offspring of parental input; or eejits who buy cheap booze from supermarkets then, out of sight sell them to said feral youths. Or plans to conform to governmental house-building targets by erecting estates on flood-plains, or else land that presently absorbs rainwater to mitigate the effect of precipitation on lower-lying houses in this low-lying area of England which at present needs to have the water pumped out of it.
But there's something valuable about communities, either those which exist in villages, or which still survive in parts of towns and cities. It sometimes seems that the government is determined to urbanise great swathes of the land, having already impoverished many rural communities socially by removing their post-offices and making things hard for communities to come together in, say, pubs.
Case in point: East Cambridgeshire District Council recently banned a poetry-group called Turning Point from hosting a popular reading-night in the Royal Standard Inn in Ely, because it doesn't have a spoken-word licence. Luckily, the reading-night was rescued by the town's Lamb Hotel - but what in the name of Sadie McGlumphur's pony is a "spoken word licence"? In these days when it is apparently an arrestable offence to function as an Opposition MP, do we now need licences to celebrate the glory of the English language, let alone speak out in defence of our communities?
Anyway, it's time for bed, and I've said my piece, so I'm just about grumpy enough to get a sleep now. Night-night.