Calling all angels . . .

The Angel Festival at St. Cuthbert’s is scheduled for sometime the end of September, but there are early heads-up notices circulating around the parish already. It probably takes a lot of work to create an angel suitable for presentation!

All over the country Angels are playing their part in fund-raising and community spirit and enterprise; our particular Festival of Angels will be distributed amongst the three parish churches (St. Cuthbert’s in Allendale, Holy Trinity at Whitfield and St. Mark’s Church at Ninebanks). Rosettes will be awarded for the ‘favourite angel’ in each church, and the winners will be announced on Sunday the 29th of September, which happens to be St. Michael’s and All Angels Day. You can go to the AllendaleChurch website to download an entry form.

Open to individuals, families, clubs and organisations and businesses (aka everybody!), the contest is really an exercise in imagination. The best angel in my recent memory is the gay angel (part of a pair, obviously) in Philip Pulman’s Dark Materials, but before that it would have to be the one in It’s a Wonderful Life, and that would be Henry Travers who, incidentally, was born in Prudhoe, not a million miles from this patch. This village has been particularly creative in developing ‘scarecrow’ themes over several years, and I seem to recall that the Angels Festival brought out some especially edifying examples of the artistic genre.

Maybe I should develop my own Angel of Electricity, since I’ve been so dependent on that energy over the past year, both in developing this diary, in sustaining life, in holiday preparations, and in being comfortable. It would have to be a robust angel, with ample insulation to protect it from the electrical storms emanating all around it like a Van de Graaff generator induced static electric charge.

My angel would be a macho, granite-chinned angel like George Clooney, with the software programming skills of Margaret Hamilton, a true angel for the Apollo 11 moon-landing crew.

Or maybe it would be a softer-type angel, like Norma Spratt, who kindly contributed some salient advice on growing potatoes to me (I’m picking those flowers out every day, Norma!). Somebody who lives in this parish whose information has been particularly useful, I mean. Like Joan Morgan or Paul Mingard who have contributed wonderful pieces to this diary. Or the photographic angel James Little with his flying drones who I’m commissioning to capture Forster Milburn’s sense of ‘The Promised Land’ as you come around the corner to Catton, as a best possible cover image for the diary when it becomes a book. Or Glenn Natrass . . . a representation of a community hero angel on the electrical front, for sure. There are so many angels to consider in this exercise! How to consolidate it all down to one sculptural representation?

In my little private bar/man-cave, the eponymous Elf Hole, I’ve carefully preserved the totemic representation of Carrie Winger, baker extraordinaire, that featured in one of the Allen Valleys Drama Group’s presentations, as my own guardian angel, but I can’t very well put her up on a stick in St. Cuthbert’s, can I! Think I’ll retreat to ruminating on the Angel of Electricity, which could be fun to put together . .. so another couple of months to consolidate electrical components and make it all happen. Lightning! Firebolts! Flashes in the night!

Or maybe I’ll just stay in ruminative mode, thinking about what I might do, but not actually getting my angel together . . . if there’s an Angel of Procrastination, that would be the one I’d love.

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