Friday, March 04, 2016

An example of why Cumbria is such a fantastic place to live

I've just arrived home after a social event which was followed by a dinner.

During that dinner we had an example of what is so special about Cumbria in that some old country traditions which are long forgotten in many parts of the country are still very much alive.

The guest who replied to the toast to the visitors said he had intended to tell a joke but he thought we might prefer if he sang a song instead. And he sang a local ballad in praise of the great Cumberland fell runner Joss Naylor.

I cannot possibly do justice in a blog post to what an extraordinary experience listening to that song was. You had to be there.

But I knew that I was listening to something which used to be a natural part of local cultures - making up local songs about local heroes or events and singing them for friends without any artificial aid or technology - which does happen that often in this day and age. And celebrating simple virtues - the song suggested that if  Joss Naylor was not a worldwide famous name it was because he ran for sport rather than wealth or fame.

There are many aspects of Britain's pre-technological past for which I am not in the least nostalgic. Vastly higher mortality rates and much less effective pain medication are two of the most obvious. But there were other aspects of our older traditions - the ability to take joy in simple pleasures and celebrate simple virtues - which are worth trying to keep.

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