Saturday, 12 September 2015

Your Mission, should you choose to infect it

stamp and coin fair drift road evangelical church clanfieldOver the last 10 years, I have been collecting funny foreign coins. Not in a serious way, you understand, just cheap stuff at knock-down prices to keep as a novelty reminder of the past when we've all gone cash-free and we pay for things with a thumbprint.
Recently we found a 1 kg pot of coins in an antiques shop in Emsworth that had a sticker on from the Leprosy Mission of England and Wales. We don't do religion (so much as laugh at it) but when we looked at their website and found they were doing a coin and stamp fair only 12 miles north of our location, we had to go. I had a giant pot of duplicate coins for swapsies and basically it's just been sitting there doing nothing, so we thought why not donate that lot to the Mission, and buy some more at the same time.
numismatists drift road evangelical church clanfieldSo this morning we drove to Clanfield which is right by Buster Ancient Farm where I went on a school trip and we found Drift Road Evangelical Church and went in. In a small room, we found about 15 people intently sifting through huge boxes of stamps and postcards and thimbles and medals and matchboxes and banknotes and other vitally important ephemera like that.
I handed over my pot of coins (weighing six kg) and asked for our box back. Then I bought 2 one-kilogram boxes of random coins and on the table I found a set of reproduction Roman coins out of a museum shop and got them as well, to show off at school. We asked about the "50 coins from 50 countries" bag that we'd bought in Emsworth and he said it was actually an old cereal box offer, collect the coupons and get coins, from years ago.
Our business complete, the nice man said thank you for the approximately £50 his charity would make from our exchange and that it would help save people in hot countries from getting leprosy.
Then it was acting lessons and hey presto, I am a chimney sweep in the Festival of Christmas! I've got lots of lines to learn, but I can give you a sneak preview: Top of the morning to yer? Would you like your chimneys swept? Just sixpence for you kind sir. And there's a couple of little stories about folks tying a string to the feet of a goose and sending it up, and one where a boy gets stuck and years later a skeleton comes back down.
festival of victorian christmas royal naval dockyard portsmouthI have to buy extra clothes to keep me warm on those long Victorian winter nights. I was commanded to buy woollen tights, thermal underwear and stuff, to wear under my chimney-sweep costume. I said I can never admit to wearing tights to my schoolfriends but Bud said chill out my son, they're used to you being weird and anyway, warm willocks are more important. So I made up a thing about one of those angry crowds waving placards that say "We Want Warm Willocks! When do we want them? Now!" although for the Now! I substituted Miaow!
We went to H&M and Primark and we clearly didn't know what we were doing so had to ask a nice girlie to help us and she looked at the shopping list the theatre had given us and in the end we got most of it at M&S, because that's a shop we understand. Football meant that we had to park miles away and started eating lunch at 330. I tried on my new thermal undergarments and found them to be strangely pleasant, felt like I was wearing nothing at all ... so I posed for a chimney-sweeping picture and yes, I know that a besom broom is no good for chimneys.
Film Night was 'Airplane!' during which I correctly recognised Leslie Nielsen and laughed at the silliness.

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