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Tilebury Events - What's going on and how'd it go?

Fiona Davies

1 August

The Battle of Megan's miracle

Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Still haven't stopped laughing and expect that certain failed revolutionaries are going to be annoyed by my gleeful smirks for a while yet. It's time for the blow by blow rollercoaster-ride story of certain defeat and the grasping victory from the lion's jaws of defeat or something.

Future village history must know how it came to be that Fran Lennier BA (hons) (Mrs - divorced) recent secret friend of Alderman Cornelius (like half the middle aged women in Tilebury) and admired defender of free speech - remains the 'Harbinger Queen.'

There's some minutes somewhere we all had to scribble our agreement to - you can imagine the delight our auguste chair-auntie took in enforcing petty decorum of that sort - but that won't give you the real story. So here it is. The forces of good (infriltrated by some turncoats whose true colours had not yet been revealed) were ranged in the New Inn's saloon in good time, a mumbling silence of disconcert-ment floating over us.

We true believers were sipping G&Ts in one corner while the reverend and Kim pouted stubbornly by the fireplace and the Drs struggled to find conversation by that cabinet with the Jenns carving. It was like that scene at the end of the Lord of the Rings just before the Orc army appears.

And sure enough, along comes the flag-bearers of Mordor - a few more than expected. Doreen Davies (at whose name, honest women pale and cover the ears of impressionable children) inevitably striding half a pace ahead of her spineless sidekick Chris Countryside-ignoramus Corkerham, but behind them were a few more amazons equipped with their weapons of choice.

Chris Collett might be expected - that 'Special' column about her vain and vain protests against the BBC Filming unfortunately clearly qualified her for a vote - and also the Lawyer-woman they'd hired. Ms Nuttall, I think her name was (and incidentally, lezzie thoughts apart, was absolutely gorgeous: legs, eyes, hair, shoulderpads - she had everything).

But what no-one expected was their secret weapon: head thrust forward in that gawky manner everyone reading this will immediately recognise - was a certain Jacqueline Fernandez-Sanchez-Hernandez-Nadal-Hernon. What, you ask, was she doing there?

That question was hysterically answered in the forthright debate which immediately broke out (like measles) between Fearless Fran, Auntie-bobble Alia Morrow, Devious Doreen (at whose name, seasoned warriors flee in search of sanctuary), luscious Ms Nutt-got-it-all and the aforementioned spanish-woman. Jacquie it turned out had sent in two letters both of which had been published. So? Well the Trust Rules give a vote to any Resident who has published two 'contributions' in the last year. Does that include letters?

Well, the lawyer won the day. Letters are 'contributions' and Alia (no criticism) as Chair-hussy had to agree and let Jacq Pernandez-Dorandez in.

Now that messed with the betting, I can tell you. We'd been pretty hopeful before - but this really changed things.

'Cos it wasn't just Jacquee Perez-Montanez. This little conjuring trick meant (play a roll on the drums of war) that all those whiny missives Dastardly Doreen (whose name alone has been known to cause farmyard animals to fall dead in the fields) had sent also gave her a vote.

Feverish recomputations made the line-up look bad. Fran was aghast. I was agape. Alia was a gargoyle (as usual). There was time only for a brief whispered word between the editor and me before the speeches started and I had to run across the village on my mission of rescue.

The Evil Election

Because we'd thought of something. Or more properly - someone. There was still a chance - if they were going to bend the rules for letter writers then they couldn't object to a poet could they? And the lyrical landlady of the Ship Inn was published twice and was never going to vote for Dark Doreen (at whose name, migrating birds turn tail and return to warmer climes).

There was great outrage in The Ship when I, (slightly out of breath but tinged with a healthy pink glow) explained the urgency aloud to the assembled throng (including a tearful Mel - another story). But Kirsten was not there. Evening in Taunton I was told. It was with a great deal of swearing and frustration that I found myself jogging back alone without the rescue I had dreamed of.

I got back just as the speeches finished and the voting began. It was a painful exercise. The first trustee space was announced and the candidates - me and dung-head Doreen (at whose name, freshly cut flowers instantly wilt) were called to the front. Then Alia went round the contributors in turn and we called out "good" or "evil."

  1. Doreen herself (0-1),
  2. Corkerham (the Countryside is just like Croydon) (0-2),
  3. Collett ("I'm Special") (0-3),
  4. Epona (1-3) (who can doubt that she can see the future),
  5. Yours truly (2-3),
  6. Jacq-in-the-spanish-box (2-4),
  7. Handy-woman Kim (2-5), Kim - why, why why? She'd have people like you sent to remedial 'home economics' classes!
  8. Reverend Everrett (2-6), (the church always has been stuck in the past) Tears by now are beginning to come...
  9. Dr Dawes-Burritt (3-6), well done to someone who actually thinks about things - a glimmer of hope?
  10. Editor Fran (4-6) - fingers out to count on - two to go. And Alia was on our side surely?
  11. Dr Longstepp - an impassioned speech. History teaches so much. Torn between the options. Horns of Dilemma. The saloon door opened and closed. Really don't know which way to go. So important to the village. Blah Blah. What would Napoleon have done? Charlemagne? Silvia Spencer? Mary Wollstencraft? No option in the end but... to abstain! What! Lilly livered traitor! (4-6) Doreen (at whose name kings have summoned the makers of stakes, crosses and garlic) broke out in that shattered leer she uses as a smile.
  12. Auntie Alia, somewhat ashen, cast no vote as it would make no difference.

And Deadly Doreen (Whose breath can freeze flame) was elected. Then, Alia announced with great seriousness that the whole rigmarole had to be followed for the second empty trustee place. All hearts sank. No one could be expected to change their votes. The painful process would elevate Camilla Corkerham and the end trump would be sounded. Fran looked like a purple dragon. Alia looked like a white gargoyle.

And Megan interrupted. No-one had noticed her come in. Only about two people had ever seen her before - and her diction is simply shocking. But after a bit it became clear she was the guide who'd taken Dr Longstepp to the hidden cave in the woods. Fran suddenly became frantic. Megan had been published in the paper too. She'd written three or four letters! She had a vote surely?!

All hell broke loose. Ms Loverly lawyer said it was too late and Doreen (at whose name...etc) had been elected, Fran demanded a recount, Alia tried to impose her Chair-gargoyle powers and Camilla tried physically to throw Megan (who is a small woman) out the door.

Megan ended all the shouting by simply thowing an almost untouched G&T through one of the windows. Impressive. Worked very well. Must remember that next time I need to get everyone's attention.

Megan's bombshell

In the shocked silence which followed, Megan said three things:

  1. Dr Longstepp is a stupid woman and also a coward who should be able to decide who to vote for. Don't look a me - I merely report it.
  2. Megan herself was happy with the election of Dino-Doreen (at whose name...) although she thought the woman little better than a biting red millipede. Sigh.
  3. But: there was no need for a further election as there were already enough trustees.

Well this left a lot of confusion. The mess probably would have gone on all night if Dr Dawes Burritt hadn't suddenly piped up to ask Megan her surname.


The very M Kinear who had signed the original Trust Deed in 1976. A Trustee at the time and a Trustee since. No one, apparently, had checked. Distrait Doreen (at whose name wise women laugh unconcernedly)'s sexy solicitor tried to fade into the background.

In the pause that followed, Fran asked Megan, "So who do you want as editor?"

When Megan said "yer'll do" the party broke up and I cried with joy.

Back to the bubbling stories of the town next month. I'm exhausted.

Love you all.

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