The other day I bought a copy of The Daily Telegraph. I don’t read the paper for the boring depressing world news…I read it for those small seemingly insignificant articles that feed my love for the weird and bizarre. I wasn’t disappointed. When I think of Bath, England I think Romans…I think Georgian architecture…I think the Smirke family (an extended family in my mental Regency world). It brings to mind many things, but garden gnomes are not one of them! However, in Bath (Yes Jayne Austen’s Bath) Garden gnomes have been banned from cemeteries. The article by Christ Irvine goes on to say, “The gnomes, plastic flowers and other decorations such as teddy bears have been called tacky by the Diocese of Bath and Wells. It banned the items…and has said it will remove any that it finds. A spokesman for the diocese said, ‘There is no such thing as a real gnome so why should we have such unnatural creatures in churchyards? Things such as gnomes and plastic flowers are not permitted because they are aesthetically unnattractive and they make it harder to maintain the grounds.'”
To this spokesman (whoever he is) I would like to say, ‘How is a little man in a red pointy hat unnatural?’ I find men in red really sexy short or tall. This would include most good looking Catholic Cardinals in their red robes. Luckily for them I’m neither Catholic nor single. I recently got my Goblin into a pair of red shorts (they looked like knee length breeches…so cute). I was so excited to get him something red, but the largest size they had resembled Regency men’s unmentionables a little too much if you know what I mean. Skin tight! I was very disapointed. But I wouldn’t mind someone sticking a large Gnome in a red hat over my grave (instead of a tombstone) it could hold a placard that said, ‘Quiet please, the fairy with the crooked tooth is sleeping!’ Why not?
As for unnatural creatures in cemeteries (which are usually churchyards), sitting atop most old English churches (as water spouts) are gargoyles…these unaesthetically attractive creatures crouch on the edges of most church roofs sticking out large tongues at passerbyers below. Shall we ban gargoyles from church roofs because not a single real one has ever been seen except in Ghost Busters the movie? Shall we ban gargoyles from church yards because the poor creatures are ugly? Heaven forbid! What next? Banning ugly people from church? The spokesman should have just stuck with…they’re ugly we hate them end of story. But no…the pompous idiot had to open mouth and insert foot…hope that shoe tastes nice! I’m laughing at you! Yes that’s very unChristian of me, but personally I wouldn’t be surprised if God has a plastic Gnome in his garden. Why not?
Another article was even more heartwarming…apparently scientists have discovered that music isn’t just good for the soul, but good for the heart. Richard Alleyne writes, “Listening to a cheerful favorite tune has a beneficial effect on blood vessels, widening them and protecting them against heart disease, researchers have found. Stressful or disturbing music, on the other hand, narrows the arteries and may he bad for the heart. The benefits of light music and love songs were even greater than that of laughter, the investigation showed. most participants in the study found John Denver-style country music the most uplifting, while ‘heavymetal’ rock made them anxious. Researchers at the Uni. of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore used ultrasound to test the functioning of an artery in the upper arm. After listening to joyful music, volunteers’ arteries opened 26% wider on average than they did when no music was played. The findings were presented at the American heart Association’s Scientific Sessions meeting in New Orleans.”
This little article made me think…if listening to uplifting love songs makes the arteries in your heart open up (ie they’re good for your heart) wouldn’t it logically follow that reading uplifting romance novels do the same? I know for me, reading negative depressing stories makes me feel negative and depressed which is why I don’t read or write them. Can you think of a single English language book written in the 20th century that’s called Great Literature by “The Establishment” that is anything, but depressing? I can’t! They’d hate my choice of Fannie Hurst who wrote some lovely books. I don’t like all her stories, but Lummox and Great Laughter are worth reading and owning if you can find them. The Irish writer Elizabeth Bowen, her short stories are amazing if you enjoy descriptive writing. Talk about painting pictures with words…lovely!
So now I want to know…do people who read lots of uplifting romances or uplifting funny stories (P.G. Woodhouse anyone?) and listen to mainly uplifting music live longer than people who read depressing stories and listen to unhappy angry music? Enquiring minds want to know! One could easily imagine that they do…unless they walk out into the street oblivious to the oncoming car while singing along to John Denver’s Rocky Mountain High…
I’d better get back to work…thankfully I’m not a garden Gnome being put out of a job!