‘It was fixed!’ said the lady to her husband as they walked past us on their way back to the car park. ‘The winners were all related to the judges!’ she continued, picking up her poodle and giving it a hug. Julia and I were walking down the lane to the village Fête in Langton Herring. It was a beautiful sunny afternoon and we gathered that the Dog Show was over by now. My late father-in-law used to enter the family flat coat every year, and eventually he won a rosette … we think it was for the most persistent owner!? We gathered that this lady, and her poodle, had not won anything.
We enjoyed the Fête. It was good fun and there were lots of people there. They were raising money for the village hall and the local church. We had a go at most of the side shows and I amazed Julia by winning a cocoa nut with my first throw … it was the only thing we won but it was all for a good cause. The glass of Pimms was a bit steep at £2.50, as was the glass of wine at £2.00, so we settled for a cup of tea and a piece of cake for £1.00. We missed the Morris Dancers, but were in time for the Children’s Entertainer. We liked his closing free offer to all the children present: ‘Take one of my magic cards, get your parents to phone the number on the card, and by magic I will appear at your birthday party!’ We bought a few things on our way round the various stalls: some knives and forks for our picnic set, some plants for the garden, some paper back books, and a key ring for the mother-in-law.
On our way back to the car park we walked along with a man with two gorgeous spaniels who had both won prizes in the dog show … second and third in the waggiest tail category?! We asked him if he was related to any of the judges? ‘Of course not!’ he replied, tapping his nose. We wonder about the lady with the poodle we met on the way in? The French have a phrase, fait accompli, which means ‘an accomplished fact; an action which is completed before those affected by it are in a position to query or reverse it.’ The literal translation is a fact realized or accomplished – what might these days be called a done deal. Strangely, it entered the English language via a travelogue of Spain rather than France. Richard Ford’s A Hand-Book for Travellers in Spain (1845), was and still is, regarded as a classic of travel writing. In it Ford included the phrase ‘This is now a fait accompli’, in regard of some previously decided fact.
A lot of people believe in ‘fate’ – ‘a supposed force, principle, or power that predetermines events’. This usually results in something unfavourable it is suggested. I don’t know what I feel about fate? Certainly there is an awful lot of stuff that seems to go wrong in our world. And left to our own devices the majority of us seem to make a mess of things, more often than not. Leave God out of the equation and this is inevitable I suppose. This is why, personally, I find the Bible helpful when it tells us that ‘Our times are in God’s hands’ (Psalm 31:15) and that God has ‘plans for us, plans for good and not for evil, plans to give us hope and a future’ (Jeremiah 29:11). It inspires a determination within me to keep close to God, and to sensitively seek to live in the centre stream of his plans and purposes for my life, in the knowledge that ‘in everything God works for the good of those who love him, those who seek to walk according to his purposes’ (Romans 8:28).