Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Powered by Umbrage

As we search for new power sources, ever concerned that the oil is running out, coal is dirty, and global warming is bringing plagues of undetectable mosquitoes to England, one renewable resource is constantly overlooked.

The power of umbrage.

The conviction that you should have been elected to the Druidic Council by now - but they decided your face doesn't fit. The way Doris always sits in your seat. The belief that they cancelled the 6am Service specially to snub you. The knowledge that it must have been you they were trying to upset because you were the only person apart from the pastor who went to the 6am. The sneaking suspicion that they cancelled the 6am to punish you, just because you haven't actually made it to the 6am yet.

The great thing about umbrage is that, like solar power, it never runs out. In fact, it's better than solar, as there's more of it on cloudy days. There's nothing like a bit of gloomy weather to make you grumpy. And then, it defies the 1st Law of Thermodynamics.

See, the thing about umbrage is, it can make people go out of their way not to offend you. They may make slight adjustments. The pastor may agree to reinstate the 6am, if you write to the local paper saying it's been a tradition in your town since 1683. And when you win your battle, you won't be able to lay in bed of a Sunday morning, thinking about how right it is that the minister is in the chapel; all on her own, conducting a lovely service. Oh no. You will instead be aware that that other people are generating umbrage against you. Because you have been specially treated.

In the right conditions, a church can get into a Spiral of Umbrage.  This is where everything that is done to avoid offending someone, offends somebody else. And then you have the equivalent of a chain reaction. People will start to demand you rebuild your church next to the sea, on the Cornish coast, to avoid the danger of meltdown. And when you refuse, because you live 100 miles inland and it would be ridiculous to put the church by the sea - they will take umbrage. Bonus umbrage.

So we're fitting Umbrage Panels all round the Moot House. We reckon we could power half of Central Beds if we insist everybody turns to talk to their neighbour at the start of the service on Sunday. Not at the 6am, obviously. Only Umphrey goes to that. If he gets up. Maybe we should stop holding it?


  1. My umbrage levels have been running rather low this winter, after belatedly discovering that the entire Pevensie clan (with the exception of my right hand woman,Susan, Social Secretary of the Alderley Edge Townswitcches Guild) had been wiped out in a train accident in Adlestrop in 1955.

    Concerned friends recommended I take an Ostara break in Margate, which the umbragista destination of choice in the south east.

  2. I've never thought that Margate was the haven of Umbrage? I thought that was the centre of modern culture with the Advent of the Tate Modern, the regeneration of the town centre, that stops short of the far end of the high street where the poor, outcasts, migrants and transplanted homeless from London hang out.

    Margate faces a crisis if there is an influx of umbrage(ers) as most of the guest houses have closed or are being converted to upmarket town houses or hostels for the unwanted of London. Umbrage(ers) will overwhelm local resources and contribute to a victory by UKIP in the General Election

    No, Umbragers would be better to flock to Stone Henge, where they can take their umbrage up with the head druid, next time he/she puts in their periodic appearance, surely better than flocking to Margate to be pollute the culture and ready supply of illegal substances.


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