Readers of the last post will know that I am proposing Kettering as the site of the second coming, largely on the grounds that existing carols would require minimal changes – and, in these days of austerity, even the divine may need to seek some simple cost savings.
I was at a Christmas concert yesterday afternoon, and took the opportunity to check a number of seasonal hymns against a possible re-siting in Northamptonshire. As expected, O Little Town of Bethlehem is fine – there are no references which could not safely be applied to Kettering (well, assuming we can arrange for its dark streets to shineth). O Come All Ye Faithful likewise only needs the substitution of Bethlehem – though, I do wonder if we should recognise that the “y” in “ye” is really a thorn and so the hymn should be sung O Come All The Faithful. So the key “O” hymns are covered. Hark! Te Herald Angels sing is similarly easily fixed and Christina Rossetti kept the geography of In the Bleak Midwinter sufficiently vague that it requires no changes at all for a move to the East Midlands.
I’m not sure of the agricultural situation of Kettering, but I suspect it may be a little short of mangers attached to an inn. I did check for branches of Prêt à Manger as a modern substitute, but the nearest are Peterborough or Leicester. I’m sure the owners of the sandwich chain could be inveigled upon to open a branch in Kettering, well it’s either that or add a stable to the Travelodge – but I think the former would be more useful to the locals whilst they await the herald angels.
Once in Royal David’s City is proving the most challenging to adapt. The only suitable royal I could find was Dafydd ap Llewelyn – but he rather kept to Wales which is a bit of a hike (even with a little donkey) from Kettering. I fear we may have to lose this hymn altogether, or replace the current Royals with something a bit more modern (and/or Welsh) and move their HQ from Buck House to Broughton House. We would also need some oxen on hand for verse three. Still, it seems a pity to discard an otherwise excellent plan just to save OiRDC.
Entering this world in Kettering would offer the next Messiah easy rail access to London, Nottingham and Sheffield. He would also have the possibility for local shoes and outerwear as gifts from the wise, replacing the traditional frankincense and myrrh with rather more useful alternatives for the modern world (and more suitable to the East Midlands climate). All-in-all, for a budget second coming, I think Kettering has it all – I feel it is time for me to pass the ball across to the relevant authorities for action. Given the traditional need for a census at a Messianic launch, I guess we’ll have to wait until 2021 – which should provide sufficient time to square the sandwich makers, some suitable cattle and some major update to the monarchy. I suggest we all put the date in our diaries!