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Interestingly, another person to write about the Derwent Church, was Hilary Mantel. Mentioned as part of her Reith Lecture in 2017. 


In my first lecture in this series, I talked about my great-grandmother Catherine O’Shea, and how she lived when she came to England. Catherine had ten children, and my grandmother, who was named after her, was almost the youngest. This second Catherine O’Shea married a man with the robust English name of George Foster. Some of his family lived in a small Derbyshire village called Derwent, which became a drowned village — it was one of the places that were flooded in the late 1930s, to make a reservoir. When I was a child I used to think that the villagers had five minutes warning of the flood — that an alarm rang, and they grabbed their possessions and scrambled uphill, with the water swirling about their knees as they ran for their lives.


No one told me this; I just imagined it. But they did tell me that in dry years, you could see the steeple of Derwent church standing above the waters. This was not a fact. It was something else. It was a myth.


Derwent’s church was blown up in 1947. People were seeing it ten years after it was gone.


I was an adult when I found this out. I wasn’t pleased that I’d been misled. But I learned three things from the drowned village.


My Other Soft Rocks


Tom Ellis’s Bottom


For a period in my teenage years, my bestfriends and I would spend the weekends at our buddy Tom Ellis’s house. One thing I noticed one time is that there was no toilet paper in the house. I mentioned this to my friend Arron and Joel. “Have you guys noticed there's no toilet paper in Tom’s toilet?” “Yeah, no one in their family use it’s it.” said Aaron. “Excuse me?” I said. There were five people living in that house, Tom’s parent’s and his two other siblings “no one in the house wipes their ass??” “Yeah” said Joel, “they’re all clean shitters. It just drops down, no fuss. Too easy” This blew my mind. A whole family who were able to clean crap. I had just assumed the lack of toilet paper was just some hippy Avalon thing, and that maybe they used water instead. But no, this was a family that had genetically passed on the ability. I was fascinated by this incredible superpower. Months later while still very much chewing over this amazing fact, something occurred to me. “Hang on” I said to Joel. “Tom’s parents aren’t related. That means two people, who don’t need to wipe they're asses, somehow found each other. And would have discovered somewhere down the line in their dating, that neither of them needed to wipe their butts. What even are the chances of that happening?” “I know, amazing right?” said Joel. “extraodinary”. Reader, they did need to wipe their asses. I was being had by my friends.

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