It’s 2020, and that means that the decennial Census must be completed.
On Wednesday, April 1st, I filled out the Census survey online. And, as I said I would two years ago…
As I wrote in that two year-old blog post, “I have decided that I will report that my ancestors come from Grand Fenwick, an independent, English-speaking principality somewhere in central Europe. … Grand Fenwick, of course, is the fictional land in the books of Leonard Wibberley, beginning with The Mouse That Roared.”
My people were the plain, peasant folk who for generations lived by crushing the grapes that go into making the world-famous Pinot Grand Fenwick, and family lore tells me that an ancestor, Rupert, the bastard son of the twelfth Count of Mountjoy, served as a subaltern in the Fenwickian Guards during the 17th-century’s War of Ruritanian Succession. The Fenwickian Guards, according to historic accounts, mustered for a week and a half during the war, spent those ten days at a public house in the Old Town of Fenwick and disbanded when the Duke realized the Duchy was so insignificant in the scheme of European affairs that there was no threat. Nonetheless, a festival was held to welcome back the victorious Guards that lasted a week even though, objectively, they never left the Duchy nor won a thing in the field of battle.
Grand Fenwick is a place I think of often. For example…
About a decade ago, the Hallmark Channel made a movie titled A Princess for Christmas that starred Katie McGrath (Merlin, Dracula), Sam Heughan (Outlander), and Sir Roger Moore. It takes place in an English-speaking principality, the Duchy of Castlebury, somewhere on continental Europe, apparently near Switzerland, ruled by a Duke (Sir Roger Moore), not at all unlike the Duchy of Grand Fenwick.
It’s really quite easy to imagine Grand Fenwick as a place the Doctor would have visited many times in his life. It’s just like the Eye of Orion, but on Earth.
I’d raise a glass of Pinot Grand Fenwick and toast my Grand Fenwickian heritage today, but I’m a writer and I can’t afford the real thing. Pinot Grand Enwick from California is a fine substitute, but I don’t have any of that around right now, either, what with Pennsylvania’s liquor stores being closed due to COVID-19.
But for now, in this moment, I am a Grand Fenwickian.
Post header photo, Malbun, Lichtenstein, by Andrew Reid Wildman, licensed Creative Commons BY-NC 2.0