My nan has a lovely and extremely well-to-do friend called Margaret who, though she lives in the neighbouring town, is often down in the village at our little church or playing the piano for concerts and events in the Village Hall. A few months ago my mum told me there'd been something of a to-do at one of these concerts as Margaret had played an old piece and introduced it by saying, "You can't call it this any more, of course, but this piece was once titled 'The Little N****r Boy'." (Asterisks to keep this SFW just in case, obviously she said the word in full.) Apparently someone had objected to this and there was a bit of a fuss, and, until Sunday, that's the last I'd heard about it. I'd assumed it had died down.
Apparently not. The woman who complained has kept on complaining. For months. Ever more vociferously. I asked what she was like and my nan said, "She's a bit of an odd woman. She keeps notes about everyone, and she hugs the black people who come to the town church. I don't think they like it very much." She has written to the local bishop to complain about Margaret. Now, Margaret has been a fixture of village and town life down there for a very long time; she taught a lot of the local people's families music at school, and as such, you mess with her at your peril.
So the entire town has sent her to Coventry. People will not sit with her in church, nor will they speak to her in choir. Men and women in their 70s and 80s are writing notes to hand to her instead of speaking to her because of the gross insult she has done to Margaret. Then our local vicar did an entire sermon devoted to the situation - it didn't mention her by name, but apparently it was very clear that it was about her and how she should shut up and leave everybody alone. The next time the vicar turned up to open the church for a service he found it attended by two policemen; she'd called the police and demanded an escort because she felt sure she was going to be persecuted again. I can't report on the result of this better than to quote my nan : "Fortunately the vicar was able to tell them, 'Oh, go away, for god's sake, she's one of ours, we know how to deal with them.'"
Now she's being interviewed by the BBC.
You know when you're watching Midsomer Murders and thinking how ridiculous it is? I feel the stabbing of someone with a knitting needle and the arrival of DCI Barnaby is only days away.
NB, I am just reporting. Personally I think Margaret should have given the piece a new title and not drawn attention to the old one, that my nan tries very hard not to be of her own generation but can't help it sometimes, and that every single person involved in this at this point, including the vicar, is behaving like an absolute child.