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Quintessentially British

Sunday, November 11th, 2012

I’ve been very busy for the last couple of days – hence my absence here. It was Bazaar time!

Since I moved to Switzerland almost 22 years ago I’ve been an active member of the Anglican Community in Zürich – it’s really the only ex-pat type thing I’ve ever dabbled in and St Andrew’s in Zürich has always been a little bit of home from home to me.

Imagine if you will a small but very English church right in the middle of a Swiss city. Actually you should really imagine a church that is rather like England was about 40 years ago…we are possibly slightly in a time warp and as long as I’ve been there not much has changed. We have a choir in blue robes, flower arrangers and coffee rotas, carol services and nativity plays….and every year we have a church bazaar.

Now the bazaar is somewhat special. It is a bazaar on a scale I have never seen before. It’s a bazaar that involves our entire church community, or actually probably almost the entire British community in Eastern Switzerland. It’s famous far and wide…and I would chance a guess that it may actually be the biggest earning bazaar in the whole church of England (or maybe even the world….). It’s certainly a huge event for the English-speaking community in this part of the world. The recession has hit us a little, but yesterday we still managed to have takings of Sfr 63,000. That’s about $65,000 or £42,000!

Which is a lot of money from fruit cakes and Christmas wreaths, from home-made marmalade and lemon curd, from Golden Syrup and  Black Treacle brought over from England, from second hand English books, from Christmas puddings and mincemeat, from scones and cups of tea, from the White Elephant (bric-a-brac) and the Nearly New Clothes.

So Friday for me was full of baking the scones for the teas and on Saturday I ran the accounting room (with a team of 8) – the one time in the year when some of my half-forgotten accounting skills come to the fore.

It was exhausting, but brilliant as always. It is wonderful to be part of a community of young and old, all working together, laughing and catching up with friends that we don’t get to see all that often, putting the world (and the church!) to rights as we earn the money to keep the roof on our old church.

A very good day was had by all – just what I needed to lift my spirits!!


The photos are from early in the morning before we started…by this stage, an hour before opening time, there were already about 50 people queuing outside in the rain waiting to come in. If I’d waited till we opened you wouldn’t have seen anything for the crush.



15 Responses to “Quintessentially British”

  1. catherine Says:

    Wow that is an amazing amount of money, well done to everyone involved!

  2. Tanya Says:

    Sounds totally fab – one day I want to come along x

  3. Kathryn Says:

    Wow! That’s some church bazaar!

  4. Elisabeth Says:

    That is impressive! I will have to come and have a nosey next year 🙂

  5. Katy Says:

    £42k?! Holy crap! May I have a giggle though that you’re an English church called St Andrew’s? 😉

  6. CarlaHR Says:

    Very impressive to say the least!!!! Congratulations on a job well done.

  7. Julie Says:

    Oh, I would have loved to be there. All the things I love: Switzerland, England and English things, goodies, God, tradition, wonderful people, Christmas….sigh. 😀

  8. Leanne Says:

    It looks lovely and I am amazed at the sales, there must be more cakes hiding under the tables to be brought out to replenish them. Lovely to be in such a great community.

  9. Susan Says:

    I am speechless by the amount of money you make!! How impressive and I would guess a heck of a lot of hard work. Well done!!

  10. Flying Blind Says:

    Well done you guys!

  11. Meredith Says:

    It is nice to see all you come together

  12. Lizzy Ruffles Says:

    Lovely – I wish I could get one of those gorgeous hobby horses! We went to the International Women’s Club of Nyon bazaar this weekend and I have to say yours looks a tiny bit nicer. There were some lovely international gifts at the IWCN one though – I got a beautiful Japanese paper covered egg for Beatrix for Easter (I know a little bit in advance but being organized is surely never a bad thing). It’s phenomenal how much money fund raising events make here isn’t it.

  13. Dianne Neale Says:

    Wow – that is amazing. I wished I lived a bit nearer – I haven’t been to a good church bazaar for ages.

  14. diane stanley Says:

    what a wonderful bazaar. Congratulations for helping to make it so successful. Do you want to share your scone recipe?

  15. Sarah Says:

    Hehehe, Anglican churches all over the world must be the same. I’m Anglican and here in Australia our churches look like little parts of 19th century England too. We have the same sorts of rosters and events too. Congratulations on such successful fundraising! Your pictures bring back vivid memories of church Christmas fetes from my childhood in the early 80s.