Villages in Cornwall are lovely to live in and are mostly but not all close to the sea. I live on the south coast and in less than an hour I can be on the north coast....this is the nature of living on a peninsula.
In the old days the villages were often cut off from each other until cars were invented....and those that could only be reached by horse and cart often really hated each other. In one village not far from here the small village at the top of a long hill loathed the people in the village at the bottom of the hill and used to throw rocks at them if they tried to go up the slope. Or so I'm told!
Living in one such village has been an eye opener for me....it took years to find out who was married to whom, and who had fathered who . There were traps set for the unwary at every step of the way.
One girl came to see me one morning a few years ago to ask if I would christen her baby Of course I would so I asked her to fill in the right form. When we got to the part where I had to put the father's name she demurred...
"I don't mind telling you" she said...."But don't tell anyone else.....no one else knows."
The day of the christening arrived and the entire village filled the church. Everyone knew who the father was including his parents, ready to be the proud grandparents they already were.
The girl looked around , gulped and then smiled.....they were all invited to the do afterwards and everyone seemed to get on fine.
And that's the story of relationships in small villages.
Its very easy to rush in and presume someone is the father, if he is now married to the mother but no...the child could have been the result of a relationship several partners ago. Its a highly complex mix of social intercourse.
There is a saying that once every five years a bell is rung and everyone changes partners. Its not true of course but it does have some elements of truth in it.
I make no judgements.....its not my village any more but I expect its way of life is repeated throughout the world...in small remote villages everywhere....
Usually a wonderful spirit of good will prevails and I just get on baptising the babies that result!