THERE are thousands of tiny villages across our green and pleasant land, each with their own weird shit going on. Here are five things that only happen in them:
The weekly bus
Bus services have dwindled down to almost nothing, the loss bemoaned by pensioners despite the fact that they now shop almost exclusively on Amazon. However, there is one hardy bus route which persists, the driver miserably trundling his way through 254 stops in 76 equally bleak villages. There isn’t a return journey until the following week, which is probably why no one uses it.
Sudden terrible smells
Living in the countryside means that at any moment, without warning, the whole neighbourhood can be clouded with a hideous smell which arrives and leaves of its own volition. Is it a farmer spraying manure on his fields? Or has the Dobson’s septic tank got a dead cat in it again? No one is ever sure, but it will be a hot topic of conversation in the post office during the one hour a week it’s open.
An unwieldy WhatsApp group
The village Facebook group became mired in passive-aggressive digs and untidy garden shaming, so a breakaway group migrated to WhatsApp where everyone else eventually joined them. It now has 167 members and no one can keep up with any of it, apart from Deirdre from The Willows, who has admin rights and isn’t afraid to expel people for things she doesn’t approve of like excessive use of emojis.
Racist scarecrow competitions
Nothing says it’s summer in rural England like a village holding its annual scarecrow competition. As ever, this bit of harmless fun comes with an undercurrent of casual racism. What will win this year? A sack stuffed with straw and a parsnip for a head which is a dig at Keir Starmer? Or a Robinson’s golliwog so scarily well rendered that it must have taken old Mr Wright 200 hours to complete?
When you live in the sticks, normal rules don’t apply which means that once the landlord has bolted the door, you can stay in the pub until 3am on a week night drinking local scrumpy straight from the pump. City folk rarely, if ever, get to partake in this special, almost mythical, privilege, but on the other hand it does mean they’re able to get up for work the next day.