Land Slurry

If my cottage is here, then down the road a bit and turning right will find you in what looks like French countryside.
Fields and old trees, the backs of two old cottages made out of ancient brickwork, dovecotes and peach trees, old hedges and my famous avenue.
So if you walk down the hill from my home of 38 years, turn right at the long white house and keep walking you are in the middle of old, old, old Sussex land. Carry on for a few paces and you hit the farm.
When we moved here in 1984 you could walk through the farm yard and head down towards a kissing gate. Through the kissing gate, a steep little slide and a real pond twinkling in the dappled light. To the end of the path, and in the tall trees woodpeckers could be heard peck, peck, pecking from a mile away.
We had moved from the East End, countryside meant nothing to me only darkness and leaves. And then I got to understand that elderberry’s lived at the end of the lane and sweet chestnuts fell on the path to the farm. That mushrooms grew round the Limes and that ancient crab apple trees overhung the bottom field.
But then the farmer – who shall remain nameless mainly because I don’t know his name – padlocked the kissing gate. Three rounds of metal chain and a lock. I wrote to the local council. I hadn’t moved from London to be corralled I said, I hadn’t moved from the docklands of Wapping to be denied entry to our very own green and pleasant land. I had not moved to this silly little publet to be locked out of my own backyard, ghettoised by the wealthy landowner who decided to declare war on the locals.
Our dog Jackson, beautiful boy that he was, had a run in with the farmer. My young daughters had run ins with the farmer. The old git knew how to play him and over the years the farmer mellowed. But then……
He bought a combine harvester that would do well on the plains of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma, that would do well in the space of Montana, Wyoming, Colorado or New Mexico. A combine harvester so big and expensive that only the likes of Texas, Missouri, Wisconsin or Minnesota could be happy housing it. Combine harvesters that cost more than the council tax of the whole of Wealdon feels a trifle excessive. Combine harvesters that kill the field mice, decimate the moles, fuck the birdlife and disturb everything from butterflies to ladybirds should really be avoided at all cost, whoever pays.
The local population may have nattered behind closed gates but nobody said anything.
Then after a delicious walk through golden fields, carefully I may add, two green signs went up. All of a fucking sudden we were forbidden to let the dogs out, let the sun shine on our backs, all of a fucking sudden the farm made it clear that walkways belonged to him whilst the rest of us commoners, as directed through his new green notices, could politely fuck off.
And then this morning, after a walk with the dawter, in the other direction, we came home to a post from our local ‘What’s App’ group.
The avenue which houses MY TREE WITH LIPSTICK STAINS FROM 38 YEAR S OF SNOGGING IT, has the very same green sign telling us we can walk this way and that but not down the avenue.
Well the local community is quietly fuming. Messages are flying around, The Ramblers association has been researched. We have until 2026 to make sure common land is kept common. Not just in the greedy clutches of The Sheriff of Nottingham or the Al Maktoum family or even Merton College Oxford, the landowners have farmed it, exploited it and even taken out their guns to murder foxes and badgers on it.
Where I live has been designated an area of natural beauty, people have enjoyed it since Henry the Eighth was too obese to walk it, the royal pudding stood stock still at ‘Kings Standing’ in Ashdown Forest as his surfs released deer for him to kill – pulling back the bow string engaging his flabby back muscles, pulling back the string so that his index finger of his fat, podgy hand was under his several chins and the string touched his nose and lips, the Queen’s 14 x great uncle, slaughtered boars and stags to fill his wobbly royal belly whilst the surfs nibbled on his crumbs.
This is 2020 for God’s sake. Not a time for them and us – although unfortunately it still is – this is 2020 not a time for greedy landowners to put up fences so that the common peasants can’t enjoy a view.
I will be writing to the council again. I will tread the avenue whether the farmer in his den likes it or not. I shall go alone or with others, we will walk up and down the avenue until the unreasonable overseer gets tired of seeing hoi polloi walking the land.
Fences are for the likes of Trump. Borders are for the likes of Orban, restrictions are for the likes of Bolsonaro. Yes, all those leaders with fascistic tendencies had better watch their backs because the revolting mob, the monstrous regiment, and little ol’ me, are beginning to say enough is enough.
I’m off now to have a walk down the avenue, although apparently the tees are unsafe and the farmer is liable for any accidents. Frankly I’m not buying it. Life is fraught with danger, wobbly bridges, rising tides, Covid Air and arrogant farmers who are trying to keep us in our place. If he wants to make it safe for future use then let’s all be told the truth, not Boris Johnson tactics of doing things behind our backs before it is too late to have a say.
‘I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!’
And I’m not alone.

2 thoughts on “Land Slurry”

  1. ……..let Humanity……… take a moment! Let the world breathe for a second!
    Just please settle down, for once!
    This is totally unspoken of, despite war!
    We are in war times………!
    I am not surprised….. I have delivered to and watched the south east, continue in their persuit of gluttony!
    I have been disgusted by the people of this county…….. I deliver from here to east anglia………….I drive by the Pantiles on my way back home, after a long day and I see nothing but no one obeying rules to protect our loved ones!
    We just waved goodbye to grandma and grandad through our window, all of us fighting back the tears!
    Whoever is treating themselves to a takeout coffee, down the Pantiles…….. or in penshurst…….. without wearing masks…..escorting their precious hotdogs and chips, to their land rovers………… take a moment……….. you’re not helping yourselves, your family, you’re helping the rich to get richer……… you’re making the poor man work harder! I might even sell my stories about all this!?
    The insatiable apitite this world has, leaves me with nothing but disgust!
    Tundbridge Wells……. just stop…….. for once in your lives!
    It’s a bloody, serious, Pandemic!
    We can’t see our loved ones…….., but you still need your coffee and chips?!
    Do me a favour!
    Joe, cat, Layla and Leon!

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