Poetic Licence: Travels In Boughton Paidfor

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The Gloucestershire village of Lower Slaughter has no telephone box, public lavatory or post office. The 179 households of the Cotswold parish

have voted against them in case they encourage tourists

Should I don Tattersall checked shirt

multipocketed action trousers and

garden cardigan? Then with quiet rabidity,

begin snipping the late-summer fronds

of the wistaria from the honey stone

walls of my Boughton Paidfor cottage?

Should I, while nightingales sing in my

garden, peruse my Dyspeptic Reader's

Book of The English Village and sip

wine club oloroso, as a drunken wasp

rustles the dried flower display in the trug

under the planished hod in my inglenook?

What of the tartan blanket which my wife

has placed in the utility room to prevent

the Jack Russells, Barnaby and Tancred,

from making the washing machine muddy

with their scritty little paws? What of our

little brass fleurs-de Lys hall ornaments?

What will become of our quiet traditions?

The Rover idling on Saturday mornings

prior to the weekly shopping trip to Waitrose?

The contented roar of the garden tractor on

Sundays? The re-assuring blink of the standby

light on the Intruder Alert under the eaves?

If there were a public phone, a lavatory

or a post office, People might come.

People staring at us while eating ice creams.

Imagining their own plaster donkeys in our

speedwell-splashed gardens. OUR gardens.

And the coaches. Dear God, the coaches.

We must call an emergency meeting.

Mrs Cosy McTwee, Rtd Brigadier Mindset

Mr and Mrs Barn-Conversion and

the Newmoneys from Dalmatian Cottage.

Some of them have been here for so long,

they can remember the villagers moving out.