Candid Caller: New Age? No way

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The Independent Online
IF A group of 200 hippies rang up a farmer and asked whether they could camp on his land, what do you think he would say? In the first of his phone-outs, the Candid Caller got the answer. He rang six farmers - all named Farmer. And then, when it looked as if accommodation on farmland was going to be hard to find, he rang a couple of campsites and asked the same question: 'Can we camp on your land for a New Age gathering?'

Mrs A Farmer, Barefoot Farm, Liss, Hampshire: 'I doubt it very much. No. I don't think so - I wouldn't want to upset my neighbours. In some situations it might be OK, but I couldn't allow it.'

Mr G Farmer, Oxhall Farm; Clifton-on-Teme, Hereford and Worcester: 'No. No way.'

Mr D Farmer, Clements Farm, Hemyock, Devon: 'I don't think so. Though we do camp a lot of Cubs and Scouts here at the moment. 'Bye.'

Mrs J Farmer, Springfield Farm, Westbury, near Shrewsbury: 'I shouldn't think so, really. The lay-up here isn't too good actually, there's no flat land here to build farm buildings on, let alone put a caravan. It's a nightmare. My father-in-law owns the land, I don't think he'd be too pleased either. Sorry.'

Mr J Farmer, Laburnum House, Pentre, Shropshire: 'Is this a joke or something? I certainly would not consider it. I think the neighbours would shoot me if I did]'

Mrs J Farmer, Red House Farm, Guilsfield, Shropshire: 'New Age what? ('A meeting of travellers.') I don't think so . . . no, I don't think so. We just wouldn't consider it.'

Lady receptionist, Cotswold Gate Caravan Park, Dursley, Gloucestershire: 'With caravans or tents? ('Caravans and trucks, mostly.') When did you want to come? ('As soon as possible.') How many would there be? ('A hundred or two.') OK. Well, the owner's not here at the moment but if I can take your name and number I'll call you back . . .'

Mr Shipway, Longwillows Caravan & Camp Site, Cheltenham: 'Ha] Ha] You're winding me up, aren't you? Ha] Shall we say it's an 'unfavourable' idea. We don't take anyone we even suspect of being travellers. Anyway, we've only got four acres and are only licensed for 80 people. Ha] 'Bye.'

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