Dom Joly: Now at last I can join Liz, Sam and the Kates in the Cotswolds celebrati!

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The Independent Online

There is much wailing and gnashing of teeth down in the deepest, darkest Cotswolds. As Janet Street-Porter notes, Anne Robinson has announced she is selling her house. In her article in The Daily Telegraph she seemed to be slightly resentful of what she termed "jet-set arrivistes" taking the area over. I'm sure that she couldn't have been referring to me, as I originally arrived here on a Vespa, but I am taking flying lessons so if she changed it to "dual-control Cessna arrivistes" then maybe I could make the list?

I know that I speak for my entire family in saying that she will be greatly missed. It was always a moment of great excitement in the village when she would drive through in an enormous convertible Mercedes like you see the Queen drive round Muswell Hill. The whole village would come out and cheer as she made her triumphant way winking and waving away.

When I first "arrived" down here it was only supposed to be for six months. It was a little experiment, an extended holiday while my London pad was being done up. I rented what turned out to be Anne Robinson's old house. I had no idea and the estate agent certainly kept very quiet about it.

No wonder. There was something about the place that just wasn't quite right. There were little signs that terrible things had gone on there: an enormous stain in the corner of the sitting room that looked suspiciously like blood, graffiti in the bathroom that read "Welsh is all kunts" and two unmarked graves in the garden.

I have a sneaking suspicion that her resentment at the arrivistes might not just be that they have had to buy their own furniture. I wonder whether she might not be a little miffed not to have been asked to turn on the local Christmas lights this year. Since the Hurley and co arrived I haven't had a look in. They've completely monopolised the local market. I can barely get a village fête interested in me despite the popularity of my long, but highly amusing, speeches. I, probably like Anne, can remember better times when I was doing three a weekend. My finest moment came when I had to open the Chipping Bottom fête. My speech had an amusing theme, dealing with the prevalence of inbreeding in the area and the fact there was no local phone book as there were just two surnames in the surrounding nine miles. When they started throwing things, I assumed that it was some quaint local ritual and I joined in.

There's always one who ruins it for everyone. I spent two days in Cirencester General getting the pitchfork tip removed from my bottom. But at least I managed to open the hospital tombola while I was there, so it wasn't a complete waste of time.

Whilst her loss is obviously a real blow for most people, it does have an unexpected bonus for me. With her out of the picture I have finally made "the big five". These are the chosen five celebrities that newspapers mention whenever they do a story on the Cotswolds. It's normally Kate Moss, Hurley, Kate Winslet and Sam Mendes (they often cheat and count them as two) and then a random pick of Rory Bremner, Robinson and Ruby Wax.

With Robinson out of the way, I have moved up to reserve status for the moveable fifth. Imagine the pride and excitement at the Joly dinner table (bought at the Conran shop barely three years ago, imagine! Alan Clark must be spinning in his grave). I have a sneaking suspicion that things are going my way at last.

Hurley is 40 this weekend and therefore finished. This leaves me free to do battle with Sharron Davies, a new arriviste, to lead the maypole dance at this year's Fairford Mad Badger Festival.

Sharron, you are the weakest link - goodbye.

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