As it was in boarding school
HOWICK’S retirement villages have many good points. They are safe, congenial and pretty. It is actually cheaper to live there rather than outside. They are quiet — too quiet, methinks: the absence of children’s voices is very noticeable.
There are other disadvantages — while people outside get along very well without a forest of “conduct rules”, the villages clearly feel when you get old you need to be seriously kept in check, as it was in boarding school, remember?
So a fat rule book can be thrown at you if you step over some line. And it does get thrown, because another problem is that a few people make it their business to see that everyone else obeys the rules religiously. Running to the prefects to split on some granny’s errant cat, say, is a prime source of satisfaction for these people.
The official attitude is that pets are undesirable. They are allowed under sufferance, and if an animal hater objects, he or she has all the rights and you and your dog or cat have none. I myself have been accused, charged, tried, found guilty, sentenced and virtually hanged — all without any hearing or even prior notice of proceedings — because my dog allegedly barked. The problem isn’t pets but people.
Everybody in these villages needs to remember that rules are for the guidance of reasonable folk and the obeisance of fools. The latter are, like the rules, plentiful. RUPERT JONES