A FETE WORSE THAN DEATH

Cotswold Life - - CHRISTMAS FAIR IN THE COTSWOLDS - Anony­mous, for ob­vi­ous rea­sons, Ox­ford­shire

Sir,

Your com­ments re­gard­ing the vil­lage fete (Cotswold Life, Oc­to­ber) cer­tainly strike a chord amongst my neigh­bours and my­self. Your sug­gested mod­erni­sa­tions might have been tongue-in-cheek, but a se­ri­ous prob­lem lies be­neath.

I am for­tu­nate to be liv­ing in a pretty Cotswolds vil­lage in the east of the re­gion. Un­for­tu­nately this lo­ca­tion brings us within rel­a­tively easy reach of Lon­don and means that many of our cot­tages and big­ger houses are now owned by peo­ple who only in­habit them at the week­end. I do not be­grudge these “in­com­ers” their good for­tune. Who wouldn’t want to have a week­end es­cape if fi­nances al­lowed, par­tic­u­larly to this part of the coun­try? But they can­not then ex­pect to im­pose their views on the per­ma­nent pop­u­la­tion.

A cou­ple of years ago a num­ber of week­enders joined var­i­ous vil­lage com­mit­tees and, through no great fault of their own, man­aged to up­set the res­i­dent or­gan­is­ers so that most even­tu­ally re­signed af­ter years of ser­vice. Tra­di­tions were dis­pensed with and, it must be ad­mit­ted, new blood took over many of our vil­lage events.

The prob­lem is that these folk have now sold up and dis­ap­peared – on­wards and up­wards to an­other in­no­cent vil­lage I sus­pect. Our vol­un­teer stock is now de­pleted and the old-timers have no in­ter­est in re­turn­ing to the fray. There is much self-sat­is­fied “I told you so” smirk­ing.

Yes, vil­lages need new blood to keep them healthy, but some­times you should be­ware of what you wish for.

ABOVE: The new blood on the vil­lage com­mit­tee had no truck with the likes of the co­conut shy

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