Cotswold Life

Ed­i­tor’s Com­ment

- Lifestyle · London · Islington · Oxford · Daylesford · Cotswolds · Birmingham (England) · Cheltenham

SO HERE’S the dilemma. You live in a de­sir­able Cotswold prop­erty worth around £500,000 (close to the av­er­age price in th­ese parts). Aided by a small in­her­i­tance or a mod­est lottery win, you de­cide that you can now af­ford that big­ger house with more land on the edge of the vil­lage, so you put your house on the mar­ket.

A queue of prospec­tive buy­ers ar­rives at your door al­most im­me­di­ately, mostly would-be es­capees from towns and cities em­bold­ened by the new-found ease of work­ing from home. You end up with two of­fers over the ask­ing price, one from a lo­cal fam­ily who are mov­ing up the prop­erty lad­der, and a big­ger one from a pair of Lon­don-based bankers who want a week­end re­treat. Which one do you ac­cept?

The first set of buy­ers will keep the lights on and their door open seven days a week. They will send their chil­dren to the vil­lage school, spend money in the vil­lage shop, re­fuel at the nearby garage, em­ploy lo­cal trades­men (or women) and eat and drink in the lo­cal pub. They will be a wel­come trans­fu­sion of life for an of­ten ail­ing pa­tient, al­beit one built of Cotswold stone.

The sec­ond pair are dif­fer­ent gravy. They will load up their 4x4 at Waitrose in Is­ling­ton be­fore join­ing the Fri­day night traf­fic jam that is the A40 around Ox­ford. When they get here, they might well do a bit of recre­ational shop­ping, but they’ll head for Dayles­ford rather than the vil­lage shop. They will cer­tainly spend money on eat­ing out, but it will be at 131 in Chel­tenham rather than the vil­lage pub. And then, af­ter a week­end con­tribut­ing bug­ger all to the lo­cal econ­omy, they’ll shut up shop and join the Sun­day evening traf­fic jam around Ox­ford on their way back to that Lon­don.

Oh, did I men­tion that the week­enders had of­fered more for your house? Twenty thou­sand pounds more, to be ex­act.

Wel­come to the mo­ral maze. We all know what we should do. We all know what we would like to do. So what price do you put on your prin­ci­ples? It’s a tough call.

AS WELL as hun­dreds of town­ies pitch­ing up with car­rier bags of cash af­ter dis­pos­ing of their one-bed­room flats in the cap­i­tal, the Cotswolds is also awash with stay-at-home tourists de­nied their an­nual Euro­pean hol­i­days by the fears of quar­an­tine (not that any­one pays at­ten­tion to it any­way) and sud­den travel bans. This is good news and bad news. The good news is that the money they bring with them is help­ing to keep our pubs, res­tau­rants, ho­tels, shops and tourist at­trac­tions afloat. The bad news is that too many of them are ig­no­rant of our strange coun­try ways and treat the place as a per­sonal play­ground.

Gates are left open or blocked by parked cars, fields of crops are tram­pled un­der­foot, lit­ter is ca­su­ally dis­carded and, worst of all, dogs are al­lowed to run riot among live­stock. I don’t have fig­ures for ca­su­al­ties dur­ing and af­ter the lamb­ing sea­son, but from per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence I know of one fam­ily who lost two pet geese and four duck­lings to a ma­raud­ing dog. The chil­dren were, un­der­stand­ably, dev­as­tated.

So come and en­joy the Cotswolds by all means, but please pay at least pass­ing at­ten­tion to the coun­try code. You wouldn’t like it if we ran down your sub­ur­ban street kick­ing over your bins.

THE IN­FLUX of tourists (and some places are ab­so­lutely swamped) is very wel­come and does pro­vide some in­ter­est­ing in­sights into the English­man Not Abroad. We’re used to coachloads of Ja­panese trav­ellers strip­ping the shelves bare at the High­grove shop and stand­ing in your front gar­den peer­ing through the win­dow of your cot­tage, but they are un­fail­ingly po­lite as they do so. The English can be rather more abrupt, and hold Olympic medals in com­plain­ing, par­tic­u­larly about the cost of things.

Hence the scene last week out­side a very posh ‘farm shop’ be­gin­ning with the let­ter D, as the broad twang of an un­mis­tak­able Birm­ing­ham ac­cent echoed around the car park: “A hun­dred pounds for a bloody table­cloth? What’s wrong with that oil­cloth one we got as a wed­ding present?”

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 ??  ?? This month’s cover im­age: Crick­ley Hill view­point, by Mark Har­ri­son (Shad­owed Eyes) Twit­ter: @Eyesshad­owed
This month’s cover im­age: Crick­ley Hill view­point, by Mark Har­ri­son (Shad­owed Eyes) Twit­ter: @Eyesshad­owed
 ?? MIKE LOWE, Fol­low Mike on Twit­ter:
@cot­slifeed­i­tor ??
MIKE LOWE, Fol­low Mike on Twit­ter: @cot­slifeed­i­tor
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