THE VILLAGE SWINGERS
IT’S one of those days when everything is upside down. Really. The tops of the hills are green while the lowlands are white with frost.
Meteorologists call it an inversion. The hills here are 1000ft high – normally when you go up onto those ridges in winter it’s brass-monkeys all round – but today it is balmy at altitude and freezing down here.
So I’m writing furiously to keep warm. But maybe I should go up the road and apply for membership to a new club that has opened in my parish. I reckon it will be toasty warm inside the big house where this membership-only organisation is based. Why should I say such a thing? Because the old house has become a centre for swingers, or wife-swappers, or whatever they call themselves. A parish councillor sent me a link to the club’s website and… blimey!
I imagine the central heating will have to be cranked especially high around 10.30 in the evening – because that is “dress-down” time.
“After our famous ‘dress code’ song (22.30) it is appreciated that everyone is then dressed down into
Columnist Martin Hesp has discovered that the big house in his village, once home to a German count, is now the base for one of the country’s biggest swingers clubs
beautiful sexy lingerie for the ladies and boxers etc for the gentlemen,” says the website.
It certainly has the village tongues wagging, if my visit to the pub was anything to go by. One local bloke told us he’d “come over all unnecessary” after taking his dog for a walk near the house – only to be told later on what was going on inside.
Indeed, as far as I can make out, some of the parish councillors have “come over all unnecessary”, as people used to say. Thinking about it, that might not be the best of phrases to use in the circumstances, but never mind.
And I do not mind. It doesn’t bother me if a bunch of people are getting their kits off up the road and roleplaying Fifty Shades of Grey. Best of luck to them, I say. Consenting adults should be able to do whatever they like behind closed doors, as long as an NHS bill is never part of the result.
In fact, I suggested to one parish councillor that she and I should pay the £160 fee for a party-night entry and go incognito as a couple on a fact-finding mission – but for some reason I’ve yet to get my head around, she demurred.
It was she who sent me the link to the website, so she must have read that “everyone is represented – from across every profession and every race and every religion, from 18 through to people in their 80s”.
I was amused to see, in the listing of people who attend, the following folk… “Newspaper reporters and editors – newspaper owners…”
The only thing that really shocked me about the website was the following fact or fake-news, you make up your own mind… “In Britain alone there are in excess of nine million involved in the swinging scene.”
Given that this country has around 15 million youngsters aged under 18 and so out of the equation, that would mean that one in every five adults goes in for a bit of wife-or- partner-swapping or extra-marital sex.
What would my granny say? I was brought up in these same hills and the larger part of my family was made up of strict non-conformist Christians. These hills on a Sunday used to echo with the sound of Methodist ministers telling people the way to the Lord and haranguing them for having sinful thoughts.
What would those poor old blighters do, I wonder, if you’d told them that within 50 years one in five adults across the nation would be having it off with someone they shouldn’t?
I say “someone they shouldn’t” but obviously that doesn’t come into the frame if you’re a swinger. For those happy folk (the website claims research has found that swingers are in general much happier than “normal” people) such man-made barriers have been kicked into the dust.
Anyway… one other thing that amuses me about my parish playing host to one of the biggest swinger clubs in the country is that the old house where it’s based has been the source of “shock-horror” news before.
It happened on July 28, 1914, seven days before the declaration of war between Britain and Germany. The man who owned the house – one Count Conrad Hochberg – disappeared on that day in mysterious circumstances.
The local rumour mill went into overdrive and there was talk of a “cache of 300 rifles, a Marconi radio set, storage tanks containing 7,000 gallons of petrol and incriminating documents and plans of the coast”.
It seems now that this was a huge exaggeration.
The Count was an Anglophile through and through. When he died in Berlin years later he had instructed that only English hymns be sung at his funeral, which was to be entirely addressed in the English language.
Poor old Hochberg never did return to his Somerset home. However, I can’t help but wonder if he isn’t up there haunting some of the specially themed love-making rooms now.
At 10.30pm everyone at the swingers club is invited to dress down to sexy lingerie andboxers, says the organisation’s website