“I am here from the Council” said the young lady wearing fishnet stockings and a short skirt. “Hello…Oh yes” said I in my best Leslie Phillips accent, wondering why she wanted to see me. The awful truth is that someone here in the last village in Wales, has snitched to the planning department about lorry loads of rubble and earth coming down the lane to the Welsh Hovel, suggesting I may be threatening the flood plain. And so, I was honoured with a site visit.
The Mrs says that I should not be so cross and should show empathy with some bored old biddy, twitching her curtains and so creating trouble. If she, or he – for there are male old biddies of this type in every village in this land- has not reported enough cyclists for not wearing a mask while drinking coffee in the square, then why not report those new folks at the Farm?
You may remember last year when I mistakenly had a path mowed around the edges of our fields and invited those suffering lockdown to use it for exercise, I met with hostility from those who do not like outsiders moving in and still call this house after the previous owners whom they miss greatly.
And so I let rip as I explained to the young lady in her fishnet stockings what I was doing and what the lorries coming down and going up the lane were doing. At a five figure cost I have removed tonnes of scrap iron and removed old sheds that were falling down and a health hazard: I have removed tonnes of asbestos either lying abandoned or buried by the previous owners and 300 tyres left there by the previous owners. I have turned what was a wilderness area on the upper near field into an orchard where the trees are now blossoming, and in thinning other trees will allow the folks living 15 -20 yards above my fields on the flood plain, a free view out onto that plain and river for the first time in more than half a century.
I am creating a Ha Ha which will act to protect listed buildings, the barns, from the floods when they arrive but which will not impact on any of the nearest houses more than 15-20 yards above the flood plain. My work has exposed gorgeous red sandstone cliffs. I showed the young lady our kitchen and explained how we had uncovered a 16th century bread oven, oak timbers and a window tax window and so what we have done here has provided work for countless local souls.
We have spent vast amounts here, money which has been pumped into the local economy, we are recreating a thing of beauty and we are improving the view that a stack of neighbours see each day when they wake up, we are cxlearing hazardous materials from the land.
And yet some lonely old poltroon snitches on the newcomers to Wrexham council. I am afraid that Wales has a reputation for this sort of thing. It is not something that does it any credit at all. I compare, once again, life with my friends in the small village of Kambos in Southern greece a couple of miles from the Greek Hovel, whose generosity of spirit knows no bounds, with this sort of sniping here in Wales. I cannot wait to escape to be with my friends in the sun of mighty Hellas.