Friday, July 14, 2006


One of the aspects of life most remarked upon by visitors is the quiet. "It's so quiet," they say. "You can't hear traffic. It's so silent." And they're right and they're wrong. It is so much more quiet than the big city where you develop a threshold of sound, above which the noise volume has to reach before it becomes noticeable. The difference here is that there is no constant hubbub or buzz or hum.

But it's not quiet. There are the furious eruptions of bird chatter. "Who are you accusing of Robin - (Geddit? Sorry) - Come over here and squawk that!"There's occasional but surprisingly little barking. The striking of horse shoe on road. The wind. Cars. People. And - no escape from it - the phone.

Until the other day - when it stopped ringing.

It took a while to notice. It wasn't till I saw the burned out car a few doors down that the story began to emerge. What's that? The charred carcass of a motor vehicle in our pastoral idyll? How can this be?

Well - the important thing about village life is knowing who's who. Or more particularly who's whose cousin. And who's engaged in which trans-generational family feud. I still haven't got my head round this yet. But Family A, has been sorely annoying Family B lately. Hence the nocturnal visit with petrol bomb and destroyed motor.

Strewth. That never happened where we lived in the city. The odd armed robbery at the corner, but no burned out cars. Some house arson, and a few murders. But no cars set on fire nearly outside our door! OK - calm down. And how come nobody saw or heard anything. I didn't even hear the fire engine.

Which puts this perception of silence in a new light. Maybe it's not so quiet here after all. We've just become deafened by the city. Or perhaps urban sounds fail to register as noteworthy to me and my visitors. Perhaps it's only the sounds of nature that strike me as odd - while siren, tyre screech and fuel explosion are filtered out as the normal backdrop of city life.

By that reasoning I'll know I've settled in when I no longer hear the birds, but jump at every car backfiring.

The non-ringing phone is more easily explained. The ex-car was parked by the telephone post, which went up in smoke at the same time, cutting the phone lines. We have a new post now, and the joys of cold call phone sales once again. The car's been removed, leaving a rectangle of black ash to remind us.

To remind us that... That village life is great but keep your wits about you. That St Mary Meade amply supplied Mrs Marple with murder. That I'd better swot up on who are the Hatfields and who the McCoys.


Blogger the pitsea pirate said...

How terrible.. how far from the ghetto do you need to move to escape this type of animal behaviour?


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