Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Thursday, 4 July 2013
This little, carved stone plaque is on the wall of the newly-built hairdressers in Great Bedwin, but must have been snitched from the old mason's shop next door, which is covered in the things.
I drove past it again yesterday to select a block of marble from their erstwhile rivals, deeper through the village, and this time I took H.I. for the ride so we stopped off for a look-around. Sadly, Lloyds of Great Bedwin went into liquidation last year, and now the place is a post office and shop. I looked for the great slab of stone on the wall which was the fossilised foot-print of a dinosaur, but it was gone. It was probably too valuable for the creditors to ignore.
It occurred to me that Great Bedwin has everything that makes up the perfect locality for a retirement home - thatched cottages with unkempt gardens strewn with wild flowers; a hairdresser for the odd blue-rinse; a church for the funerals; a post office to draw your pension; a little bakery; a Waitrose just down the road in Marlborough (which delivers); a vast and ancient forest of broad-leaved trees for the autumn walks and mushroom-hunts; a real, live railway station and - until last year - a monumental mason to carve your tombstone when you did actually kick the bucket.
As we strolled through the sleepy but active little village, listening to the bees buzzing around the hollyhocks which bordered the thatched houses, I said to H.I. "Maybe we should retire here?"
She gave me a hard stare which brought me back to reality, and then we got back into the car to continue my never-ending grind of back-breakingly hard, physical work involving some of the densest and heaviest material known to the working man.