As the sun beats down on this soggy corner of England, the skies looking more Greece than Dorset, the news breaks that we have a thief in our midst. The village shop is always busy, at certain times of the day, located as it is on a square where four roads meet. This is the world from my window, the world I look out on and walk through every day. But this is something I did not see. No-one saw it happen - it just did. One minute the chill cabinet was full of bacon, the next minute, nothing. There were just two customers in the shop at the time: a respectable elderly lady who has lived here all her life apart from her formative years in a hamlet she still hankers after and an old gypsy woman, with carrier bags on her feet and a very large coat over her shoulders. The bacon, it is true, was on special offer. But Buy One Get One Free does not usually mean Steal One Get One Free. Suspicion has naturally fallen on Gypsy Rose Lee, which may appear rather judgmental but, hey, that's life. What people cannot believe is that she actually went to the counter and paid for half a dozen eggs and two tomatoes and then walked out with £70 worth of bacon concealed on her person.
The shop is a key facility in this village. You need a personal fortune the size of Somerset to do all your shopping there on a regular basis but it is very convenient for milk and newspapers and a very good source of information. We are lucky here in that we still have a shop, a brilliant primary school, a village hall, church and a post office, if only someone would step forward and run it. Luckily, ours was not on the official closure list but our hardworking postmistress shut up shop at the end of last year and there is no-one to run it. With postage rates and regulations so complicated now, I frequently have to drive six miles to take my parcels to be weighed and stamped.
But one thing this village does have is wide range of active people who help keep the place alive. Too many communities around us are dead during the week while the second home owners fanny around in London. For some reason, our village has remained a bit of a secret from most of these types, even though we are twixt coast and mainline train station. Long may it stay that way. One local farmer says the village now is what it was like when he was growing up, after going through a phase in the 70s and 80s where retired people moved in with plans of changing it as soon as they got here. He feels the latest batch of people who have moved in - some from not that far away - are the type to get on with others, knuckle down and help out, come up with new ideas where necessary but, most of all, do not TAKE OVER. It's all about respect for a place and its soul. It was here long before we were and long after, no doubt, so we owe a debt of gratitude for just being here.
Meanwhile, as the sun beats down all afternoon and the shadows lengthen in the square, the hunt for the bacon thief continues. Although I can't help thinking the trail has long gone cold.
That's about it
Love Maddie X
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