By The Photograher’s Assistant
New Street in the little town is long and leads to the Moor. Those who dwell in this street are upright citizens of the little town. Many of them are socially minded and drive many of the community efforts. There are retired folk, young families, artists, musicians, a dress maker etc.
It is a hub of quiet industry and community. What occurred during one night during the cold weather was disturbing and extraordinary.
The Daughter and her Husband (qualifications for residency; major movers and shakers on the swimming pool committee plus the daughter’s known artistic skills) were dozing in bed, completely secure in the silence of this old narrow street. In the distance there was an unusual noise. It was strange and the daughter was slightly disturbed. She turned over. This was always such a quiet place. Just as she had turned over, there was a piercing scream echoing down the street. It was terrible. They would have to see what was going on. There was another heartrending scream and she flew out of bed. She opened the window. Although she had lived in the remote countryside all her life, she had never seen anything like this. There on the narrow, confining road was a chicken screaming its head off, sending up the alarm. The chicken was a feisty one. It was running for all it was worth. It was brave and bold and wasn’t going to give up. Fast behind it, its feet clearly heard; its feet pattering on the road, was the predator. Assaulting the chicken, like a heavyweight prize fighter stood the largest badger she had ever seen in her life! The badger was light on its feet for such a heavy animal. The chicken was fighting its corner and it was running and you could hear the wild badger’s heavy paws. He was going to have this bird for an early breakfast. How dare it put up such a good fight. It was incredibly brave. The Daughter was admiring the chicken’s impudence when it made a wrong move and was killed with a final blood curdling scream. The silence was terrible. All you could hear was the badger’s paws as it made it’s way home with its breakfast. There was sticky blood, the consistency of glue, spread wide across the street. Badgers were clearly becoming resident in the little town. The husband had met a couple outside his van and was grateful that the dog had not seen them.The Daughter and her husband set off for work with a heavy heart. They had really thought that the chicken had stood a chance.
Other interlopers during the really cold weather had been the horses off the Moor, who had been helping themselves to the more verdant plants in people’s gardens. People who were missing their weekend pint, and those who possessed skis had skied down for a trip to the pubs. This second batch of snow had taken no prisoners. On the Sunday, the husband had set off in his van to help a friend, who had lost a front door in the flooding on the coast. On his way an unexpected blizzard had blown up and his van had an accident. The snow had suddenly become deep. His van had been written off and the Daughter had set off to rescue him. She had rung home, and the Assistant was worried. After the call, she went outside to top up the bird feeders. Now, there was a real squall outside and she was blown from side to side. The snow was in her mouth and hair, and even though she was just outside the house, she could see nothing. She got straight on to the Daughter, but she was already in trouble and had parked her little Mini at the side of the road.
What to do? She knew that the Daughter had taken supplies with her, but she had forgotten the shovel! The next moment there was another call from the Daughter, who had been rescued by some garage men with a 4×4. They had taken her home and she was grateful. They did not charge her anything. (Thank you Central Garage) They were pleased with their rescue. The Husband, meanwhile, had walked and hitched the ten miles home, so they were fortunate to both be safe. The next day, Andrew, from New Street and the swimming pool committee, set out with his van and a set of snow tyres and he and the Husband rescued the Mini. Deep sigh of relief all around. During this period of snow, the Photographer had put a powerful heater in the bore hole shed so this time there was even water!
Other news for the month should include the return of Duncan’s Guernsey cows to the little hamlet of Murchington. These characters had been much missed for a couple of farming seasons. Other animals had taken their place. There had been different cows, sheep and goats, but it had just not been the same without the Guernsey. One day, on their walk, the Photographer and the Assistant, fortunately with a camera, which was meant for photographing buzzards, came upon the great move. A huge number of black and white Friesian cattle were being driven off the field on the hill. The field was definitely being evacuated. The cattle were reluctant to go and the drive was difficult. The two had to help! They continued their walk and through the hedge at the top of their part of the Moor they felt that they could see something familiar. There they were. Feisty and as curious as ever, the Guernsey were definitely OUT. They are distributed now throughout the fields and are as clever and cunning as ever. There is already evidence of their main hobby, the means of escape, with various pallets in place in hedge gaps to stop them. If you walk up the hill from our cottage, you can meet them at the gate to the field, exploring the gate mechanism with some interest and they are always ready for a chat. They are so sociable!
So the month has gone on. There has been seed planting in the propagator, a visit to Totnes,fish and chips at Graylings in North Tawton, a tea with the Artist at the Forge. Wonderful breakfast cooked by Chris at Blacks, a local car service by Andrew at Crannafords, huge progress, despite the weather, on the new school building and on the site for the new houses, which are so needed. More of all this next month.
Finally, we cannot leave this month’s blog without mentioning the terrible toll on the community of the loss of so many of our citizens this winter. It cannot be denied that this has been a terrible winter for funerals, bringing so much sadness to the Moor and its surrounds. There are missing faces everywhere, and we shall be sad for some time to come. We are allowed to dwell on the loss of our people at such a time. You can’t always be expected to put a happy face on it!
We have a little spring weather now. At last a new season is here! When the sun comes out, it is so unbelievably warm and wonderful.
Wherever you are, whoever you are in our little community, as Dave Allen used to say, “May your God go with you!” See you next month with tales of spring and of hope. For one thing, the swimming pool will be open. The Daughter is cleaning and painting the children’s swimming pool. It’s always her favourite job!
And finally, we have added a link to the Facebook page
Any similarity between characters in this blog and real people, products or events is entirely co-incidental
Any similarity between “The Little Town” and Chagford is entirely deliberate, Click on this link to find out more. Visit Chagford