Monday, 29 March 2010

To Landbeach and some old friends - and to Swaffham Prior and some more old friends

We went to Landbeach, initially to see some old friends, Mr and Mrs Alan Wyatt, and then to 'do' at least some of the village. Alan is retired now but was a distinguished and independent member of South Cambridgeshire District Council and its Chairman. He and Daphne are delights and always ready to help. Soon after visiting their home and the homes of their neighbours in Matthew Parker Close, I came across a housing development that I had not seen before and that pleased me much, for it is the product of the Hundred Houses Society that has such a good reputation hereabouts. Lo and behold, when I walked closer to the very pleasant-looking homes, there was a notice board stating that 'Chapman's Close' - the development - had been opened by Cllr. Alan Wyatt in March, 1995, just five years ago. Another good deed done by a good District Councillor. Here (above) is my picture of the notice board.

It didn't take long, even in inclement weather - spitting rain and a 'lazy wind' (one that goes through you instead of round you) - for me to realise that Landbeach is another of our charming Cambridgeshire villages. Take a look at my picture of All Saints' Church with the super show of daffodils in front of the village pound - another splendid feature.

Of course, not all is as it appears behind the charming fa├žade and I heard a tragic tale from one person regarding family problems and how things can so easily go amiss. I promised the person that, if elected, I would take up the case with the authorities. There are some in this country who carry on a bit about 'the dependency culture.' Well, all I will say is this: it is all to easy to attribute peoples' problems to their fecklessness or their vices or their stupidity, but sometimes, just sometimes, things go wrong because of just one lapse of behaviour of judgement. When that happens, there needs to be someone or some body to be ready with a helping hand. It's not exactly like the parable of the Good Samaritan who didn't pass by on the other side. It's more a case of society as a whole, through its various agencies, being available to assist at a time of real need and/or real trouble. There were times when the old village people turned to the squire or to the churches for assistance. We can't resurrect those imperfect times but we can ensure that the fallen are given a helping hand or a leg up. We must continue to ensure this, for these people are ours and some of them live in Cambridgeshire.

Here is Swaffham Prior's superb village sign.

In Swaffham Prior, Sue saw a gentleman who was kind enough to say that I was 'the only one [of the candidates] with any sense.' Aw, shucks!

Of course, Sue was on our home ground and it would be a poor old do if I didn't have substantial support in and on my home ground, where all (or most) of my good (and bad) points are known only too well. One can't live in an area for nearly 72 years without gaining a reputation, for good (or ill). I hope that it's the former in the minds of most of my fellow villagers.

I made a point of saying in my leaflet for Swaffham Prior that I know Swaffham Prior very well; that we have lived at Chapel Farm for 15 years; that I farmed here; that my Woollard and Witt relatives were here from around 1800; and that Sue's cousin, Mark Dobito (1753 - 1813), was the licensee of the Red Lion pub in the 1770s. My picture of the Lion shows cars outside, one being mine.

I would love to know what the scene was like when Mr Dobito was behind the bar. There were probably horses tied up to a post outside and no tarmac road nor white lines. I guess that there was a lot of real poverty then, too, and maybe too much drinking, which would have helped Mr Dobito but no-one else in the village.

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