The Tolpuddle Martyrs and Marie Antoinette
A couple of sublime moments plus a trip to rural West Dorset
Amid all the disappointments and upsets that life has to offer there are fleeting moments when things can feel pretty perfect.
For example in 2002, on holiday in a remote town in the Masurian lakes, I came across a European Union roadshow touring Poland in a bid to persuade people of the merits of EU membership. The lyric blaring out of its loudspeaker system was ‘Oh I’m wicked and I’m lazy’. It may have been the language barrier, but the vote was a resounding 'yes'.
Food for thought for David Cameron if being cuddly doesn’t pay off…
Then there was the man so enraged, because I honked my horn after he cut me up, that he spat at me from three lanes away coating the inside of his passenger window. Wound up? He most certainly was!
I imagine the people of Fair Isle get a similar lift from the disappearance of the darkness of winter and arrival of Spring. And it’s that topic that Malachy Tallack turns to in his latest blog. Living that far north a bit of sunshine does wonders for the spirits – even if the joy is shortlived…
Simon Munnery meanwhile gives his tips for a perfect holiday. For example he suggests getting your house burgled in advance because it saves the worry of it happening when you’re away.
Talking of which I hope you all had a happy Easter. Personally I headed to an idyllic corner of Dorset with my spouse for a bit of much needed country air and some pretty decent pub dinners.
It strikes me that this county offers pretty much all you could wish for in terms of scenery, eye-catching coastline and pleasant diversions.
It was also the setting for much of Thomas Hardy's writing and home, of course, to the Tolpuddle Martyrs – framed and transported for starting a union in reaction to the appalling wages they and other agricultural workers earned in the 1830s.
You know the balance has tipped in the wrong direction when more or less every nice house in the prettier villages has a BMW or Mercedes on its drive bought at a London garage. How can local people now afford homes?
For some reason I was reminded of Marie-Antoinette. She had a fake village in the grounds of Versaille where she could divert herself by playing at rural life for a few hours at a time.
Still, must have done her good because, as we all know, she lived to a ripe old age dying secure in the knowledge that she had contributed greatly to the rural economy…
Or did she?