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Room to move


Late in life I have come to conclusions I really should have reached long ago. That’s very late in life – well, who knows? All I know for sure is thattime’s wingèd chariot’ grows more audible by the day.
Anyway, one of the beneficial side-effects of having ‘fall’n into the sear, the yellow leaf’ has to be Lessons Learnt. Those kind of lessons – you know, difficult ones. The ones upon which I, having committed nearly every error possible to a person of probity and intelligence, am now an expert – albeit self-appointed (is there another kind?).  Because with relocation in the offing, I need to make all the right moves I can.  This’ll be the tenth removal in nine years. So I fondly hope it may be the last, and am trying to facilitate matters by investigating other people’s experiences. I am mining the collective for its wisdom. As it were (even the most cursory shufti at the collective’s track record for sagacity tends to induce nothing but hysteria). In practice, this includes looking around with varying levels of interest – and the odd rude snort –  to observe what other people are getting away with doing.
Thus, the events at a certain location in my native land are proving as compelling and controversial to me as they clearly are to many of my countrymen – and the UN, no less (but we may safely ignore them. After all, we have done so before – and recently, at that).
I note with keen interest that Human Rights legislation is being invoked, and have accordingly looked that up. Well … coogoshlumme, but it could apply to me, me being human and all. Couldn’t it? If rights can only be rights if they are indivisible, it must therefore my right, too, to have a home. To have quiet enjoyment of same (ooh, I wish!). And to have my eccentricities and anti-social inclinations culture tolerated, enabling me to get on with life in my customary unobtrusive manner.
Now, if returning to my native land is an option (it may be), I might be able to settle happily in a tranquil spot.  Tranquility is my main obsession: daytime disturbances combined with sleep-deprivation do not a happy bunny make.  What I require is somewhere remote, but not too remote from civilisation, surrounded by woodland, green fields and the usual flora and fauna. And near water, although not at risk from floods and other waterborne nuisances.
But how to achieve this return to normality (yes, truly: it is no accident that I owned a hard-won home in precisely such a location before disaster began a series of strikes)? First get back there and find a suitable greenbelt site. Then persuade the owner to flog it to me for a knock-down sum. Next I build my ‘willow cabin’ or dwelling of choice. Once the desres has been completed, I apply for retrospective planning permission. Which will be granted. Because otherwise there will be … ructions, with or – preferably – without blinkered bandwagon-hoppers or hypocritical thespians.
Here, fellow subjects/citizens, are my demands: a portion of a field close to woodland (where I can fossick for fuel); a habitable gaff, sustainably constructed; a herb/veggie plot so I may resume slaughtering cultivating same after years in the concrete wilderness; ample statutory benefits so that I may fulfill my basic needs and fully enjoy my culture – so such items as rail-pass, free opera/theatre/exhibition tickets must be included in the package, together with a subsidy to cover the expenses of a cat from a rescue shelter (a pony would be nice; but I am not going to push my luck. Not in the early stages. Later on? Well, I just might …).
I would expect my neighbours to make some – minimal, of course, harhar! – sacrifices in order to ensure that my needs are met: an infinitesimally small price for them to pay for the undoubted and incalculable delights and educational opportunities provided by my presence in their midst. And they should be aware that any criticisms of the predilections forming my cultural hinterland will be dealt with severely. To the extent that the merest smidgeon of a sneer at my devotion to Shakespeare/Finzi/Paul Nash/the Epsom Derby or my approval of high church ritual/gay clergy/women bishops or for that matter any mockery of ‘cut glass’ tones will constitute a hate crime – you have been warned!
In return, I would not be over-using the health service – at least I would certainly do my best to avoid it by preventive means. I would be volunteering as usual, in the hope that some of my skills could be usefully deployed. I would not be using the schools. Nor the roads; not too much, for I would do what I’ve been used to doing for more than 30 years: I’d get on my bike.
And I would continue, as ever, to pay my taxes.

Goodrich Castle copyright Michael Eccles (commons Wiki)

Home – a fixed abode of exactly the kind I want, where I want and at the lowest possible cost: what a lovely thought!
Not going to happen though, is it?
When’s the next chariot due for take-off?

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