Monday, September 12, 2011


I have lived in Devon for 22 years and I am still, and probably always will be, regarded as an "incomer."  I have spent many hundreds of pounds in the local grocery store but have not yet received even a hint of recognition by the owner, who is likely to keep me waiting for ten minutes while he chats to real villagers. I don't worry about it, I know that things  could be much worse: I could be treated like a grockle! A grockle is a holiday maker, someone to be overcharged for goods and sent in completely the wrong direction when lost.

Some recent events, though, have made me a little more sympathetic to local attitudes. A few weeks ago,  a certain Mr Copp, on holiday with his family, went for a walk around the small harbour in Ilfracombe.
It is quite a pretty place and it is always interesting to see the fishing boats landing their catch or preparing to sail. Unfortunately, Mr Copp did not find it to his taste.. In fact, he was so incensed at seeing crates of dead fish waiting to be loaded onto a fishing boat to be used as bait  that he went to complain to the Harbour Master.  According to Mr Copp, his children had been left quite distressed by the ordeal. Somehow the harbourmaster managed not to laugh as he explained to Mr Copp that this was a working harbour and that the sight and smell of fish was quite commonplace on the quay.

Mr Copp was not to be placated. He contacted our local newspaper:  "It's not the sort of thing you want to see on holiday, he said. "My children were quite distressed. These people should be a bit more considerate to the holidaymakers."

The people of Ilfracombe and around are still laughing at the goings on of "thikky grockle".  The outcome of another incident a few years ago was not so amusing. A townie moved into a village and objected to being woken early in the morning by a neighbour's cock crowing. He took the matter to court and a judge (another townie?) found in his favour and granted an injunction against the poor owner of the cock  to keep it quiet until after 7am every morning and to pay £5000 in costs.

 I'm thinking of buying a house alongside Heathrow airport and then suing the aviation authorities for disturbing my peace!


  1. m. don't even get me started about the trend of the many, if not the most, being irritated beyond endurance by the few, if not the single, individual.

  2. e, that sounds both profoundly philosophical and poetic!

  3. m. in your spare time, would you mind embroidering that on a sampler I could hang over the mantle. My favorite color combination is white/cream/ecru with a splash of cocoa. :-}

  4. I could manage the splash of cocoa,e!

  5. Maureen, I love the post and sympathize with the villagers. This put me in mind of what we often have to put up with at the farm. The parent chaperones will often fuss at us - "It's too muddy here". "It smells!" "There are BUGS". "You didn't tell me there would be ANIMALS!" "It's too hot". "It's too cold". "It's too rainy". "It's too smokey". It's a working farm, for pete's sake!! I even had one mother refuse to let her daughter make a candle--"too dangerous". God help us if all our modern conveniences ever disappear.

  6. P.S. Could you visit me at the Acorn? I need some advice. I remember you mentioning about your starter in a pickle jar.

  7. Jodi

    People never cease to amaze!

    I'm sorry about your sourdough and hope you have better luck next time.


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