Monday, 10 November 2008

The Magic Kingdom

Before the weather broke on the weekend we got around to venturing into the local town. Its a strange place, one high street containing weird shops aimed to cater for the needs of locals and tastes of tourists. Hence old fashioned grocers and game merchants sit alongside curiously decorated emporiums displaying everything from hand made chocolates, silk scarves and the strangest sculptures fashioned from broken pieces of painted driftwood. What relevance they have in a landlocked province like ours or why anyone would part with their hard earned cash for one is beyond me.

Each to his or her own however and each time we go into town we do make some interesting discoveries, like a book shop selling the latest "How to..." guide, a must for any wanna be smallholder, a toy shop that's really a sweetshop that's really a cafe, a junk shop which doubles as a tattoo parlour (I've no idea how or why the two are linked, and there are some strange tattooed people wandering these hills)and a newsagent pet shop odd job man at your service shop. So diverse are some of the boutiques I am convinced that the gentleman's outfitters will be staffed by a chap in a fez and should you try on the latest tweeds offered for sale as you leave the fitting room you better be prepared for an adventure a la Mr Ben!

On this latest sojourn to civilisation, as is usual we found a shop that we had not seen before, despite having walked past it dozens of times we had failed to notice the pretty green blinds and canopies with smart gold lettering of the totally organic delicatessen hardware store. Here you can get everything from half a pound of six inch nails to 200 grammes of the finest spices the world has to offer. So convinced were we that this was a new shop we argued our case whilst sampling some goats cheddar and testing the ergonomics of the latest belt sander.

The very nice and exceedingly patient lady serving us was gracious in her dismissal of our views and pointed to the established 1907 label on the probably original packing case containing brown paper bags to wrap our purchases.

It was also whilst in this fantastic newly discovered old shop that I realised how much of a liar smallholding has turned me into. The goats cheddar was exceptional, and as we discussed its merits, alongside pondering the benefits of round or oval headed nails the nice lady asked if we had goats.

Why yes we have, two in fact.

Will we be making cheese?

Plan too.

More sampling and she totted up our bill for spices, cheese and a selection of rough and smooth sandpapers.

A voice from behind, we had created a queue, I used to keep goats, they're great aren't they? A nice old lady was speaking her mind.

I paused, thinking about the time one got on the cottage roof and put a hole in it, the dents on our car roof, or the dents on our friends car roofs caused by goats, the damage to the garden, the almost daily predicaments they find themselves in and the chaos they create in their wake, before finally answering.

Yes they are fantastic aren't they.

We left before any truth got in the way of their reality.

Views of our hill taken from Steve the electricians place. A different point of view. The top picture is taken about a third of the way up our lane looking down on The Oracles house, the colours of Worzel Wood and Stanner Rocks beyond are stunning. And then it rained!

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