Sunday, September 20

A different place and time

Sunday lunch featured a slab of venison that could have graced the table of King John, the retailer not so much a Robin Hood as the tailgate of a pick-up. Deer meat is much underrated, though they tell me it is growing in popularity. Later, in an effort to walk off the meal, I set out across the moor. Parties of young women were out for the day from schools their minibuses advertised as ‘Boarding or Day.’ I must admit we are of a sort in this part of the world. In the nine years I’ve lived here I can’t recall a single black face wearing hiking boots, riding a horse or mountain bike, or paddling a kayak. Occasionally there’s a Bob Marley tribute band playing at one of the bars in town but that’s as far as it goes. I often contrast our mono-cultural environment with those early days in London. When I first arrived in the 70s my billet was a flea pit on the border of Lewisham and New Cross. During that first week it appeared I was the only white guy on the street. It was only when visiting the local pub other palefaces appeared, every one of which was Irish. Customers either drank dark rum or whiskey. As the flea pit absorbed the lion’s share of my wages I nursed half-pints of beer in much the same way young mothers now while away mornings in Starbucks with a single low-fat latte. Grim days…and then Margaret Thatcher made her entrance.

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