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Welcome to Little England Where I Ride The Highest of Horses!

I think that's a suitably pretentious title. Also note, this is (and not for the first time) the pettiest and shrillest of rants you are likely to ever hear from me. Enjoy.

So I take a walk usually two or sometimes three times a day. I follow the same route which takes me across the local cricket pitch. Technically this field is privately owned, though I don't respect those rights. Why: because I don't agree that the earth should be subject to private property rights and because these are communal resources. That's not an invitation to vandalism or neglect of course.

I walk across the middle of the pitch and someone shouts at me. I can't hear him, which no doubt provokes him. Apparently he's 'scarified' that part of the field, despite it looking like a muddy puddle with no fence, signage or obvious indication of groundwork. Had that been the case I'd have avoided it, it's not an imposition to do so.

What then ensues is a ridiculous argument that, in my opinion, betrays the attitude of the Little Englander and his 'my home is my castle' mentality, so prevalent hereabouts. I think it's a fascinating insight into the mind of Middle England, carefully disguised as a petty article on a cheap blog :D

So I have no idea what he's talking about, though I later discover, after his passive aggressiveness gets turned all the way to 11, it's seeding new grass. There's no indication of this at all, they couldn't be bothered to put up a sign saying 'mind the square', which would have taken five minutes to do.

This is all red rag to me, stupidly of course. All he had to do was walk over respectfully and politely warn me off explaining what was happening. That would have been fine, I've no desire to cause a problem. So I'm on the square at this point and he's getting angry because he couldn't say prior to me entering the forbidden zone to mind where I was walking. This is after he repeatedly flounces off, waving his arm at me muttering 'forget about it'. Stupidly (more) I keep pushing him on this. Why: because I know what these people are like. This is the local recreation club/sports club people and they swan around like they own the place.

This is the Little England: it's where these long standing cliques assert their authority. My problem with him wasn't that I was doing something I shouldn't, it's that he assumes that I should know this, and, that my response isn't a grovelling forelock tugging apology to the local village godfathers, I'm in the wrong immediately. It doesn't seem to cross his mind that all he had to do was walk over politely and ask me to watch where I was walking. No problems mate.

Instead he points out that I've walked into the forbidden zone as if I've deliberately set out to vandalise this sacred space - and believe me that's how these people behave: it's their land and woe betide anyone else who dares use it. There's a sign on the fence at the edge warning people to keep their dogs on leads. Nobody does, including members of this group. This is their world and what they say goes; recently they held a referendum which successfully granted them permission to build a massive new clubhouse right onto the adjacent recreation field. The result of this will be to impede the view across the entire field (which is something I consider important), and deny a huge chunk of it to the community at large. Regardless of legal rights, these fields are enjoyed by lots of people.

The most telling statement though was him pointing out that he's seen me do this many times before, which is true: I always walk across that part of the field (unless it is obviously being worked on or fenced off). So he's had ample opportunity to speak to me to make sure there isn't a problem. Why then hasn't he? Does he not care? No, what he expects is for me to say how high when the village mafia demand that I jump.

I point out his attitude is terrible, my dander is up at this point. Not a terribly productive way to behave, but I feel like I'm being held hostage by his passive aggressive attitude. He does that think where he walks right up close and then waves his arm and walks off saying 'forget it', as if to say "you're a moron". Nope, I just expect a bit more respect from people demanding the same of me, especially without precedent. If you can't signpost your intentions to work on the field, I can't divine them.

He ends by saying "fucking asshole" (I'm sure I'm that, for all sorts of reasons!) but not before informing me, right in my face, that he was a local copper for 26 years. So what? Is he going to use the police powers he no longer has to arrest me for a crime that hasn't been committed?

Why is all this relevant? Because it shows how these people think: they expect you to comply to their rules in the community they perceive to be theirs. Rules you don't know that would be upheld as 'common sense', because that's how people think these days. Common sense is appealed to and invoked all the time by those who struggle against the ghost of political correctness and the Daily Mail infused spectre of "health and safety gorn maaaaaad!". When you fail to comply to the village mafia a blunt and boorish appeal to authority is issued, no matter how crass or irrelevant. What the fuck do I care you were a policeman; this isn't a legal matter and you ain't no copper anymore!

This is the ugly face of Little England. This is their fiefdom, carved from linseed and willow, cricket stumps and cucumber sandwiches. A world where local cliques run rackets around everyone else because that's the tradition. Now I look forward to an afternoon of swearing little league soccer players in the field nearby kicking the ball at my window without a care. Pip pip!

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