I can understand people wanting to move to the region. It is, after all an area of natural beauty, with a great climate and a more relaxed rhythm than is found in the city. It seems that more and more people are looking for a slower pace of life.
The quest for peace and tranquility is understandable after the rat-race of the big city. However, it can have its dark side. For years there have been reports in the press of town-dwellers making fools of themselves after moving to the country and finding that it isn’t like Acacia Ave surrounded by fields. There are people who are not only surprised to discover that cocks really do crow early in the morning, but actually complain and try to put a stop to such ‘noise’. I heard a story about a couple in England, who complained about the cricket matches on the green in front of their newly purchased house. What did they think the big white screens and large painted circle were there for?
Due to the continuing influx of what are sometimes called foreigners, ie people who have arrived from places more than thirty kilometers away, I too have began to share such suspicions about newcomers. Let me say straight away that you can come from Mars for all I care. As long as you have an IQ above about 70 and don’t want to moan about the disadvantages of living in ‘La france profonde’ then come on in and have a nice cup of tea; but please, don’t try to drag the rest of us into the dystopia from whence you hail. You’re here to get away from all that.
A case in point is the unlikely story unfolding in Tornac, just up the road. An English resident Edward Elgar....... no really, got friendly with a local farmer, who let Mr E use some of his land for grazing his cattle. Cows quite often wear bells in the region, a custom going back centuries. A newcomer, I’m not sure where he’s from, (but would hazard a guess), has taken the Englishman to court, because he says that the sound of the cowbells are causing him: ‘exhaustion and anxiety.’ Having been to Paris recently, this is hardly surprising, as exhaustion and anxiety seems to have taken over from spasmophilia and heavy legs* as the newest must-have neurosis.
In recent years, I’ve heard more and more stories about asocial, stressed out people making absurd demands of the locals as soon as they arrive in a region, without the slightest regard for anyone apart from themselves. Anyone citing exhaustion and anxiety as a reason for changing a social order which has existed for centuries needs some serious therapy. It’s not the locals, it’s YOU.
If anyone has news of Mr Elgar’s case, please let me know. I’m rooting for you, Mr E, as bells and the avian chanson de matin are part of life. It’s just a pity that a life is exactly the thing which these people need to acquire.
* See my post: ‘Hi, my name’s Rob and I’m a hypochondriac.’