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Village people, this is your town

Village people, this is your town

We need to talk about something that’s been bothering me. Apparently, within our humble town, we have a village. Its exact boundaries are unclear (I’m waiting for a call back from the Ordnance Survey), but it appears to be the bit of Maple Road between Gordon Bennett! and The Grove pub. It’s a small village,

We need to talk about something that’s been bothering me. Apparently, within our humble town, we have a village. Its exact boundaries are unclear (I’m waiting for a call back from the Ordnance Survey), but it appears to be the bit of Maple Road between Gordon Bennett! and The Grove pub. It’s a small village, as villages go, but apparently a village nonetheless.
It’s just not though, is it? There is clearly a trend for calling pretty bits of towns ‘villages’, and I blame a savvy estate agent from Wimbledon who realised they needed to let rich people know that the area on top of the hill was more desirable than the slightly frayed-round-the-edges Wimbledon proper.
Now, I accept Wimbledon Village. At least it’s a separate entity from the rest of the town. It has a more or less defined boundary, and stables, which scores at least 18 village points. Cheam Village? Yes, I’ll take that: a definable, fairly wide boundary, albeit centred round a busy crossroads, and lots of shops and restaurants, some mock Tudor – at least 10 village points.
But to call a stretch of road a ‘village’ is being frankly profligate with the truth, even whimsical with geographical classification. What makes it a village? Its prettiness? The fact that the shops occasionally put up bunting? I’m sorry, that doesn’t wash. If we’re going to call it a village, it needs to do better. At the very least we need a ‘Please drive slowly through our village’ sign by The Grove, and a ‘Thank you for driving slowly through our village’ sign 200 metres on, by Gordon Bennett! Maybe we could shove in a cattle grid outside Maple Infants? Yes, this could cause problems, but plucking small children from grids could become an eccentric village sport, like cheese-rolling or bog snorkelling.
Perhaps we could grab an armful of geese from the Thames, and let them roam free outside the French Table, which could seize the opportunity to offer ‘pavement-to-plate’ dishes.
Or we could chain a cow to a tree, so ruddy-faced ‘villagers’ can stroll out in the morning to get milk for their lattes. Except that won’t work, because humans haven’t yet invented a cow that gives skinny-soya-almond-mountain-dew milk, which I gather is popular in the area.
So unless we can come up with something more than a monthly farmers’ market, pictured (granted, pretty villagey), can we stop calling it a village?

Becky Mayhew
Becky Mayhew
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