Lost Withiel

It’s a nice day.  

No particular place to go so I thought I’d head down the river Fowey  to see how far I could get.    Just for the hell of it.  Well its sunny although they reckon it might rain later.

I’ve done Lost Withiel and found it full of middle class antique shops and fancy goods outlets selling cutey pink crap to the tourists.   There are, however, some nice little cafes and pubs and a newsagent cum post office selling veg and stuff and this lot together evoke a sort of sense of community and you can tell from their chatter that the people actually know each other.  

Last night I found the river and what endeared me to it most was that there were kids splashing about in it, swimming and swinging over it and generally having a ball.  That was up by the old packhorse  bridge,  charming, ancient and full of character but still, today, doing the job for which it was intended but aesthetically pleasing too. Nearby, there’s a green and lots of signs saying there is a no tolerance attitude to drugs and booze which is hard to believe as you wander around in the daylight.  

But  it seems the modern world has crept in here despite the antiquarian look of the place.  Right by the station, all the old goods storage sheds have been converted into flats and apartments and second homes so here’s the giveaway…….no jobs here, so the only ones who can afford the good life and the second homes are the rich Londoners who come down for the weekend or let them out.  No justice here then.

Anyway that’s when I meet Suzie.  Not last night but now as I head for my river walk.

She’s sitting on the river wall and is dressed in a brilliant yellow garment which is so bright I can’t identify what it is until I’m about 5 yards away.  O.K. now I see it’s a yellow dress with either embroidered or tie-dyed squiggles of red on it.  It’s really blinding.  I have to reassess because, from a distance I had her down as a blue rinse holiday flat owner fagging it with a sherry on the wall.  When I get up close though the dress becomes a kaftan and what I thought was a blue rinse becomes a multi-colour hair-do.

She’s between 60 and 70 I guess. She’s smoking her fag and is not sure of me at all ……………. very defensive to start with as I ask directions.   After a while though she relaxes and it’s clear now she’s an ageing hippy.  She sits here every day on this wall trying to commune with her old man who died a year or so ago.  She lets bits out about herself as we chat.

No money…. sheltered  accommodation………. lonely……………. lost……………. Vulnerable.

She makes me laugh when I tell her where I’m staying.  She says she often wanders up there to use their swimming pool, pretending to be a resident.  She tells it like it is.  Goes on a bit about the kids, the drugs, the high rents, the poverty, the second homes and then comes the bit about what happened to her last week.

The delightful monarchy came down.   

Prince Eco Charles and the deathly Camilla in their lager lout Mercedes convertible with half a dozen security cop thugs on Harleys in a convoy down to the river. Parked up and left the chauffeur in the car with the engine running for 2 hours (oh well done Charlie boy.. so true to your class).  It seems he’s been required to open up the Duchy or some such nonsense.  Anyway, Suzie’s sitting in her usual place when 2 of these heavies come over.  

What’s your name?  

Where do you live?

What are you doing here?

What do you think of the Monarchy? In particular Prince Charles?

Well, Suzie’s dumbfounded of course she is.  She’s affronted, offended, frightened, intimidated, irritated, threatened, pissed off.. all of these things.  

She doesn’t want to say and why should she?

She defends herself…… says she’s not hurting anybody…. always comes here to commune with her late husband.  (Why should she have to tell them this?)

They won’t go.  

They won’t leave her.

They cajole and threaten her until eventually she has to give them her name and address or be arrested.  She’s nearly 70, a vulnerable elderly woman doing no harm, not looking for any trouble, easing her way through a pretty difficult period of her life only to be confronted by the monarchy and their apes with their money, their privilege, their class, their bullies and their power.

Coming down to open the Duchy.

And what gets your goat is the doting, nodding, obsequious attitude of the local officials here. You can see it in the shops and in the  museum with their preoccupation with their majestic rulers.

Maybe it’s fear, some of it . The rest brainwashing.

Just think of the damage they’ve done and will continue to do.

We would be so much better off without them.Yes literally.

We could share some of their wealth…. Lost Withiel to start with and maybe Suzie could afford a flat and maybe the local youngsters could get a house of their own.

So let’s reverse it eh?

What you doing here Charles?

Do you lot happen to have any Nazi leanings?

What are you doing stinking the place up with your loud car and your biker servants blocking up the road and choking up the atmosphere?

Do you like Suzie?

Where do you live eh?

How many bedrooms?