Country life is more than a butter brand, Liz

Sometimes, it’s good to laugh at other people’s pain. This story would be one of those times. A London divorcee (writing for the Mail, natch) moves to Exmoor, writes a book about how unpleasant / ugly / small-minded everyone is, then wonders why they’re being so perfectly horrible to her.

(OK, maybe filling her mailbox full of lead was a bit much, but hey, it was only your mailbox Liz, not your ass.)

The most interesting thing in Jones’ writing is the subtext – the “assumed knowledge” Jones so obviously thinks we share that she doesn’t even notice it as an issue. It’s in quotes like these:

“…if they do drive me out of the area, lots of people I employ will be made redundant.”

“…while in my newsagent’s buying my usual £20-plus bottle of wine, I overheard a group of women gossiping.”

“…not one person has invited me round for tea, or even come to say hello….Is it insularity, boredom or fear that makes them treat me so?”

“I don’t join in, apparently – I suppose attending the graduate show of a Dulverton fashion designer doesn’t count…Nor does opening a horse show at nearby Knightshayes, when I donated a day with me at London Fashion Week and lunch at the Ivy as first prize in the raffle”

It’s there in every quote. I spend lots of money on wine… I employ local labour… I’m bringing London fashions and restaurant awareness out to sleepy Somerset! I’m really important, why don’t you like me?

There’s not even the slightest conception that her concerns and interests – fashion weeks, lunch at the Ivy – might not actually mean that much to the locals.

I’m a true Londoner these days but I grew up in about the most bucolic setting imaginable, and can see the good points of both choices. Ms Jones, the problem here is You. Not the dentally challenged locals, not the teacup-less neighbours, not the educationally subnormal shelf-stackers. (Great heavens above! People with learning difficulties actually working for a living? Whatever next?) It’s You. Nobody else. Just You.

By the way, Liz: when you replace your mailbox, look for a design that’s a little more… countrified. Leave the stainless steel things for Shoreditch, okay?

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