Top Tips for moving to the Country

This article appeared as a blog recently about a village in Oxfordshire and should raise a wry smile among those with a sense of humour! For the full article (and some hilarious comments afterwards) click the link here

These days many wealthy city folk are moving to the country. Fair play and good luck.

However, it is an unfortunate fact that many find it hard to assimilate. One of the major reasons for this is the actual countryside is a place where people live and work, not the large leisure park most city people have experienced thus far. Thus the reality is not always what our new neighbours expected to find and, often, they don’t like it as much as they thought they would.

In the spirit of public service, then, here is your handy print-out-and-keep guide to a comfortable new life in the sticks.

  1. The Roads: They are covered in crap. This is a function of drainage ditches being full, of animals on the roads and of large agricultural machinery dropping muck everywhere. This is fine. It is not “a matter for the Parish Council”.
  2. The Parish Council: This will usually be made up of folk who’ve lived in the village for years and also some newer blood. That’s a good thing. It is not a replacement for your Kensington bridge club, or meeting your girlfriends in Harrods, and there is no need for you to join it and try to change everything in order to fill your long afternoons. Unbelievably, we’ve managed so far without you for more than 500 years!.
  3. The Village Pub: A fine and wonderful place which is to be treasured and used. The best thing about it is it’s a real leveller – doesn’t matter who you are, you’ll be judged on how you treat others and nothing else. If you’ve got anything about you, you’ll come to love this about it above all else. On which note, then, please don’t come in and grumble about dogs running around, or about the fact you can’t get St Tropez scallops fried in yak’s butter at 4.30pm or that they may not be able to make you a Brandy Alexander. Also, best not to only come in twice a year, the second occasion being Christmas when you address the landlord like an old friend and loudly call him by his Christian name to impress your friends visiting from Hampstead.
  4. Animals: There are loads, and we kill and eat quite a lot of them. Many are quite noisy, especially cockerels. This is also not “a matter for the Parish Council”. Equally, some are a problem and will be killed by your fellow inhabitants from time to time; others will be killed by each other or by cars. There is not a “little man” who comes along to pick them up. Just drive around them.  Finally on this one, please don’t feed the foxes. They’re not “cute” and they kill all our chickens. This makes us all quite angry.
  5. Your New Dog: Obviously you will have bought a pedigree mutt to go with your new house. Enjoy. However, it’s worth taking the time and making the effort to train it properly so it doesn’t chase sheep or deer, or dive in to areas of nesting pheasants. In the north of the country somebody is likely to shoot it for chasing the former, in the south for chasing or doing the latter. Despite having a Kennel Club name longer than most people’s address, your dog will still be turned inside out by a hand-loaded .243 cartridge. If it’s a gun dog and you intend to work it there’s no need to pay someone £3000 to train it for you. Ours are all rubbish too.
  6. Your New Gun and Togs: Over the years you’ve enjoyed a bit of corporate shooting, and good for you. However, you now have a bit of an issue. Your £18,000 English side-by-side and the £7,000 worth of kit you bought from William Evans on St James’s mean you really need to be able to hit a cow’s arse (NB: cow – large bovine animal found in fields and, occasionally, running down the road for no obvious reason) with a banjo.  Actually nobody cares if you’re rubbish, so long as you can laugh at yourself and take a bit of ribbing, so pop the expensive stuff away and go and buy a working gun whilst you get your eye in.
  7. Your Trousers: Those yellow or blue cords from Oliver Brown on Sloane Street don’t make you look like landed gentry, they make you look like a derivatives trader on a long weekend away. Just don’t.
  8. Your New Community: A village is just like a city, only smaller and therefore more intimate. That means it’s made up of people from all sorts of backgrounds. This is a good thing. If you take the time to get to know them you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the breadth of experiences and knowledge. Lamenting loudly that nobody you now know has been to  see the Chuck Close at Tate Modern is not the best way to achieve this. Nor is making rude assumptions about them and living behind your closed front door all week until the next set of visitors from London arrive for the weekend. You’re missing the best bit of being here, the people.
  9. Your Nickname: Everyone in the village will have a nickname. Most are well meant, if a little brusque. When you discover yours is “Honking Giles” don’t move house, it’s a sign of acceptance. It’s the people without one who need to worry.
  10. Finally: None of the above points apply to villages like the one illustrated here (in Oxfordshire) where the TTP (Twat Tipping Point) has already been reached.  Most of these are in the Cotswolds and are now, basically, London-in-the-Dale. Here you can behave like as much of a narrow-minded, braying bell-end as you like and you’ll receive a warm welcome from your fellow pillocks, and Kate Moss. If points 1-9 above alarm you, this is your solution; if not, we’d love to see you in the actual countryside.

Monxton Parish Council Agenda and Presentation from the Meeting of the 20/11/13

MPC Meeting Agenda Presentation 20-11-13

Monxton Parish Council meeting was held at the village hall at 7.30pm on the 20th November and the attached presentation formed the basis of the items discuss by the Council.

If you have any comments on the content please respond to this post.

The minutes of the meeting will be published early next week.

Monxton Parish Council

Alpine Group Manor Farm Potential Development & Move

Monxton PC recently arranged a meeting between TVBC Planning and a company called Corporate Property Solutions, who have been appointed by Alpine Group to address two planning challenges – one to obtain outline planning permission for a development of a limited number of acceptable properties at the Manor Farm site, situated between Monxton and Abbotts Ann, and secondly to find a suitable location for a new factory for the steel fabrication business at the site.

Corporate Property Solutions have been having difficulty obtaining any interest from any builders due their scepticism regarding the potential of getting planning permission at this site and they had therefore requested a meeting with TVBC to obtain their views on the likelihood of permission being granted. MPC and APC have already provided written confirmation that they would support a sympathetic development of a limited number of mixed units.

The meeting was held at TVBC office on the 8/11/13 with Paul Jackson, the Head of Planning at TVBC, who confirmed that the application was supported by TVBC in principle, due to the representations of Monxton and Abbotts Ann. He would also be happy to write to Corporate Property Solutions to confirm TVBC’s support, so that the various potential building firms who are nervous about committing money to a project would be re-assured and would have a level of confirmation that the various councils would NOT object to a reasonable development balancing the number of units with the cash generation required to cover the migration of the Alpine business to a new site.

Villagers should be re-assured that this in effect gives Monxton and Abbotts Ann Parish Councils a significant role in determining the future development on the site, in collaboration with TVBC and we are also supported by HCC Pat West and TVBC Ward Councillor Ben Few Brown.

Village Green Clear Up

Monxton Parish Council announces a Village Green clean up project to remove the green waste and dead trees at the corner of the village green. The intention is to open up the area to provide additional river side space and the stop the green waste being dumped.

The dates for the clean up which may take either a lot of volunteers or several weekends are as follows:
Saturday: 26th October 9.30 -13.00
Sunday: 27th October 9.30 -13.00
Saturday: 2nd November 9.30 -13.00
Sunday: 3rd November 9.30 -13.00
Saturday 10th November 09.30-13.00

Please indicate your preference and we will then finalise the dates and announce them. We do not anticipate it taking all five dates (hopefully).

We will need teams of no more than 8 people with garden tools including forks, shovels, strimmers, hedge trimmers, loppers and one chain saw in the first group. In addition we will need green bags to take away the green waste and someone with a pickup or towed trailer please.

The overgrown scrub and pile of grass cuttings/leaves to be cleared

The overgrown scrub and pile of grass cuttings/leaves to be cleared

The pile of grass cuttings and leaves

The pile of grass cuttings and leaves

The pictures show the current state of the site.

Neighbourhood Watch Alert September

Since my last communication I am pleased to report that the level of crime locally has been low with reported incidents mainly non-dwelling. There are still areas, however, where the Police advise continuing vigilance:

Supermarket Distraction Scam

Police are investigating a series of incidents where shoppers have been duped in shopping centre car parks by people asking for directions and showing a map. One such incident at Tesco, River Way, was featured on local television news. Hampshire Constabulary have released CCTV footage of such a scam that shows how the offender distracts the shopper to allow an accomplice to enter the victim’s vehicle and steal from their handbag. The stolen cards are then used to withdraw money or buy high value items, often before the victim has even realised their personal property has been taken. The link to the CCTV footage is:

Police tips to keep your belongings safe when you are out shopping:

  • Never leave your bag on the trolley unattended and always ensure your bag is zipped up;
  • When putting shopping away in the boot always ensure your handbag/wallet is with you;
  • If you are distracted for even a moment whilst putting shopping away – keep handbags with you or lock them in the vehicle before speaking to / helping anyone;
  • If asked for directions or to look at maps – ensure you lock personal items in the vehicle first;
  • When filling up with fuel, lock your vehicle when re-fuelling and when you go to pay;
  • If you are approached by anyone suspicious, report it to the police as soon as possible.

Cold Calling

This covers both telephone and doorstep activities. I received a call from a Monxton resident a few days ago, they had been telephoned by someone apparently selling (of all things) nuisance call protection. The caller quoted the first four digits of the person’s credit card and asked them to confirm the remaining eight. Sensibly the person declined to do this, called me and I advised them to call 101 and report it. What they did not know is that the first four digits of any card number are unique to the issuer (e.g. Barclaycard Lloyds etc.) and card type (debit, credit, gold, platinum etc.) and are identical for all similar cards, so it does not take many guesses to come up with the right number.

Never give bank, card, or personal details over the phone or on line unless you are sure to whom you are talking – and this usually means that you have called them. Banks and Building Societies never ask you for such information.

The Police have also received information about phone canvassing informing residents of sales operatives calling in their vicinity giving advice on home security. The canvasser is allegedly indicating that the sales team are ‘approved’ by Police. There is no knowledge of any such approved campaign in our area.

Be on your guard against strangers. It is difficult to tell whether the person is genuine, a rogue trader offering repairs or improvements, or a bogus caller trying to get into your home.

You are under no obligation to allow anyone to enter your home and can refuse access. The Police advise you to say ‘No’ to all doorstep cold callers. You should never allow anyone access to your home without valid identification. Legitimate callers will not mind being challenged and will expect you to ask them for identification.

Bollard Styles

Below are the various bollard styles that are suitable for village conservation areas, along with the dimensions. Please vote for your favoured style. Voting closes on 6 August 2013.

All bollards are durable hardwood and harmonise well with natural environments. The Ashdown & Epping ranges of bollards are extremely strong and have a good fire resistance, and are made from strong hardwoods such as greenheart, wallabe or opepe. The Garrick bollards are made from oak. Although more choices were shown at the EGM, only the bollards that are between 800-1000mm high are shown, as this height was recommended for protection against HGVs.
Click on the photos for a larger image

Garrick bollard (800mm high)

Garrick bollard (800mm high)

Epping square bollard with groove (800mm high)

Epping square bollard with groove (800mm high)

Epping square bollard (800mm high)

Epping square bollard (800mm high)







Epping square bollard (800mm high)

Epping square bollard with groove & reflective tape (800mm high)


Ashdown circular bollard with groove (800mm high)

Ashdown circular bollard with groove (800mm high)

Ashdown Circular Bollard with groove (1000mm high)

Ashdown Circular Bollard with groove (1000mm high)