Monday, 12 January 2015

Real English Village Movers and Shakers

I am one of the contributors to a Lifestyle Magazine called LoveaHappyEnding and, if you follow me on Twitter, you will doubtless have come across it!

This year, off to a bright new start, I shall be offering some insights into the English Village, talking to key people who, in this day and age, really do put the life into ‘village life’.  A community-based lifestyle is something to which many people aspire, that friendly, interconnected feel-good factor, but how often is it found?
Historically, villagers had to maintain a communal outlook for successful management of the land – the main source of their livelihood. It was life itself. In common field agriculture, for example, villages had to agree on which field would be left fallow and folk needed to respect each other’s boundaries, with animals kept within agreed limits.
A mediaeval village was not just a collection of houses; it was a living, breathing community, regulated by the court of the manor, where the ‘lord’ would assert his rights. Times of serfdom, bondsmen or freemen are long gone, thankfully!

Skipping a few centuries, what then holds a village together today? Even in the last 50 or 100 years villages have radically changed with locals being outpriced by ‘second-homers’ and outsiders with money wanting a place in the country. Where you live is often not where you work, unless you  earn a living online or as a self-employed artisan of some kind. Then there is the decline of church congregations, once a cohesive force; mechanisation of agriculture; closure of village-schools and the younger generation moving out to towns and cities for excitement and employment, leaving behind an ageing population, whether locals or retired newcomers.
The cliché now is that, even in a village, neighbours may not know or even recognise each other. On the positive side, I will be looking at village people who prove to be the modern lynchpins of ‘village life’, an idyll that many of us cling to or yearn for. Perhaps you are one of those movers and shakers!
Look out for the first of these on the 25 January in the LoveaHappyEnding Lifestyle Magazine
Who will be the first village person to swing into action?