Sunday, 28 May 2017
Dunmow Charity Shops
I took it into my head to visit the upper classes yesterday so off I went on the working class bus to an area more Conservative Party than our own. You can tell the political leanings easily here, outside many million pound houses, and one or two worth slightly less than that, stood blue boards featuring a tree logo with the word 'Conservative' brandished upon it. This I found somewhat ironic as a very large such board in a field on the edge of Felsted which we passed bore one such tree image and developers passing by would be only too willing to cut down all such trees and fill said field with million pound houses called 'The Meadow,' or 'Three Trees,' or 'Where are the Trees' or the like.
The charity shops in a town of middle class wealth therefore ought to offer a higher standard of left overs and this indeed is the case here. However my trawl through the shops failed to find anything I actually wished to spend money on bar a few original birthday cards although there were masses of items my sense of greed took a fancy to. Foolishly I browsed the bookshelves and came close to buying one tome worth £3:95 until I realised this was only Vol 1, the chance of finding Vol 2 being rather scarce I persuaded myself this was not a good idea.
The volunteers in the shops who I spoke to were friendly, efficient ladies who appeared happy at their work. This is not always the case in such shops, on too many occasions, caused by nervousness on inability to converse with anyone but the few you identify with, had left me with the impression such shops are run by menopausal women with a grudge against humanity. Actually I meet them elsewhere often also. If you are not happy don't be there I say but here in Oxfam the girls were cheerful. These ladies were a bright advert for the shop in my opinion just as they were last time I passed through yonks ago.
Dunmow grew from a mere Roman crossroads stopping place into a bustling market town in the Medieval times. Quite where the money comes from now I know not but there is plenty about, the houses outside the town begin at just over a million and while the cheap ones can be found, if you consider a quarter of a million cheap! How does the normal individual earn enough to get a mortgage for that amount today? Lawyers and other professionals possibly but you and I? One thing I note is that people who pay a couple of million for a big house with acres of room plus servants quarters always have an outside swimming pool. If you pay that much why not cover the thing in and use it all year round? I suppose it is less for swimming and more for entertaining purposes, sitting around the pool in the evening with wine and backstabbing among friends I suppose. One thing about such middle classes is the high divorce rate, money does not satisfy and some are rather too keen to share themselves out I reckon. Possibly I have just been reading the 'Telegraph' gossip columns again...?
However the vicar , the Rev Noel Mellish VC. MC. did not have a swimming pool at his town centre abode, he however did have a Victoria Cross awarded for rescuing wounded men over a three day period. There is little doubt that had he not taken those few volunteers to do this work, returning under fire at first, then a great number of men would have died on those days, no-one else would have brought them in. Such a man ought to be remembered by his town folks, later he was the one who informed them from the pulpit that the Second World War had begun.
The rise in wealth hinders the bus however. With Mercedes, fancy sports cars and those big imitation Jeeps come tanks called 'Jasmine' or 'Jemima' by the female owners parked on one side and Mercedes, sports cars and Jeeps coming the other way, all considering the road belongs to them rather than the common peoples bus, the drivers winding their way through the traffic must have wished they were doing this after the Great War when the bus traffic first began.
Mr Hicks, a well known Essex name, ran a 'Charabanc' from Braintree to Bishops Stortford at that time. The 'Charabanc' was a simple bus, an uncovered row of seats with a driver at the front that revolutionised communication for the villages round the big towns. There was the rail link of course but you often had to walk a mile to connect with that and the bus now dropped you at or almost at your door. By 1952 there was no more rail link for passengers and the bus service, now with covered buses, improved greatly. Lorry deliveries also hastened development during the nineteen twenties, the ex-army lorries abounded and many ex-servicemen found this the only way to survive in that 'dog eat dog' Conservative led 'austerity' time.
Today the rise in cars numbers, these folks have more than one each, means that the bus now appears only every hour and there have been attempts to end this also by people who don't need it.
While I enjoyed by short bus trip in the Australian hot sunshine I had also begun the day at six in the morning by cycling slowly up the old railway line. How enjoyable that was as few were about and only an occasional mad barking 'Jack Russell' type were there to attack me. The few other dogs I saw were so happy you could see laughter on their faces as they ran past. What more can a dog ask than the chance to run free, note a variety of fragrances, the occasional squirrel to chase and a tit bit or two from the owner.
You may consider this a work of art by some famous unknown artist who has made millions from offering such works to those with too much money and too little taste but you would be mistaken. This is merely the pond at the far end of my ride where a solitary duck disappeared at my approach and was replaced by a million hovering beasties, the same type of beasties that hover in the shade of bushes in vast hordes awaiting passing cyclists who failing to avoid them end up swallowing the brutes via nose and mouth if great care is not taken. In this case the sun reflecting of the water hid the brutes. On occasion those who tarry here will see a collection of local insects buzzing around and a small board has been placed to indicate the general types found. I saw one Mallard duck and a thousand flies!
I thought little of charity shops while watching the sun glint of the leaves and warm the stubs of crops in the fields around me. Crops that have suffered too little rain for their good and while the sky has been dark, often damp, it has not yielded sufficient to please the farmers at the weathers mercy. I can hear Sainsburys increasing their prices 'because of shortages' already!'
However it is good to sit amongst green leaves and sunshine, in spite of the beasties that accompany you. Rabbits sit upright in the distance wary of your existence, Robins and Blackbirds that a moment before you appeared were happily chomping on such beasties as could be found on the ground disappear while the chaffinches in the trees no longer sing as they wonder just what you are up to. Still I like it early in the day even if it means my knees will remind me of their suffering later.
Occasional horses can be found trotting slowly along this part, however the day was too early for them. These gates are to hinder neds who steal scooters or motorbikes and ride them up the old railway late at night when few are about. While the police occasionally use bikes to cycle along this way these days I still think handing such neds over to the Saudi Authorities might be a good idea. Maybe we ought to hand the parents over instead, that is if they have mothers.
Has anyone heard of a 'Long stay Catholic Church' before? This one has all mod cons and services!