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Don't Eat With Your Mouth Full

Where can we live but days?

A Tale of Two Villages
Two days ago I visited Lacock, about half an hour from here, hoping to waylay some Japanese tourists and ask them their impressions. I failed utterly, because I went in the morning, and they come in the afternoon - mostly. But I did talk to lots of shopkeepers, etc.

It was all for my Cotswolds project, of course; for, even though Lacock is really a little way outside the Cotswolds, it does tend to be included in Japanese language tourist guides, and sometimes even such august organisations as the National Trust appear to claim it:

National Trust bag on sale at NT shop Lacock

Anyway, it's a famously pretty village, so here are some pics if you like that kind of thing:
Open the Chocolate BoxCollapse )

Like Castle Combe, Lacock is frequently used in historical films and television programmes: it featured heavily in Pride and Prejudice and Cranford, and made appearances in both Harry Potter and Downton Abbey. Unlike Castle Combe, though, where media appearances are not made much of, Lacock very much sells itself on this aspect of its identity - along with its other claim to fame as the birthplace of photography. There's a Harry Potter-themed giftshop, for example:

Watling's Gift Shop

And the NT shop sells several books aimed at location hunters:

Contents Tourism in Lacock NT shop 1Contents Tourism in Lacock NT shop 2

I wonder why this difference in approach? Is it the presence of the National Trust itself? Or the fact that, although a small village, at 1,500 or so Lacock has a population almost five times larger than Castle Combe's?

Meanwhile in Bristol I've been having fun tracking down some of the 67 Wallace and Gromit statues scattered through the city for the 2018 summer "Gromit Unleashed" trail. Here are my two favourites so far: "The Howl" and "Gnome, Sweet Gnome".

The HowlGnome Sweet Gnome

Summoned by Bells
Personally, I love the sound of church bells, perhaps because I was brought up hearing this lot every Sunday morning (services) and Wednesday evening (bell practice), as well as many Saturdays (weddings). Along with the smell of hops from the brewery, they were part of the sense-scape of my Romsey childhood.

My mother has a different relationship with them. At the age of 11 she was sent by her mother to live with her aunt in Wellington, Shropshire. This was so that she could attend Wellington High School, as her own mother had done; but she was terribly homesick, and after a year came back to Wales. In the meantime, the ringing of bells in the nearby church in Wellington became indissolubly linked in her mind with her own misery, and even now - more than 80 years later - she dislikes the sound.

In Romsey square this morning, it came home to me just how bloody loud they were. No one seems to mind; but a mosque calling the faithful at even a third of this volume would certainly bring complaints.

Click for the audio, and the noise/delightful music.

Romsey 22 July 2018