Thursday, 21 February 2013

Village Life and Jelly

This week is half term and so all the usual attempts at routine and structure have somewhat gone out of the window. I am trying to work, do some exercise and keep on top of the mess at the little house on the prairie. However, keeping pace with the stuff going on my kitchen is proving a challenge.

It is a source of pride that all my children can cook and the younger two who are still resident cook for pleasure. Actually number 3 cooks lots of additional meals for himself because he is always hungry and frequently claims that we are starving him to death. Anyway, this week, amongst other things, number 4 has made a very beautiful and delicious red velvet cake and a rather less successful raspberry jelly. Why was the jelly unsuccessful? Because too much stuff was added to the dissolved jelly cubes. Consequently there is some raspberry jelly/sludgy drink in my fridge with no hope of setting.

This thing about adding too much stuff to something is a subject I've been thinking about for the last couple of weeks since I heard the news that our village has been earmarked for a development of 40 houses.

If you come across my blog often, you will know that I love where I live. I love the open fields around my house and the woods beyond and the way that they reflect the changing seasons and I absolutely love the friendly, all-embracing village that is just a mile away.

Our village is one of those that makes every estate agent's lips smack. It has, in no particular order: one village shop, one primary school, two pubs, two churches, a village green, a sports field, two village halls and a bus service. All marvellous and very much appreciated by the locals who genuinely operate on a use-it-or-lose-it basis. All of the above, of course, also make it prime target material for the local authority to site new houses. My question is how many new houses in a village of currently about 200 houses (my guess...) will change the chemistry of the village and ultimately stop it from gelling?

I can see why the local authority would want to build here but the size of the single development is a major concern. Perhaps, for example, the judicious use of various smaller areas within the village envelope where, say, anything up to a dozen houses can be built in two or three places would enable the village to absorb more readily the new influx of residents over a period of time. And I can also see that any development is good news for the shop and pubs and will hopefully maintain the bus service, not to mention the local clergy who have probably done a dignified celebratory jig in their cassocks. But 40 houses in one site, perhaps 120 new residents, is a big dollop of something that will inevitably change the nature of the village, perhaps rendering those things which make it such a great place to live not so great in the future.

I know, you're probably thinking that I won't be able to see the new houses from where I live but I do think that this size of development will change things for everyone and once the houses are there, there can be no backward step. I just think there must be a better way to do it. Or our village may end up like the jelly in my fridge.

Number 4's fabulous cake - I fear I am responsible for the large hole in its side. Delicious!

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