Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Happy Valley

On a rare night out in the country, l'homme and I went to a neighbourly bbq. It was classically British - we stood outside holding umbrellas and a makeshift cover for the fire was made with a stepladder and golf umbrella balanced over it and the back door. The best bit for me was meeting our fellow neighbours - the men talked to each other and the women stood under a tree chatting. The women were great - very strident and clearly the ones in charge. One said to me, "So, you're from London?" I looked aghast and said, "Oh no, have I given myself away with the wrong clothes? I thought I'd got it right!" (I was in brown boots, white loose jeans with pale blue stripes - which sounds revolting, but think OshKosh - and an old jumper.) Anyway, they were chatting about horses, as they do, gossiping about the pony club mothers who boss everyone about and I said that I really must get back to riding - I keep seeing streams of riders go past our door. Where do they all come from I asked? Is there a riding stables nearby I could go to for lessons? At this, they gasped, and one said: "You really don't know where you're living, do you? You're in Happy Valley." What's that? Is everyone on Ecstasy pills? No, apparently, our little corner of Suffolk is the meeting point for three hunts and the reason they are all so happy is that they have lots of wife-swapping parties and gossip about it ferociously afterwards. (No, I haven't been invited yet.)

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