Countries, UK

The only Gael in the village

I was the only Gael in the village, the painting of which I commissioned as a gift to my own English rose, but did it make it into the 54 poshest villages in Britain… did it diddly.

Kintbury, Berkshire, is one of those villages which you imagine must have been in the mind of Thomas Walker.

Back in the 18th century when he chronicled the old trad song Country Garden.

But despite its charms and frontage of a bustling canalside pub, the Dundas Arms.

In the picture: The Dundas Arms in Kintbury

Beside the Kennet & Avon which draws in the train set from London and points west and country visitors, the posh village judges overlooked it.

I can only imagine they’d motored it.

And nobody told them because they seemed to have ended up in Avebury, Wiltshire along the road.

Avebury is a village well-known to those whose good fortune sees them live or visit as the only Gael in the village in Western Berkshire and East Wiltshire.

Because it boasts a fine collection of stone circles.

And these are even older than the more-vaunted Stonehenge stones which remember are by the side of a busy dual carriageway.

Stone me

Stones of destiny: Avebury in Wiltshire

So, of course, we joined the hippy set on more than one occasion on pilgrimage to Avebury.

And on one particularly momentous occasion took in the total eclipse of the sun.

Now, you might be able to pick out your own village out of the list and the Royal County of Berkshire (where Queenie lives) does get a shout-out with Millionaire’s Row, Sunningdale.

Our own new neck of the woods here in East Lothian, west of Edinburgh also figures and why wouldn’t it?

Tagged the Golf Coast Gullane is represented.

Gullane force: And the home of Muirfield

Ahead of our more deserving North Berwick, probably on account of hosting Open Golf Championships at Muirfield.

While elsewhere on the east of Scotland Elie in the Kingdom of Fife .

And Strathtay by the wide sweeping salmon jumping Tay in Perthshire also figure.

Killearn in Stirlingshire too is deservedly flagged up.

And it brings up nostalgic memories of 30km round trip childhood hikes from out of Glasgow.

Although I notice that another favourite destination from those teenage stomps didn’t make the list.

Wet, wet, wet

Thinking out of my box: And some things don’t change

And it wasn’t funny at the time but was worth enduring to tell the story time and again over the years.

None of us being good boy scouts and being prepared we got caught out by the weather.

And we ended up soaked to the bone with two choices… trudging home in squelchy trainers.

Or phoning my Dear Old Dad, out of one of those old telephone boxes.

My numbed fingers fiddling with the coins to get into the slot.

Dry run

Home and Dry: Drymen

My Dear Old Dad, as dependable as ever, rode to the rescue and picked four soggy boys up.

The name of the village… Drymen.

And in typical Scottish style it’s pronounced differently from how it’s written.

So that’s Drimen obviously.

And of course that’s Scotland for you and less chance of that in the sunny south-west of England.

Where for a time I was happy to be the only Gael in the village.




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