Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Deck shoe wearing townies

Hey nonny noo! summers a'coming and the roads of Devon are about to become infested with "deck shoe wearing, townie scum", most of whom will be visiting their bijou holiday homes in Salcombe and Noss mayo and at the wheel of a brand new "disco" or "BMW Z4". (Because of course, we all know that the roads south of Bristol turn into muddy cart tracks! and are impassable without a four by four...... NOT)

So the local Western Morning News ran an interesting article on food, where we were all told how our eating habits were changing and that we where all buying "organic" and "local" produce. As usual, IMHO, of course, this applied to aforementioned townies, who seem always to have the statutory Waitrose's bag in the disco when they arrive with their brats on holiday and are oft found manouvering their "tartrazine filled, hyperactive, vile mannered offspring, around Darts Farm or Dartington Cider Press Centre" Coz thats where all us Devon folk shop! Yeah right, most of us on minimum wage, I dont think so...

Thus the pen was drawn again, but I dont think this one got published:

It was interesting to read Martin Hesp's excellent article on the changing face of the food we eat. the topic of healthy eating and organic produce, regularly "crops up" in the pages of the WMN and i felt minded to comment on some of the issues raised. I consider myself lucky, that from an early age my mother taught me to cook and whilst professing to be no "Garry Rhodes", I am well able to produce a decent meal, without recourse to a "chip fryer" or "a microwave". The value of fresh produce is well within my grasp and in normal circumstances a "ready meal" would not grace my kitchen.. However, from reading Mr Hesp's article and drawing conclusions from the facts and figures quoted, we would think that a renaissance in how and what we eat is occurring under our noses. Perhaps it is, but let us ask "for who?” not for the ordinary Man or Woman in the street, both working to struggle and pay huge mortgages and some of the highest utility bills in the country. Not for the low earners on benefits or the elderly on low pensions, but then for who? One only has to grace a Tavistock farmers market, or go to Darts Farm on a Saturday to see the people who are creating the increase in these "faddy foods", one will be swamped by a plethora of "yummy mummies", with their designer clad offspring, purchasing their "bison burgers" and "Cornish yarg" along with a couple of bottles of some pretentious "fruity little number" to wash down the "oak smoked salmon and dill" These self same leaders of this revolution in "healthy, organic, locally sourced shopping" will then trip off home in the 4 x 4 to rustle up some genteel little "bijou dinner" in their £1,000,000 estuary side retreat. Whilst those of us living in "reality land" will be trudging round Tesco/Asda/Morrisons with a trolley full of sterile vac packed, easy cook, cheap food! And some fish and veg, which has probably travelled half way across the world. Now don't get me wrong, I have nothing against our "deck shoe wearing, 4x4 driving, townie incomers", what I do take issue with, is the way in which the massive influx of these people whose incomes are far removed from those of us in normal jobs, has on the infrastructure. Take for example Salcombe!, wander its streets in winter, play "spot the local". In summer, you can buy fancy fashions, luxury sailing clothes and all manner of "yuppie toys" yet look for shops selling normally priced run of the mill items. This pattern seems to be occurring all over the southwest. Whether it be places like Darts Farm or Dartington or Riverford Organics. We are seeing a huge increase in purveyors of luxury foods for people on luxury wages. Before we know it Devon will have been turned into a clone of "Kingston on Thames". Lets remember that a vast portion of the working population in Devon are on the minimum wage, try looking at the job adds in the local press and asking "could I live on that?" then remember that what ever traumas farming goes through, ordinary people will always need ordinary food at fair prices.... Ian Woolger

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