Monday, October 27, 2008

Calder's Comfort Farm: Oligarchs' yachts and Shropshire folklore

My latest column is up on the New Statesman website.

It contains my observations on the super-rich and their yachts:

As George Osborne has been brought to understand, gossiping about what you hear in the cabins of the powerful is Simply Not Done.

Being well brought up, you and I know this is just as true of what you hear on a narrow boat on the Shropshire Union. Good manners are good manners, whether you went to Eton, St Paul’s or the Jack Straw Memorial Reform School, Dungeness.

And on the origins of Shropshire folklore:

There is a lot more local folklore, if you like that sort of thing. My theory is that this region is so remote that the farm labourers did not like to send the bearded Victorians who collected it back to Oxford or Cambridge empty handed.

Thanks to them, you can read endless nonsense about figures like Wild Edric. He was a Saxon lord who led the resistance to the Normans, only to make peace with them in 1070. As punishment he and his followers were entombed alive beneath these very hills.

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