I write to you as it were a cry du cur from the heart, having had the misfortune to have read an article in your weekend supplement just gone. The weekend has just gone, I mean, not the supplement, which is still laid on my escritoire, ready for the recycling bin.
There was I, in anticipation of reading some picturesque passages about Dorking's lovely scenery, on account of the headline mentioning a 'Dorking Beauty Spot'. Sadly, my dreams were to be dashed against the cruel rocks of disappointment as, instead of an account of Dorking's verdant pastures and woodlands, I was assaulted by a ludicrous yarn about a Japanese soldier being discovered in a copse near Dorking.
I was breathlessly awaiting scenes of idyllic pastoral delights. I found only a crude farce that was truly beyond parody. The notion that a Japanese soldier from the Burmese jungles of the Second World War could be transported, in the rucksack of a British soldier by the name of Lance Bombardier, to 21st-century Dorking, is mere poppycock.
The idea that the soldier had survived on berries and small grayling for 67 years would alone be enough to identify this farrago as utter tripe, but the description of Dorking as a 'sleepy stockbroker belt village' surely clinches it.
There are a number of stockbrokers who commute out of our static caravans here at Mole Valley Caravan Park, and, let me tell you, these folk are anything but 'sleepy'. After they get home from the city, it's high jinks until the early hours. They're out there, outside their caravans, on their pogo sticks and unicycles, making animals out of balloons, playing Nana Mouskouri LPs and building models of Benedict de Spinoza's Eternal Mind out of twigs and discarded horsehair wigs, all night sometimes. And yet, next morning, they're off to the city again as if nothing had happened, all bright eyes and bushy tails.
It is high time that your journalists reflected the realities of Dorking life and eschewed this lazy reliance on cliche, myth and taradiddle.
If we here at Mole Valley Caravan Park relied on rumour, popular misconception and stereotype in this way, then our stockbroker commuters would be denied the haven of Mole Valley Caravan Park. We'd shun them, and the countryside would be choked with tribes of marauding dreadlocked homeless stockbrokers baking hedgehogs in clay and tickling trout all the way along the Mole Valley.
I urge you to think: do we really want this scourge to sweep the Mole Valley and beyond? Think of the grazing hedgehog and the basking trout! Think of the stockbroker families without whose labours George Osborne would be back selling whelks at Southend and Eric Pickles would still be travelling in ladies' unmentionables in his Vauxhall Viva! Please do not jeopardise the fine balance of our economic ecology and profit margins.
Mrs Dorinda Tumulus-Jones
Mole Valley Caravan Park,
what are we coming to, as regarding the planning permissions these days, when a golfing acquaintance of mine is refused a Reproduction Bear-Pit where he lives at Brockham because of concerns that badgers may fall into it and become trapped?
Well, I think we can all read the sub-text here. For 'badgers' do we not read 'travellers'? It can hardly be coincidence that my golfing acquaintance has already had three gypsies in his Moat and two so-called 'eco-warriors' caught in his Neo-Georgian Tiger-Trap.
Not only has Colonel Belvedere (for it is he) had to deal with these transgressions, but he has had the financial and emotional costs of ridiculous court-cases to bear, to boot, to bear, to boot.
I myself can hardly forget the time I was refused permission to parade outside a primary school in Reigate dressed as Long John Silver when collecting for the Redhill & Reigate Golf Course Ratting Fund.
It is time that the powers-that-be-to-be began to review their attitudes towards those classes who formed the backbone and the vanguard when Britain was made Great. They'd happily see golf clubs overrun by vermin and children hidden from the harsh realities of a wooden leg.
It is historical fact that Shakespeare had a bear-pit. The bear would be slowly killed by dogs while the mob watched Hamlet. These folk were the forefathers of Nelson's Navy. Now Shakespeare is hardly taught in our schools and it is only a matter of time before Nelson is banned from our Churches and Bingo Halls along with the untipped cigarette and the whelkstall.
Edward Eddie 'Ted' Teddy Ed Edwards,
I am writing this from New Zealand in hopes that I might strike a chord. I am trying to find my ancestor named Len Waskette, who lived in the Mole Valley and environs in the late 18th century. He was an itinerant Tump-Foddler and Mole-Skinner with one leg who also repaired wheelbarrows and milked goats in exchange for a mess of pottage. Len married Molly Gimlet, a besom-trimmer's daughter, and they lived at Spleen Cottage, on the edge of Ewekene's Copse not far from Capel. They had 16 children there and Len's wheelbarrow-repairing business prospered to the extent that it was the forerunner of Pimblett & Youdell's Wheelbarrow Manufactory that grew in the 19th century and made use of the wood from the copse.
Do any of your readers have any information about Len Waskette, Molly Gimlet, or the Wheelbarrow Manufactory? Regarding the latter, I am interested in particular in Jabez Clapper, who bought the manufactory in 1861, intending to convert it into a Home For Retired Scottish Lighthouse-Keepers, but was foiled by madness and ended his days in the Dorking Lunatic Asylum on Bloodvessel Hill.
Any information at all would be gratefully received.
What The Butler Saw House