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The Village Weekend

The village, which contained only 50 people, had no name. The people there referred to it only as the village, the people in the town nearby referred to it as the ‘village outside town’ and on all maps that covered the areas, including Google maps, the area was a small dot which had the word ‘Village’ written there. The story goes that when the forefathers first settled there to build their homes, the man who had been given the right to name the place on it’s completion died just before he announced the name. As choosing another person to name the place was far fetched at the time, no one ever did and so it was known only as the village.

This story is told every year at the aptly named Village Market Weekend where farmers from nearby towns come into the Village to sell their goods. The families arrange a presentation and the history of the village is told from beginning to end, sometimes with puppets, sometimes with projectors but always with a natural pride of the home they’re speaking of. The Farmers Weekend was an occasion for the farmers, they were able to sell at least a quarter’s worth of goods, vegetables, fruits, meat, eggs in a single weekend, because of the time placement.

The weekend was always scheduled heading into winter. One of the main trading points was wood; reason being the village never subscribed to electricity, so firewood for winter was essential and the farmers were more than happy to chop a few trees to keep the village going. It was a tradition which was sure to continue on.

As this was in fact the 400th year of the weekend, they were planning to add a Festival element for the first time ever. This was put forward by Miss Swanson, an old woman whose family was born and raised in the village for at least 4 generations. No one knew how old she was, but it is assumed she was called ‘Old Miss Swanson’ when she was in her mid-40s, due to her hair turning grey beginning then. She had heard from the farmers over the years how music can be played from items called speakers and doing this would add to the weekend’s charm. Miss Swanson was sold and had been speaking to the Chairman of the Village, Mr Jenkins, incessantly regarding this issue.

Mr Jenkins was younger than Miss Swanson, but was still an older gentleman in the village. His family had been in the village for 5 generations, which gave him respect naturally in the community. He had been chairman for 15 years and had become more conservative with the organisation of the weekend as time progressed. He had been a bachelor for the majority of his life, but had recently started dating Miss Croix, which is pronounced Crow, and he had grown fond of her company. She was a younger woman, whose family was only in the village for 3 generations, and an only child. She looked up to Mr Jenkins as the leader of the community and despite the age gap, she found his character endearing and his position attractive.

It was the last stage of planning for the festival when Miss Croix decided to speak to her love about the arrangements

“Miss Swanson has been round asking for you again dear. She mentioned is the electricity part of the plans. Whatever that is…”

“That woman…” he replied, “Every year for the last, 6 or 7 now, she comes and speaks about something they use in the cities that the farmers told her. I don’t like the idea of it, I tell ya. If she comes back, tell her to feck off.”

Miss Croix smiled, “It can’t be that bad can it?”

“We preserve the traditions as set down by our forefathers. Innovation was never on their agenda”

“But we take the farmers innovations every year and we all prosper from it, when they come in with more efficient ways to produce more to help us.”

“What are you saying then woman? You’re a fan of what Old Miss Swanson has to say?”

“I don’t see no harm if there is no harm” she bowed her head, thus obeying custom when a woman requests a thing of a man

Mr Jenkins noted the bow, “It’s an official request then. Let me consider it… for you”

“Thank you dear” she replied

Within a week, Mr Jenkins had made a deal with a music company in a nearby town who had agreed to arrange a portable electric generator into the village and to set up a stage with speakers and a DJ to play at the weekend. There was enough money in the budget for it to be done and Mr Jenkins was able to get a discount as he informed them the payment would be cash in hand as he told them that ‘those plastic things, we don’t use them’.

The weekend came and the speakers were set up, the 100 farmers came into the village ready to trade, many noting the usage of electricity.

‘This thing will get more coverage this way’ many of the farmers were saying

Old Miss Swanson took the credit for the introduction of the speakers and the ‘DeeeJayy like the letters’ who had came in and played pop music from the cities. Acts like ABBA, Earth, Wind & Fire and The Beatles were on repeat. Many of the villagers didn’t understand how these groups named themselves after sound effects, forces of nature and bugs but they enjoyed the music nonetheless.

The trading in the village was top notch, the village gathered enough firewood for winter and many of the people had enough food stocked also from their year’s labouring to last another year! The farmers left happy, the speaker came and went without a problem and the DJ was given rave reviews by the locals.

Mr Jenkins and Miss Croix were most pleased with the outcome.

Two weeks later a knock came to Mr Jenkins door. It was a representative from government who claimed to have travelled 300 miles to speak to him.

“What do you want then sir? You want cup of tea inside? You’ll catch cold?”

“No thank you sir,” he replied in his polished London accent, “I won’t be long, I just wish to clarify some news that we heard in the south”

“And what’s that then?”

“Did you have insurance and clearance for the usage of the speakers for your Weekend?”

“You what?”

“Where is the legal paperwork for the clearance of the speakers usage and for us to ratify them as fine to use for the event?”

“Didn’t know we’d need all that, it was only for 100 people”

“So there is no risk assessment or clearance documents?”

“I suppose not”

“Fine. Mr Jenkins, thank you for clarifying. Here you are”

The man handed Mr Jenkins a letter from the government and bid him good day

Mr Jenkins hadn’t time to blink and he was gone. Opening the letter, he read how the village was being fined £3000 for not having license for the festival element of the weekend just past.

Mr Jenkins’ eyes bulged at the sight of the amount. It was more than 6 month’s income for most of the villagers.

Within 2 months the village was bankrupt and most of them had to sell their homes to pay off the fine.

The place known as the village was gone within a year, and government announced that the area was to be redeveloped as luxury countryside houses for rich overseas investors.

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