A long trailing chain of thought coming on folks - hope if all hangs together. I shall start and see how it goes:
An old, well known local farmer has died - he has lived here all his life, done very well and his sons now are the most successful employers in the area. At his funeral earlier this week his cortege went through the town with his coffin on a farm trailer, pulled by a tractor - I have no doubt that - just like my farmer's, the church would be full to overflowing and the food would be good and plentiful at the reception afterwards. Because that is how it always has been. In fact my carer, who showed me the photograph this morning (and who has herself lived here all her life) tells me that there is a bit of a tradition of (especially men) folk in the village who live alone going to funerals of folk they hardly know, just for the food afterwards.
Is all this going to gradually change as we get more and more incomers and fewer and fewer 'locals' - the farmer once did a count of the locals in his village and there were only eleven left. Less now I'm sure.
Surely this makes for other changes. To quote Ronald Blythe again (sorry but I am eagerly reading his book) he wasborn thereabouts and never moved far in his whole life,) He speaks of field names and one in particular which is called Constables and has been since it was owned by the Constable family (John Constable the famous artist) since before the time of the Napoleonic wars.
And that made me think of the field names on our farm (now owned by several people as it was split up when the farmer died (small farms are no longer profitable)between several farms). When I first married into the family I used to listen to my farmer and his father talking almost another language as they spoke of the fields, which all had names (the only one I remember was Matt's (I think named after the man years back who had once owned the field.) Maybe the field still exists but I am sure the name doesn' t - maybe the hedge has been grubbed out to make two small fields into one larger one. But surely the name has died - forever
Does it matter? Maybe not in the giant scheme of things. Housing estates cover acres and the names disappear. Maybe people call it progress, And in many ways it is. But in other ways it is sad. I think. Do you?