An Englishman's Castle
The other day we travelled out to Thomas Hardy's birthplace to take a peak at his humble origins. A very nice cottage it has to be said.
Even Tess D'Urbervilles kennel isn't bad.
But Hardy was embarrassed by what he saw as his humble origins and in his writings he always elaborated on the size and grandeur of the cottage. Today it's hard to imagine that anyone would be embarrassed to live in such a delightful place.
Earlier I had visited Sir Walter Raleigh's somewhat less humble farmhouse (still a part of a working farm), just down the road from me in East Budleigh, Devon. In my capacity as an über chav I turned up with an England flag on my car - Sir Walter would have approved!
There's a recently unveiled bronze statue of Sir Walter in the town.
Some locals objected to the statue on the grounds that Sir Walter Raleigh was responsible for the deaths of millions by introducing tobacco to Europe. Funnily enough the £30,000 statue was paid for by British American Tobacco.
Local MP Hugo Swire commented:
I hope the statue will become a tourist attraction and I think it is very exciting that, after all these years, we will finally have a lasting tribute to our most famous local son."
"If there are any objections to this from people who think we shouldn’t do this because its sponsered by British American tobacco, I think I shall emigrate.
"I cannot believe that there can be people around who would be so churlish and politically correct to assume because weve got sponsorship from a major international company we should somehow turn it down.
"I just would despair at that point. We want the statue, they’ve been hugely generous - thank you, thank you, thank you."
Sir Wallter also introduced potatoes to the British Isles and subsequently, in 1846, a potato blight caused a famine in Ireland resulting in the deaths of thousands and a great exodus from Ireland. What a bastard! And just think of the cost to the health sevice from all those chips and crisps we now consume. King James showed great foresight in chopping the blighter's head off.
Some more pictures of East Budleigh.