Melissa Kite Melissa Kite

Real life | 17 August 2017

I live in the country, not in a town, a suburb – or in Woking!

Easier by far to load up my horses and move them to the next village than try to fight the No Horse Riding signs here, I decided.

I had been sneaking Gracie out the side gate of the livery yard opposite where I live and along the high street to ride around the nearby woods. Nothing illegal about that. But the fact I found myself sneaking, which is difficult on a horse, so as to avoid angry local Liberal Democrat councillors who like to chase horses away, was ridiculous enough to make me face facts.

You cannot keep horses in a village run by sandal-wearing tofu-munchers with an anti-rural bias. I should have known what to expect when I first moved here and remarked to one of these strange, Surrey Lib Dems how excited I was to be in the countryside after years of living in London.

‘It’s not the countryside!’ she shrieked as if I had scalded her with hot water. ‘We’re near Woking!’

‘Aha,’ I said nervously, ‘but we’re all trying to forget about that, surely?’

Point of fact, we’re a good six miles from Woking, which I would have thought was excuse enough to never, ever let the thought enter one’s head that one’s existence had the slightest thing to do with Woking. After all, people who live in Woking don’t say they live in Woking. They say they live in Knaphill, or Byfleet or, at a push, Old Woking.

But the Lib Dem lady was so mad keen on Woking she did a double take when I said that, on balance, and notwithstanding Woking’s excellent train station, I preferred the 65 acres of green in front of us.

Weeks later, at the local pub, I bumped into a friend who tipped me off to stay out of the way of a few other people in The Village who want my guts for garters for writing that I am living in the countryside.

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