Friday, 9 January 2009

Village Life

Nearly four years' ago, my husband wanted us to buy a house in a quiet and 'safe' area away from crime and vandalism... he'd spent over thirty years dealing with criminals of one sort or another, and being now disabled after a stroke felt all the more vulnerable.

I used to bring him out of the Nuffield hospital at Headington every weekend until he was eventually discharged in May 2005, by which time we had viewed and bought a house in a little hamlet, attached to a small ancient village that has just one post-office cum shop. He constantly insisted that all doors were locked, even though we lived in a quiet lane. He knew that if we had intruders, he was no longer physically able to defend our home, himself, or me. It was such a shift of thought for a man who had always been tall, able and strong.

When my lovely man died, I felt even more vulnerable, and consciously and continually locked all doors, including the garage door, shed door and car doors. When waiting at traffic junctions I would press the internal locking system of my car.

Today, I walked to the village Post Office to fetch my paper only to find the door shut and a few villagers mingling outside. I was told that an armed robbery had just taken place and that the van had sped off and the police were on their way. My immediate thoughts were with the few ladies and the Post Mistress, who have become my friends and who must be in an extreme state of shock. I left to walk home as the police arrived.

I also heard on the National news tonight of a Post Master's son being shot dead at a Post Office in Worcestershire; also, on local Oxford news it stated that a gang that had committed armed robberies in an area of east Oxford had now been caught.

It seems that even in quiet backwaters, or because of being quiet and secluded, our little shops and post offices are prime targets.

I can hear my husband saying, "Lock the doors and make sure the car is locked away in the garage, and don't bother getting a paper."


Hogday said...

Hi Jenny. Such a shock for a quiet village, where even any burglaries are probably numbered in single figures, probably less than 5 a year, like the village we live in. When something like this happens it's not just the victims who have been violated, but the village and it inhabitants, its sanctity and it's way of life. It makes one realise that `civilisation` is but a thin veneer. The post office was selected for exactly the reasons you cited, nothing personal, although I well know that `personal` is exactly how it feels.

JennyB said...

I agree... although the effect on the post mistress and her ladies is as though it was personal. It takes a while before one 'moves back' from the sense of personal to a place of objectivity. Hopefully they will 'get there' soon. I just hope that the police eventually catch the bastards!