Roman Ruins and The Arrogant Rich
Thursday, 21 October 2010
Sometimes the arrogance of the rich really pisses me off, especially the rich hunting shooting ‘n fishing brigade. Luckily enough, living in Scarborough and running an independent photographic gallery, I don’t get to meet many of them, but when I do the hairs on the back of my neck begin to stir.

Why this reaction? Well heres one reason. The other day I was up at a place called Cawthorne. Now you’ve probably never heard of the place, I hadn’t until we were passing through and noticed a sign pointiong to the remains of a Roman Camp. Curiosty got the better of us and, being suckers for all things Roman we stopped, found a convienent car park and, after a pleasent walk through the autumnal woods we picked up a number of signs with a nicley carved roman head (full marks to that particular graphic designer) complete with helmet that led to a one mile circular walk around the remains of the said Roman Camp. As we entered the gate that led to the site I noticed the sign – it gave a lot of does and don’ts and explained why – Among the stuff it said was that the site was a breeding ground for adders (snakes not mathematicians) so all dogs must be kept on a lead. It also pointed out that dog shit was not a welcome addition to the site – after all we were walking in a place that was 2000 give or take, years old.

I’d just closed the gate behind me when I was surrounded by four large and excitable dogs. The big, boundy, slobbery mouthed variety that are usually called gun-dogs. They jumped and barked around me and and I was just about to give one a kick in the ribs to disuade it from eating my leg when the owner appeared – a middle aged woman dresed head to foot in Berber, complete with appropriate wellingtons, Liberty scarf and tweed hat. It was obvious to me from the way she looked down her nose at us, that this was her regular walk and we were the interlopers. Nothing was said and. head held high and looking forward, she walked ahead of us, the dogs running ahead of her in a varity of directions until one stopped just off the main path to have a shit.

So much for the sign – so much for pleasant requests. Obviously the fact that we were on a historic site didn’t matter one hoot to her. Obviously the signs didn’t mean her, or her dogs! Obviously in her book the adders can look after themselves. After all can’t they slither around the pile of steaming dog shit left by her baying hounds? Obviously I’d mis-read the sign and what it really said was that – “you plebs can’t bring your dogs here without a lead, but if you’re a hunting, shooting, Berber sort of person you can let your dogs run wild and shit all over the Roman remains and bugger the adders – bugger the Roman remains, after all madam, the entire world is here for you to take advantage of, especially if you and your husband are well off.”

Good God, with an attitude like that no wonder she was surprised to see us there, she probably expected to see people like us still labouring down the mines, or huddled in cottages working at our hand-looms. She probably was offended that we didn’t touch our forlocks as she sailed passed as stately as a galleon and twice as outdated. Her and her type are the only people in Briatain that still use the word Oik! She probably believes that Britain still has an Empire, that the Daily Mail is the only truth. That the Church of England is the only true religion and Jesus was born in Winchester Cathedral and Mary founded the Womans Institute. She forever wonders whatever happened to the Home Service and comfy programmes like Mrs Dales Diary, and thinks that nice Mrs Thatcher should have abolished The Labour Party when she had the chance, after all she got rid of those awfully common miner chappies. She was probably the type that only endured sex to procreate, to produce more members of the privaliged classes, to keep the public schools, banks and civil service in new (chinless) recruits. Her photograph probably featured in Country Life back in 1968 when her parents advertised her as suitable breeding stock to maintain that mansion on the hill. Daddy did his bit in the war before becoming something in the City. Mummy was in charge of the household and spoke at the WI about their time in Africa. For a wedding present she was given a country pile, a lifetime subscription to Horse and Hound and a copy of Debretts. She was the character behind Joyce Grenville’s lampoons, the reason behind Harvey Nichols and Liberty’s, and the reason why the French and Russian revolutions were good ideas in their time.