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The English countryside is dotted with isolated villages. At the core of many villages can be found the local pub. In many cases, the village's social life revolves around it. It will be home to the local darts team, and probably have an indoor alley for playing skittles. Many will have an adjacent cricket pitch, where fiercely fought local rivalries are played out in summer, and sometimes a soccer pitch, where the same rivalries surface in autumn and winter. At least one pub of my acquaintance had a rugby pitch alongside, the 'Cross Keys' in Swanwick, Derbyshire. It was the home venue of Amber Valley Wanderers, a Rugby Union side who I played for, post-college!

Along with the church, the village store, the village hall, the village school and the sub-post office , the pub forms one of key the elements of the English village. Sadly, the austerity which all U.K. communities now face has hit villages hard. Local public transport has been withdrawn, the small grocery store on which small villagers depend - especially seniors - has closed, and villages find themselves without a filling station, or even a doctor's surgery or elementary school. The inhabitants have been forced to improvise, and make do, raising cash from charitable events, and organizing car pools to the nearest town. As one senior who lives in a small English village said, 'It's like those tales I heard from my Dad, about what it was like around here during the War!' I found that the Wheatsheaf Inn at Crudwell, Wiltshire also contained a sub-post office – this combining of two functions is not uncommon these days.

The Great Vintage Flying Weekend staff held a rather splendid Team Dinner at the Wheatsheaf Inn, following a successful event, and I was just leaving the pub, when I happened to see these notices. Normally, village noticeboards contain details of items for sale, details of local tradesmen and other matters. Ferret racing (with fish and chips) is something that I would have enjoyed seeing, I think. It was for a very good cause, of course, the Registered Charity associated with the Crudwell Pre-School Group, which would enable the 'smallest villagers' to get a flying start in their education.

I’ll bet the ferret left the fish and chips standing, though!

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