I live in a town called Sherborne in Dorset, SW England. How a well travelled Londoner came to end up here is another, painful story. Grown men have been known to weep on hearing it, women have rushed away to knit something.
Sherborne is known for its Abbey, which squats like a menacing spider at the bottom end of town; two private schools, Sherborne Boy’s and Sherborne Girls, both known for a certain youthful arrogance; and the oldest median population age in the country which qualifies it to be the Blue Rinse Capital of the World.
People come here to retire, often knowing nothing about life in the country, leaving friends and family far behind. Come here in pursuit of a dream, of a gentility that never existed. If they’re a couple, one of them may die before they’ve made new friends. But alive or dead, these incomers manage to suck the life out of the town. Sherborne is becoming less real by the day and more like a movie set. Those who refuse to wear their complimentary, fixed smiles will remain bit-part extras. Success depends on agreeing that this is the happiest little town in the world. Oh, and the most exclusive. House prices are in a par with London. Social success also depends on your bank balance.
Don’t retire here, please. Find somewhere more honest to die.