I”m out of London again, this time in the Bog Mountains. As I walked with my brother along Climber’s Edge we discussed whether rich people would be made happier by a more equal society. He was convinced they would be, I was less convinced, or perhaps felt that their increase in happiness would be less than the increase in happiness of the poor, should they win a more equal society. Either way, the rich will not be convinced, or not by words.
Now I am sat at the foot of Boggy Plateau in what was once the house of a local squire and is now accommodation for the walkers who won their right to be here by rebellion. The clouds are descending over the Plateau and the gloom of evening is creeping in from the sides.
On the road to here, near Bamford, I stopped for a pint in honour of Samuel Bamford, born and raised in the vicinity. He witnessed the decline in quality of life brought by the factories, even as they made more goods available. One of the worst things about the factories, he pointed out, was that the workers were no longer allowed to drink beer while working. In the fields and at home looms beer had been considered a necessary lubricant for work, particularly of the physical variety. Factory owners objected on the grounds that workers needed to take breaks to drink beer, and that was just not on.
A cloud-like cypress in the garden of the house, incongruous in this landscape of birch, sycamore and alder, reminds me of Londres. If one wants to assert one’s ownership of land in Londres, planting a tree is a good way to do it, and for a long time in the suburbs the fashion was for cypresses. Here ownership is usually asserted by keeping down the trees using sheep and fire. Even that wasn’t enough to keep the plebs out.