Comments from a friend’s visitors book in her holiday rental chalet in North Devon;

‘The cockerel woke us up every morning’

‘The sky was too dark at night’

‘It was too quiet at night’

How bloody ridiculous I thought at the time.  It’s the countryside.  You big eejits.

I can safely say that I have now stayed in the singularly noisiest countryside in the world.  Maybe.

A count-down of din;

Fairly low-key, thirsty, copulating donkeys throughout the night, rising to a ear-splitting cresendo at 5am ish just outside the compound walls.  Cue entire staff shelter waking with an ugly jolt.

Swiftly followed by the first lot of laydeez gathering to pump water at the well just outside the commune.  The handle has to be pumped furiously for a while to get the water flowing, followed by a couple of hours of steady filling of buckets before it gets too hot.  There is a kind of reverse race to be first at the well.

Our esteemed leader juxtaposes quiet deliveries of tea to our beds with banging of pots on some mornings.

The nights are filled with chatter, bonfire dances, a bush disco and some offbeat cinema screenings.

The mosquito net provides psychological privacy but no sound barrier.

I may have snored but colleagues are kind and do not move their beds to the other side of the compound.

It’s OK because we know we can go home.

Indian proverb; ‘To carry his load without resting, not to be bothered by heat or cold and always be content: these three things we can learn from a donkey’

Tell that to this pair.

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