Bakehouse Cottage

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Brexit Simplified

Okay. Brexit is too complicated for those people of will to get their heads around. So let’s simplify it. 

28 people form a property consortium. They are going to build an estate of 28 properties - a home for each of them. 

Together they buy a plot of land. They employ an architect to design their dream home which will be built identically for all 28. After much meeting and tweaking, the final home is approved by all and each pays only 1/28th of the architect’s fees. It’s win win. 

Builders are employed and the homes are built along with gates and fences, roads and street lights. The dream settlement is out in the countryside so electricity has to be brought in and the homes have to have a collective sewage works, private drainage and a bore hole (well) for their water. The contractors are employed and the bills are carved 28 ways. 

Then Fred decides he wants to go his own way. He still wants to keep his house. But he doesn’t want to be part of the consortium. He submits his mandatory 28-day notice to leave. The remaining 27 hold a meeting. They accept Fred’s withdrawal and redraw the boundary of their community. 

The dream estate has been built and everyone has moved in. All the infrastructure is in place and the contracts have been signed for mobile masts, septic tank emptying, maintenance of water supply, provision of electricity and so on. The 28 had committed to a 5-year contract for everything. 

But Fred is leaving. And he doesn’t think he should pay for anything that the others will benefit from and he won’t. He says he can light his own driveway and take his own rubbish to the dump in the city. So why the hell should he pay? The 27 reply that he signed the various contracts so is bound by them. Fred says they can piss off because he’s just not going to pay another penny. 

Fred’s family now go into meltdown. Flossie, his wife, manages the family budget. She points out to Fred that they’re living in the middle of nowhere and that their family income is dependent upon their family business. The business is plumbing and electrical stuff. Fred has the contract for all the plumbing and electrics to the dream estate. Fred says he can get business elsewhere. There are dozens of towns within a 50-mile radius, all willing to pay more for plumbing and electrics than the dream estate. Flossie goes berserk: “For God’s sake Fred, that means you leaving home at 6am every morning and not getting back until late in the evening. And what about all the petrol costs and the overheads on the car? It’s going to cost us a fortune in time and money.”

Finn, Fred’s son, sides with his mother. He points out that the dream estate has plans to build a health club and that will provide heaps of new business for Fred. Flora, Fred’s daughter sides with her father. She says there are plans for an enormous new health club in the region’s city. “The city’s guaranteed to give you the contract for that,” she tells Fred. 

Flossie says “That’s possible but they don’t have your father’s standards. They’ll want everything on the cheap. And they’ll be insisting that your dad gives huge discounts to all their members. They’ll force him to lower his standards and reduce his prices. That means we’ll have less income for more work.”

“Bollocks,” says Fred. “There’s no way the dream estate is going to ditch me. They know I do the best work and they can’t run the estate without me. Of course they’re going to keep me on.” 

“I wouldn’t be so sure,” says Finn. “You’re not the only plumber or electrician around. There are several plumbers and electricians in the families on this dream estate. They’ll use them instead. And they’ll definitely use them if you don’t pay the bills you signed the contracts to pay.” 

Fred throws a tantrum. He tells his family that they - they of all people - should be on his side and backing him to the N-th degree. “Who the fuck brought you up? Who bought you this dream house? Who pays the bills? Who funds you? You f***ing ungrateful bastards!”

Flossie tries to restore peace. “Well,” she says, “I think we really ought to pay what we agreed to pay to the dream estate. And we’ll be much better off if we can trade with them instead of having to travel miles every day, especially if that means having to do extra work at less profit and lower our standards.” 

Flora insists that her father is right. “All you’ve got to do dad, is stand your ground. No one around here can afford to ditch you. Don’t pay them another cent. Don’t give in to them. Just tell them that we’ll be billionaires next year because the City is going to do the best deal with us and that is all we need. Tell the bastards they can stew in hell.”

Fred agrees that that is exactly what he should do and exactly what will happen. “Just give them a year to calm down and they’ll be begging us to work with them.”

“More likely we’ll be starving, worked to death and the neighbours will be throwing dog-shit into our ill-kept garden,” concludes Flossie.

“I’ve no idea why the hell I ended up marrying such a negative bitch,” Fred retaliates.

“Because you had a life worth living. And now you’re throwing the whole thing down the drain. Not only that, but you’re taking us down the drain with you,” yells Finn, apoplectic with uncomprehending fury. 

“Piss off! Just piss off all of you. Dad is always right. And he’s the head of this family so he has the final word. He doesn’t need to justify himself. He has spoken and that’s the end of it. We should do as he says and be led by him.” Flora is more angry than she’s ever been. 

There’s a bang on the door. It’s the appointed representative of the remaining 27. Flossie opens the door. The representative hands Flossie a letter which explains that they can’t discuss anything further until the bill is settled. 

Fred and Flora shriek at Flossie. Finn sheiks back. The residents of Number 28 Dream Estate shriek at each other.

“How did you get on at Number 28?” the 27 ask their representative.
“Nobody’s going anywhere until they stop their cat fight and sort themselves out,” comes the reply. He adds: “It’s quite astonishing that anyone could be so resistant to the friendship of their neighbours.”


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