Welcome to the Rudloe and environs website.
Here you will find news, articles and photos of an area that straddles the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in north-west Wiltshire.
Contributions in the form of articles or photos are welcome. Even those with completely contrary views to mine!
Thanks to the website builder 1&1 and Rob Brown for the original idea.
Rudloescene now, in January 2014, has a sister, academic rather than anarchic, website about Box history here: http://www.boxpeopleandplaces.co.uk/
It contains thoroughly professional, well-researched articles about Box and its people.
Contact rudloescene through the 'Contact' page.
No Milk Today... How could they know just what this message means, the end of our hopes, the end of our dreams (Herman's Hermits - 1966). Since Brexit, you can’t take any meat or products containing meat, nor milk or dairy into the EU. You also can’t take any fresh fruit (apart from bananas, coconuts, dates, pineapples, and durians), vegetables, plants, or plant products into the EU unless you pay to have them inspected and get a ‘phytosanitary certificate’ before you leave! These are the issues that now, outside the EU, companies are faced with but they also apply, as indicated above, to the ordinary traveller.
In his paper, The Fate of Empires (1978), Sir John Glubb states that "The present attempts (1978 remember) to create a European community may be regarded as a practical endeavour to constitute a new super-power. If it succeeds, some of the local independencies will have to be sacrificed... The inescapable conclusion seems, however, to be that larger territorial units (he is talking of all 'empires' here) are a benefit to commerce and to public stability...".
The EU being a commercial empire is beyond doubt. This is why Trump and Putin praised the Brexit campaign as it was to their advantage to see a strong commercial empire destabilised. In this vein,
on 28th February 2023 I wrote as follows to our local MP, James Gray:
Thanks for showing "support and solidarity" for and with the people of Ukraine on behalf of the people of North Wiltshire. Yesterday, Rishi Sunak talked of "our precious Union". A year ago today, President Zelensky applied for membership of the European Union. Jens Stoltenberg has said that Ukraine will become a member of NATO in the "long term". All these 'unions' are not just precious but vital to demonstrate (Western) solidarity in the face of detractors and adversaries, malicious or otherwise.
If for no other reason, my EU 'remain' instinct was secured by the fact that two of the most egregious rogues on the planet, Putin and Trump, agitated in favour of Brexit. Their rationale was clear - the breakup of a western 'alliance' would be to their benefit politically and economically, the latter as the EU is one of the world's largest trading blocs. I would imagine that Putin would scarcely have been able to believe his good fortune that one of the principal members of the EU would bring about its abasement supported by people such as yourself.
He did not respond
But apart from the larger political and commercial problems that Brexit has brought to pass, ordinary activities such a hop across the channel for a short (or longer) break has now become irksome and taxing at the UK/EU borders. Take the following example of a friend of mine, who is French, and her British husband recounting a recent trip to France:
1. If you are British, make sure you get your passport stamped
We had been to France the previous Christmas (December 2021) for about 10 days. The passport of my British husband was stamped then. We returned to France in the Summer 2022. Somehow, customs forgot to stamp my husband's passport on our way in so on our way back in Calais, when we were going through French customs, the 'douanier' asked my husband for how long he had been in France. When he answered 'For two weeks', the French customs official pointed to the fact that the stamp on his passport was 8 months old. At the time,we had not even realised that passports were being stamped. I then interfered explaining that he was my husband and that we had just visited my parents for a fortnight. The 'Douanier' asked if I had my 'livret de famille' - a small book issued to a French national when they get married where your marriage and the births of your children are recorded. I replied that the livret de famille had been left in Bath but that our similar surnames should be enough evidence. The 'douanier' then declared 'I can see that you are une personne de bonne foi* so I am going to stamp your husband's passport but he could have been fined. Next time, bring the livret de famille.' (* a person of good faith)
2. If you are an EU citizen living in the UK, make sure you update your immigration page with any new passport number
Next, we had to go through British customs - my husband and son had British passports so no issue there. I, on the other hand, handed my French passport to the British customs officer who questioned my status. 'I have permanent settled status' I replied. 'I can't see that' she said. 'Surely, you type my name and my status will appear!' was my answer. I was starting to get seriously annoyed. 'It is linked to your passport' she said. 'My passport is new. ' I suddenly remembered. Was this the issue? 'Did you link it to your UK Immigration account?' 'No, should I have?' 'Yes, it is your responsibility.' 'I had no idea; I thought you could check my status by entering my name.' Apparently not ...
I felt that begrudgingly she let me go through. I did learn on that occasion that I had a UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) account - I thought I just had a page explaining that I had been granted settled status. I learned that when you get a new passport, you need to update your UKVI account with your new passport number otherwise border control will not be able to check your status and you may get turned away.
My priority getting home was obviously to update my UKVI with my new passport details. However, I needed my old passport number to access my account but my old passport had been handed back to the French authorities - in France, we can't keep our old passports. But that's another story ...
I wrote to James Gray again on 4th April 2023 as follows after it had been announced that the UK had joined the Trans-Pacific trading bloc:
Good morning James..
Since when could the UK have been considered an appropriate member of a group of trans-Pacific nations? And this European nation would propose to veto the accession of China? What a hoot. Your party's clutching at trade straws (as with Australia) since Brexit smacks of desperation.
The biggest, closest, most appropriate trading block is Europe.
He did not respond