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Nothing amazes me anymore.

I faxed a copy of the worries from Kingsteignton to a friend and customer in Newton Abbot a little while ago. Spoke to him this morning. When he had finished giving me some business he suddenly asked me what all this was about.

I briefly filled him in and joked about not drinking the water. He was amazed and said that there had been nothing about it in the local press nor tv. He had asked his staff, some of whom live up that way,and they knew nothing either.

All being nicely hushed up?

Anyway, an interesting trip. All the way down the M4 / M5. sheep and lambs all over the place. Sheep and lambs either side of the new M5 / Barnstaple link road. Though not half as many as a couple of years ago.

Coming back on the link road I took a left into KNOWSTONE .

Immediately you are off the main road ,you go over cattle grids and onto narrow single track roads. Immediately, I saw what must have been new born lambs peering out through a gate,with the mums standing guard behind them. Couldn't stop, too narrow.That was the last of the animals. Up hill,down dale for a couple of miles into Knowstone. It is a most wondrous place. A hamlet of lovely old whitewashed cottages complete with a lovely old pub. Hand made wooden bottle banks ( not plastic ). All higgledy piggledy. Talk about a picture postcard. That place has not changed for hundreds of years.

But, whether it was the time of day or not, I dont know, but, not a soul to be seen. I stopped the car for a moment and let down the windows to listen. Not a sound. Nothing. No tractors,no cockerell. I cannot even recall hearing a bird twitter. Just a breeze rustling some branches of the trees. Before me lay the whole of the hamlet,almost. Not a movement. Not a sound.

I put the car in gear and left. I felt as if I was intruding.

What the Hell have they done to those people. The BASTARDS. Easy place to seal off from the outside world and do the dirty deed.

I stayed the night outside Tiverton. There were animals around there. The odd field here and there with a dozen or so sheep or cattle. Bit touristy there.

The following morning I cut across country into what you may call the centre of North Devon, down narrow but passable roads. Here away from the main roads you can look down the valleys for mile upon mile. In just the odd field could you see specks of white fluff. And these were in patches. Emptiness for miles and then a few fields containing a few animals, then nothing again. Some farms along the road still had " Keep Out " and " wash your boots before entering and when you go "

These were not old signs. They looked recently painted.

IF I was a cynic,i would say that the animals in the fields beside the main roads have been planted there for the tourists to see and wonder what all the fuss is about. If they had heard of the fuss in the first place. It is off the beaten track where there is still little to be seen. R.

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