People coming from big cities should understand that the way of communication is different in the country. I know it’s an obvious thing to say but word-of-mouth is the way it’s done and the smaller the town or village, the more important word-of-mouth is.
I did a little tour today because I had a meeting to give advice to a man who had taken over the running of some allotments in Stoke St Michael. Four out of 12 plots were covered in docks and other weeds to the height of about 4 feet. We had a discussion on what to do and I suggested cutting them down to ground level. The clay ground made digging far too difficult. I then suggested running a cultivator over it, waiting for the inevitable weeds to grow and digging them up. When I got home, my wife suggested that the ground be soaked, covered with a tarpaulin for a couple of days making the ground easier to dig.
It is pretty much guaranteed that in the local pub, everyone knows everybody else. I remember going in there once and every single head turned round to see who it was.
I then moved onto Mells for an excellent lunch at my favourite post office come grocery shop, bakery come cafe. All the adverts are much more personal. You are very unlikely to get taken advantage of. This is something the newcomer finds it difficult to understand.
You do find an element of gossip but most of it is harmless. It is also mixed in with very interesting and relevant information, warnings, useful pointers so don’t dismiss it all.
I would say definitely do not speak ill of anyone without knowing who you are talking to. You may be speaking to their best friend, business colleague or fellow committee member. Again, you might think that is a completely obvious point, but things have a habit of bouncing back on you and the rejection will be subtle but it will be there. Thank goodness that has not happened to us and I hope it never does.