The survival of the Post Office at Sherborne St John, recently featured in the Basingstoke Gazette, is the result of successful community action. Instead of protesting and asking someone else to do something, the village mobilised its own resources to provide the bridging finance to enable the new owners to move in. Every MP must wish he had a Sherborne St John in his or her constituency, with its capacity to solve its own problems. (Might the villagers even be able to run AWE Aldermaston?)
One of the products on sale at the village Post Office is a TV Licence, sales of which are expedited by the presence of TV detector vans in the area. Many of these, as I know from the time when I worked for the Post Office in the 1970's, have nothing inside them apart from the driver's lunch and a copy of the Mirror.
Some time ago, as one such van pulled up outside a house in Tadley, the husband - who was going out to work - called out to the occupant of the van. "Don't bother to call here. I bought a licence yesterday - it's behind the clock on the mantelpiece." And with that he left the scene.
Ever anxious to secure revenue for the BBC and distrustful of assurances from his fellow men, the detector knocked at the door. The wife answered it.
“I believe you have a TV set on the premises, and our records show no licence. Do you have one?" he asked, in accusatory mode.
"Why yes, Tom went out and bought one yesterday."
"Can I see it?"
She disappeared inside, and returned empty-handed a few minutes later. "I can't think where Tom has put it."
The man returned to the van, consulted his conscience and then knocked again at the door. "Try looking behind the clock on the mantelpiece."
She returned, waving as Chamberlain did on his return from Munich, a piece of paper.
"Goodness me, how clever you are" she declared "I had no idea those detectors were so sensitive."