10 NOVEMBER 1950, Page 22

Cosmic up from Hampshire in the train the other day,

I talked with a countryman who is specialising. He has a small holding of twelve acres, and he grows flowers and vegetables which he sells direct to his neigh- bour who keeps a public house on the high-road, where the London motor-coaches run by day and by night. This publican, besides catering for the travellers with light refreshment and drinks, runs a general stall, and undertakes to sell anything portable, with a reasonable profit for himself. People going down to the seaside for what the late Lord Curzon called a Be-ano apparently have a propensity to spend all their money before they get home. If any is left after the day by the sea, then it has to be got rid of-on the way back. And here the enterprising road-side retailer reaps his harvest, and does well also for the local producers who supply him.

Plants, cut flowers, seedlings, puppies, kittens, fruit and vegetables, art-and-crafty goods of wood and leather, even paintings of local land- scapes, find a quick market at high prices. The travellers have enjoyed their day out ; they are in a good mood and even reckless. They throw the money about, and thus the countryman profits. Not, perhaps, a healthy or dignfiied activity ; but it is a feature of present-day country life and needs to be recorded. Much more could be recorded, too, about day- and night-life on the arterial roads. I recall reading the manuscript of an autobiography by a lorry-driver who carried goods between London and Yorkshire by night. He showed an isolated section of the com- munity whose queer nomadic circumstances are rapidly making them into an almost a-social group with a morality of their own, a special slang and the strangest domestic habits. They have a pathology too, for the occupation of lorry-driving, at speeds enforced by time-schedules, is not one to which the human body takes without protest.