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November 30 2019
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Michael Birch in the renovated Farmer’s Arms in Woolsery, North Devon, 2019.

Not much happens in the tiny village of Woolsery. Home to just over a thousand residents, the parish sits on the North Devon coast in southwestern England, nine miles southwest of the seaport of Bideford (a “Little White Town,” according to its welcome signs).

It’s a quaint but unremarkable place, where life has a tendency to simply trundle along. The Young Farmers’ Club meets on the first Tuesday of every month; the Good Companions group the first Monday afternoon. If you’re quick, the parish council is handing out black trash bags this morning in the community-hall car park. Plus, of course, there’s the ongoing pitched battle against the dot-com zillionaire determined to remodel the entire village in his own image. It’s a battle so intense that police have literally started to confiscate guns, so that’s fun.

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