Written by Graham Perry

Graham Perry M.A. Cantab FCIArb Experienced Arbitration Lawyer | China & Chinese Business Affairs | Public Speaker/Lecturer

22 June 2022



You plan for the second meeting with the Barratts and reflect on how to raise the second house issue. Being blunt + straightforward is not your way preferring, instead, a step-by-step approach + you plan accordingly. But the initiative slips from your grasp as Mr Barratt grabs the point and launches into a fusillade against out of towners – ‘Townies’ as the local paper labels. “We don’t want Townies here with their weekend ways and their big 4x4s”. And he is off. The blue touch paper has been well + truly lit and when he pauses for breath Mrs Barratt picks up the argument + complains about weekend traffic in the village as the Townies descend upon the shops causing congestion, + irritation as Villagers resent the Townies with their Big City ways.

You think of engaging with the long-standing residents of the village but realise that this is not the time. You are on the back foot. You have lost the initiative. You need to regroup + reflect on the turn of events and the damage done to your mediation by this new ‘Townies’ issue. You need some hard thinking time. You do what you always do when an impasse is reached – you head for the garden.

You are an active gardener, always tending to shrubs, flowers even some of the vegetables in the allotment area. Over the years you have found that working the soil + removing unwelcome weeds + tending to the greens + the potatoes creates a reflective thinking process that enables you to sort through the issues logically + dispassionately. Which way to turn? What initiative to take? Who to see? – both parties together or the couples separately? Or do you need to do some homework and acquaint yourself with the Townies’ issue and the build-up to the dispute that threatens the centuries-long patient rhythms of the village, It so happens that you have been a long-standing friend of the current Village Lady Mayoress and she agrees to meet with you – privately of course.


23 JUNE 2022



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