Remember this adorable poster from the seventies? I feel just like that kitten right about now. It doesn’t seem to matter whether I’m actually in Welly World or sitting here at home in my microscopic office-off-the-kitchen. I just can’t keep up. And I’ve tried. Hard. To. Keep. Up. But this latest twist in the plot goes well beyond the category of ‘you can’t make this shit up’. It’s all over the news, even the Televisual news – there is a movement a-hoof for the equestrian community to secede from Wellington. Whatever you choose to call it (and you do have some choices: secession, de-annexation, contraction), this latest development surprises even me, someone who has been following the Welly Wars with what some might call an unwholesome level of interest. Especially when you consider the fact that I spend all of three weeks a year there and have no vested interest in whether any of the combatants sink or swim.
Could there really be such a tidy solution to the trench warfare that, if anything, is accelerating? Never having heard of such a thing as seceding from a community, I did a bit of Googling and learned that the primary reason one would take this course of action is to get around a town council that is blocking development of a piece of property. I should think that in order for the contraction (my favourite of the three terms, since it has within it the suggestion of the pain of childbirth) to happen, the support of the majority of land owners in the area affected would need to be gained.
Here is a map of Wellington:
You can see that Pierson Road (WEF and GDF both hang off it – one on the north side and one on the south) runs right through the middle of the municipality. I wonder if you can secede with your piece in the middle, the way Vatican City is surrounded on all sides by Italy. I wonder what proportion of the residents in the ‘contracted’ zone have to be in favor. I wonder, I wonder, I wonder many things. What I no longer wonder is whether this story can get any stranger, because now I know it can.
I don’t normally go to HorseShowDiva for anything more meaningful than a few snorts at the wicked (though anonymous, for shame) wit of Equestrian Onion, but occasionally there is something of substance posted on there. If you are a resident of Welly and feel any curiosity (or separation anxiety) about this novel idea for getting around that pesky ol’ Village Council, here is some info about the upcoming meeting about it.
What would they call this new non-community, this equestrian utopia where anarchy rules the day (yes, linguists. I’m aware that is an oxymoron)? How about Sideways? I don’t think that name has been taken by anyone other than a funny movie about wine and pre-marital adultery, and if this tale of Welly woe has gone in any direction lately, it’s gone sideways….Wait, I know! Let’s name it in the same way so many places get their names, after the brave explorer/discoverer/conqueror who put them on the map. We can name this new anti-town Bellissimo. Sure, Signor B. may not be the only or even the actual driving force behind the contraction, but I like the ring of that name. Sounds pretty. You could even say it’s lovely.