“They should cut the place loose and push it out to sea, in my opinion,” says thirty eight year old Tom Throbb, one of a growing number of Britons moving back to the over crowded cities from rural counties like Devon and Cornwall. “They’re just a bunch of inbred degenerates down there – give me the good honest thuggery of London’s inner-city estates any day! At least you know where you are with muggers, pimps and drug dealers!” Throbb, who endured nearly two years in the remote Devon village of South Thrumster before moving his family back to a damp ridden maisonette in Blackheath, claims that from the outset they were subjected to appalling bigotry. “The very day we moved into our cottage a group of naked men, their entire bodies blacked up with excrement, came charging down the main street waving spears and shouting gibberish in a grotesque parody of African natives! They were apparently in pursuit of a group of screaming village girls,” explains Throbb, who later learned that this bizarre display was part of a local ceremony held every year in the village. “My wife, whose parents were originally from Ghana, was particularly offended by these obviously racist antics. She was even more outraged when the ‘black’ men were subsequently ‘captured’ in a large net by a group of young white men, thrown into the village pond and forced to scrub their shit off with brushes! Only then were they accepted back into the community!” Throbb also claims that his two young children were severely traumatised by the incident, suffering nightmares involving giant scrubbing brushes for several months afterwards. “Things just went downhill from there,” laments Throbb. “My wife suffered the brunt of it – you’d think they’d never seen a real black person before! Bloody yokels were always coming up to her and rubbing her arms to see if the colour came off! I knew that they could be a bit insular down there, but that was bloody ridiculous!” Things finally came to a head when a local farmer offered to buy Throbb’s wife for ‘breeding stock’. “The bastard said that she’d bring some ‘hybrid vigour’ into the bloodline,” he says. “The cheeky bugger offered me fifty quid for her!” However, the Throbbs found themselves besieged by the farmer’s family and workers after refusing his offer. “It was like Straw Dogs,” recalls Throbb. “We had to escape under cover of darkness, after creating a distraction by throwing them some raw meat!”

However, Eric Futtock, Chairman of South Thrumster’s Parish Council, has a somewhat different recollection of the events which led to the departure of the Throbbs. “It was simply a case of a group of townies misunderstanding our local customs. The business with the ‘Blackies’, as we like to call them, for instance, is a ceremony which has been going on for centuries,” explains the councillor who, along with his brother the vicar, his cousin the local doctor and his half brother who is Master of the local hunt, blacked up for the incident in question. “Strangers just don’t appreciate that the ‘Blackies’ represent evil elemental spirits, which have to be driven out of the village every year. Contrary to vicious rumours put about by outsiders, it most definitely isn’t the re-enactment of the unfortunate events surrounding the shipwreck of a slave ship in 1753. Everybody knows that happened down the coast in Great Thrumster. They’re notoriously intolerant down there!” Futtock maintains that South Thrumster is a highly cosmopolitan area with a diverse population. “Take old Jim Minch who runs the petrol station – he’s definitely got a touch of the tar brush about him, if you ask me! Then there was Bill who runs the ice cream van – his mother was from Totnes,” he muses, before revealing that this diversity even extends to his own family. “My brother-in-law is from North Thrumster and we’ve always tried to make him welcome, despite his typically North Thrumsterian flatulence and lack of table manners.” Futtock firmly believes that it was actually the Throbbs who were the intolerant party, refusing to respect local custom. “Typical townies, coming down here with their fancy lady slave and demanding things like indoor toilets – everybody knows it’s unhygienic to crap indoors,” he recalls. “Then they accused the local school of fostering racist attitudes because it was still using those ‘Little Black Sambo’ books to teach reading – these bloody London big shots just don’t realise how much it costs to buy new books!” The Throbbs also took exception to the local custom of baiting the local physically and mentally disabled every Saturday afternoon. “Really! The spazs all enjoyed it – it was the most attention they got all week,” Futtock declares, angrily. “Besides, it was all quite harmless – there were strict limits on the size of stones that could be thrown at them.”

Despite these protestations, Futtock does concede that, in the past, the village has had a poor record when it comes to race relations. “Well, there’s no denying that incident back in 1946, when they converted the old village hall into a cinema. The first film they showed was Song of Freedom, as soon as Paul Robeson appeared on screen, women ran screaming from the building, convinced that he was going to leap out and rape them! A full blown riot erupted and the whole building was burned down,” he explains. “Of course, something similar happened in 1972, when we finally got TV reception here and the first set was installed in the lounge bar of the local pub. When the landlord tuned it in, the first thing people saw was the Black and White Minstrel Show. Everyone went berserk and smashed up the TV! It was another three years before anybody would have one in their house for fear that it would bring singing and dancing cannibals into their home!” Nonetheless, Futtock is at great pains to emphasise that these events are firmly in the village’s past. “Nowadays we’re sophisticated enough to know that you only have to turn it off or change channels when the likes of Lenny Henry appear,” he says. “Besides, we’re not the worst offenders here in Devon – they’re far worse in Cornwall. In 1927 they burned the first Chinaman they ever saw at the stake! To this day there are no Chinese takeaways or restaurants in the whole county!” Despite the supposed improvements in race relations, Devon’s image has been further tarnished by recent press images of villagers pillaging cargo washed ashore from a wrecked cargo ship. “They’re not just thieving bastards, they’re wreckers too,” rages the exiled Throbb, who claims that he saw villagers lighting fires on the cliff tops the night the freighter ran aground in order to lure it into dangerous waters. “It isn’t just ships either – the bastards park fake kebab vans in lay-bys to lure in trucks taking supplies to supermarkets in Exeter and Yeovil! The inbred cretins strip them clean before setting the empty trucks alight and drunkenly dancing around them! Jesus! Give me Brixton any day!”