Charlie Chaplin used to come to this place every year. Well, it’s now been decided that we can’t do that any more. We no longer have enough of these bits and pieces, because so many people are now saying to us: “Have you actually got any use for this?” I’ve just had to throw everything away. I’ve had to.
I’ll be honest, there’s a big group of people around here that started saying: “Yes, Charlie Chaplin used to come to this place and plays golf here, because he liked the fact that he would sit out on the range and think of nothing and play this game.” And they’ll tell you what you want to hear. You want to hear about the little white windmills, the little bands and all that. And they’ll say: “Yes, there’s no people wandering round like this, there are just birds and butterflies and small animals.” But they’ll never tell you anything about the size of the population on this road. I’ll tell you, there’s about 200,000 people on this road. There’s a lot of little abandoned aeroplanes over here and there’s a lot of patches where they’ve got pubs but none of them are being used.
The town of Waterville used to be bigger than Bristol in the 1880s. Now it’s smaller than it used to be. Here on the wrong side of the road, on the edge of the forest, there are isolated buildings still standing, and right behind them, there are no houses at all. It’s a very rare case in British history, where the areas at the north of a country have quite an abundance of housing, while the places at the south have none. But it’s more than this, when you have to go to check out the town of Waterville for a while. There’s a lot of wild land that’s been preserved for wildlife and things like that, and the main road running through there is heavily populated, so on the right you have a lot of old-style houses with all the windows open and the rubbish outside, and there’s also a lot of rubbish. But not on the left.
It all used to be bright green, but now you can’t find a thing, even the bushes. We have to go back around the corner to see where it is at the bottom of the hill. To the left, if you’re fast enough, you can see black walnut trees and the Royal Hotel, and right behind that, there’s a little church and an old graveyard. But from the bottom of the hill, it’s just empty grass. You can’t find a thing. We have to go back the way we came to see where it is at the bottom of the hill. Even to go back all the way and come up the hill to the opposite side of the road is a very long route because there are a lot of trees and ferns and stuff along the way. I know it’s supposed to be an old road but it’s really not a road. It’s a weedy way up a hill and if you can go back the other way, you can see that there is an old woodland, but not the forest that used to be here in the middle of all these houses that are all empty.