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Dry Drayton Post .. Dry Drayton
Depending on your perspective, Dry Drayton could be either an imaginary or a real place.
The former is to be found between the Druadan Forest and Dubiaxo on page 102 of the 1981 edition of the Dictionary of Imaginary Places by Alberto Manguel and Gianni Guadalupi. It appears in the writing of novelist Francis Augustus Walker and is described as a small community of artists, craftspeople and Thespians in rural East Anglia, dedicated to promoting a sustainable and safe lifestyle in the ever-changing environment of the early 1960s. Shunning the motor car in favour of the bicycle and the television in favour of their own entertainment, this community defined their own pop music in the form of personalised versions of the standards of Gilbert and Sullivan and the offerings of the Coton Morris Men. The Elders of the Village, meeting regularly in the Parish Assembly, worked tirelessly to see that the community remained unaffected by the cold wind of progress. Here the fruits of one person's labour might be exchanged for that of another with little need for even the local currency, the Dry Drayton Ducat. The Elders ensured that everything that could be needed was obtained through the village's single shop, public house and church. If there was a need to seek goods in the wider world then there was always the carrier who called weekly from the nearby Town. Dry Drayton claimed a modest part in the wider world. It was here in 917 that Edward the Elder had his decisive victory over the Danish invaders, and the current church was built on the centre of the battlefield to thank God for his support. Dry Drayton men are also reputed to have invented charcoal (Sigurd the Artist 1104) and the portable candlestick (Jeremiah Tallowtwist 1635).
By a happy coincidence there is also a real Dry Drayton (population c.500), situated just seven miles West of the University town of Cambridge, England, sitting astride the Greenwich Meridian. Drive up the busy M11 from London and the village can be reached by taking the first left turn beyond the end of the motorway. This small village has a great sense of community and the unique nature of its place. This village also has a church, a school and a pub. Local agricultural work has given way to employment in the high technology and service industries linked to the thriving Cambridge economy. On the edge of the village the former animal units of a local farm have been converted into an industrial estate, home to divers small local businesses. Dry Drayton is on the route of the famous Pathfinder Way long distance footpath. There are many clubs and societies in the Village and a long history of stage productions at the Village Hall. Residents enjoy an annual Feast in June, and the village has a superb monthly Newsletter.
Dry Drayton 2000 was an informal group established to celebrate the unique local nature of this place and its community in the Millennium year and was generously supported by the Millennium Festival Awards for All Scheme, Dry Drayton Parish Council and Dry Drayton School and Village Association. The group produced a history of the village entitled Gallows Piece to Bee Garden, a beautiful Parish Map and a booklet on Dry Drayton Footpaths. All are still available for purchase.