Jeremy Clarkson, 60, isn’t one to shy away from a fight when it comes to his opinions and most recently he has taken on his local parish council, as they go head to head in a battle over plans for his farm shop on Diddly Squat Farm. Describing councillors as “bitter” people whose mouths “look like cats’ anuses”, the former Top Gear star revealed their run-ins stemmed from very minor issues.
Diddly Squat Farm has been operating since early last year, when Jeremy revealed that he will be filming his new show called I Bought The Farm, which will follow him as he faces the challenges of running, managing, and operating a farm in the UK.
The shop opened for the first time late last year, although it had to close due to the UK regulations surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.
The shop was moved online, where his products could be bought legally but as restrictions changed during the third lockdown, it opened its physical doors earlier this month.
But it’s been nothing short of an uphill struggle.
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Branding the parish council members “small-minded and mad”, he advised readers in his column for The Times: “If you open a farm shop, you’d better get ready for the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse because, trust me, those babies are coming for you with burning knives on the wheels of their chariots.
“My farm shop is tiny but it seems to have landed in this part of the Cotswolds like a nuclear weapon full of sarin gas.
“Sometimes I wish I’d built a mosque instead. Or a bypass. It would have been less controversial,” he retorted.
The Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? host revealed he had been through countless rounds of applying for planning permissions, but noted that some people just like to object to applications for the fun of it.
“My shop had only been open a few days when we received a stern letter warning us that our rather lovely ice cream had been made from the juice of cows that lived eight miles away, in Gloucestershire, and that this contravened a clause that said that we could only sell produce from West Oxfordshire,” he penned.
“Since then we’ve been told that the roof is the wrong colour, that the sign is 0.3 of a metre too wide, that we aren’t allowed to sell teas and coffees, that the gingham covering on the straw bales contravenes Covid regulations, that the car park is a road safety hazard, that the sausage rolls are wrong in some unfathomable way, and that if we were allowed to sell beer, yobbos would come and urinate in the graveyard.”
The Grand Tour star seemed exasperated at the contrast between the behaviour of Londoners and villagers in the countryside, recalling never falling out with a neighbour when he lived in the capital.
“I think that’s because people in a city are forced to live cheek by jowl with one another, they go out of their way to be stoic and tolerant,” he wondered.
“In the countryside, though, contrary to what you see on TV, it’s a very different story.
“If there has never been a farm shop, then there should never be a farm shop. Especially if it’s run by someone who, like me, has lived in the area for only 25 years.”
He went on to joke: “I bet when Alexander Fleming invented penicillin, the village elders ran around saying that diarrhoea had been a part of rural life for hundreds of years and that they wanted to make sure it stayed that way.”
But Jeremy has been left at a loss, unable to identify who has been opposing all his plans to the point he now “distrusts everyone” around him.