It is worth noting that the word 'Utopia' comes from the Greek meaning 'no place', hence the implication that an ideal society can never really be achieved. Yet it is to be hoped that we can continually improve our environments getting as close to it as possible. Here are some glimpses of Eardisland, a small village in Herefordshire on the border with Wales.
As I walked around I found it oddly redolent of the last section of Akira Kurasawa's 'Dreams', where we are shown a village living in complete harmony with the world around it, gaining its power through water-wheels.
Eardisland seemed to demonstrate an ease between its interesting and intriguing architecture and the landscape. Here for instance is a magical looking building - actually a 17th century dovecote - that sells local vegetables The sense of peace everywhere - yet without stagnancy - was overwhelming.
"Are you thinking of relocating?" teased one of my friends to a couple passing by.
'"Definitely," was the awed reply.
So what is Eardisland's secret? There will of course be many answers to that, including the variety of flora in abundance, as evident in the picture below.
I would also add that the meandering watercourses in place of the straight lines, the killing ch'i, of roads, is a huge factor. So, how was all this achieved? The secret was told on a notice at the centre of the village. Apparently there was a campaign for the A44 to bypass the village which previously had been choked by traffic. The campaign was successful, granting the village and its occupants serenity and - to paraphrase - 'the chance to quietly get on with our lives'.