Recent visitors to Glastonbury Tor will have noticed that many of the signs instructing them to keep off the grass, keep off the garlic and keep off the path have been kicked over by angry protesters.
Although this is a fairly civilized campaign, with signs being gently kicked so that they stand at a jaunty angle, the gatekeepers at the tor are not taking this behaviour lying down.
In response, Chief Gatekeeper Titania Bonham-Smythe unveiled a new hand-painted instruction board today at the nimbleness assessment area that explains the purpose of the various Keep Off The signs, and the consequences of being caught disobeying the rules.
Bonham-Smythe explains; “As you know, our members of staff love nothing more than stopping ignorant members of public and telling them fascinating historical facts, but we have had to put this on hold since this protest started. My staff members are spending all day just straightening kicked-over signs.”
But speaking on behalf of the Glastonbury Pilgrims Union, Chief Stairmaster Paul Hompkins is rather more critical of the new instruction board; “while the message appears quite simple – visitors to the tor are told in no uncertain terms that the Keep Off The signs are there for their own good – it’s the small print that has everyone worried. For example, if you are caught kicking over a sign, even by accident, you can find yourself spending a whole afternoon locked in one of the old cells at St. Michael’s Prison. This has already caused quite a problem for some of our older union members who have a hard time making their daily barefoot ascent. We are used to a life of penitence, but we’re really not accustomed to slopping out, and the food is terrible.”
The bid by Glastonbury Horticultural Society to buy Glastonbury Tor from the National Trust moved a step closer to completion today as visitors were met by 100 new Keep Off The Garlic signs.
The signs are part of an experiment to see whether visitors to the tor react favourably to the plans to replant the grass with huge swathes of Garlic and vines if the Glastonbury Horticultural Society buyout is successful.
But critics are concerned that the timing is bad, because last week a new system was introduced requiring visitors to pass a balance test before being allowed to ascend Glastonbury Tor for fear that less nimble visitors would be unable to navigate the complicated Keep Off The Grass and Keep Off The Path signs.
Visitors to Glastonbury Tor will asked to complete a survey to find out which they prefer – garlic or grass – if at least half of the participants prefer garlic then the Glastonbury Horticultural Society buyout will be allowed to proceed.
The sudden appearance of Keep Off The Grass signs all over Glastonbury Tor has caused an outcry. But some people are not just complaining about the reduction in picnic space – a pressure group from the Glastonbury Signwriters Guild has also been fighting their cause.
Spokesman Master Craftsman Cyrus Chuldfield announced today; “our complaint isn’t so much about having to keep off the grass. Members of the guild are working round the clock at the moment repainting the town’s signs to read Glastonbury twinned with Glastonbury so we’re not getting out much. The problem we have is that these new signs were made by the National Trust outside of Glastonbury. For hundreds of years the local bylaws have said you need a signwriting license to make and sell signs in Glastonbury. Signwriting license application forms are available at the reception desk at Glastonbury town council B”.
But Uther Henge, the chief mystical consultant for the National Trust stationed permanently at their gift shop at Glastonbury Tor was keen to defend the Trust; “This was just the standard shipment of a thousand hand-painted signs that every National Trust property receives each year from head office. Over the weekend we managed to put up all five hundred Keep Off The Grass signs, but we still have to put up three hundred Private – Keep Out signs, and fifty Form An Orderly Queue signs. The Glastonbury Signwriters Guild need to realise that if we sourced all of our signs locally we would have to charge over £100 per person for admission to the Tor. We still get guild members to paint many of our signs, so I think it’s a bit rich them complaining. For example, last week we ordered a hundred locally hand painted signs saying Wipe Your Feet You Urchin“.