No, I have not just sat down on a drawing pin.
‘Eyke’ is the name of a village through which I often drive. The word is genuine: it is a real-life word meaning ‘oak tree’ in Old Scandinavian. But nobody seems to live there. I never see anyone standing up there or walking along the village street: the place is apparently lifeless. It had a shop until last year, a shop so dark that I don’t know what it sold; but that suddenly closed as if there were no customers.
Perhaps the inhabitants have all been driven away by plague or even killed by traffic not obeying its electronic 30 mph sign; but as with most deserted settlements it is unlikely that one explanation alone conveys the truth. Indeed, perhaps it is not a deserted village at all in that it has never been occupied i.e. it was built but people never moved in so it has always been empty.
PS Of course it was bound to happen. The first time I drove through Eyke a few days after writing the above, I saw a man standing at the bus stop. He was somewhat portly, in his fifties and dressed all in black.
Thinking about this sighting afterwards, I began to have doubts. I did not see him move: he was just standing there, static. Could he possibly have been just a dummy, put there perhaps by someone who had read my controversial note about Eyke? Furthermore, I doubted whether Eyke still had a bus service, so my suspicions increased.
All was clarified on my return journey three hours later. By pure chance, as I approached Eyke I had to join a line of traffic which had accumulated behind a dark red double-decker bus. It was a 65, the service which runs between Ipswich and Aldeburgh; I did not know that it ran through Eyke. It pulled into the roadside outside the boarded-up shop and stopped – and guess who got off! Yes, it was the man dressed in black; so he was not a dummy.
But that the man dressed in black waited at the Eyke bus-stop and then dismounted from a 65 bus there on the other side of the road three hours later does not prove that he is an Eyke resident. I need much stronger evidence than that to undermine my contention that Eyke is empty.