First Round: Green unpleasant land

When The Blackstone Group’s Chad Pike – a US national who was previously co-head of the firm’s real estate arm and is now vice-chairman of Blackstone Europe – bought a family home in Edington, a tiny Wilshire village not far from Stonehenge, he probably thought he was acquiring a little slice of English country paradise (albeit largely for weekend use only).

However, if a recent story in the Times of London is to be believed, it’s not turning out to be quite as idyllic as he presumably hoped.

Despite the Pikes’ generous attempts to ingratiate themselves with the locals – which include, reportedly, donating £60,000 to the village church, renovating the village pub and even opening a shop to sell produce from his land – there now appears to have been a major falling-out, according to the Times.

Some of the neighbours are apparently up in arms about all the building development that’s been going on Chez Pike in the last couple of years (as you’d expect from a man who made his money in property investment). There’s also lots of sniffiness about the pub, which Pike has converted into a posh gastro-establishment called The Three Daggers. And most heinous of all: the villagers have discovered that Pike has been marketing the place as a tourist destination via a US ‘travel experiences website’.

Hang on: so your new guy has fixed your church organ, renovated your pub and tried to attract tourist custom that will boost the local economy – and you’re complaining about him to the newspapers?

On behalf of all right-minded Englishmen, First Round would like to apologise officially to Chad and the Pikes. Yes, he has a comedy American name. But whatever happened to our Great British hospitality?