Thursday, 3 August 2017
As it never was
Maybe I’m getting more… intractable as I get older. Maybe I mourn something that never truly existed but I’m certainly becoming more frustrated by things these days. People seem less respectful… I don’t know.
A dear friend of the family passed away a couple of days ago and I’m re-assessing things, as we contemplate the possibility of new neighbours.
I have lived here my whole life; I was christened in the church and my mum & dad courted here. So we have deep roots and in that time there have been many changes; changes that even I am more than aware of. Originally the village served the farms in the area, and the manor estate. My granddad toiled the land; these were people that, by and large, worked for a living. They worked to make ends meet and it was even called ‘making a living’ back then. There was none of this concept of free time that everyone seems to prize so highly. People lived off the land, were respectful and mindful of it and others. There was a sense of community, or so it seemed.
(I am well aware that, being heavily myopic, my sight could well be rose tinted, but these are only my own observations.. coloured, if you will, by my experiences. They are not presented as fact, per se –just an opinion. I’m more than willing to put forward the suggestion that I am biased and not the most forgiving of people; or the most tolerant.)
Jon, my next door neighbour was the soul of the community, was well read and admired by all those that came into contact with him. But as the farms dwindled and the original villagers died or moved away, they were replaced by a different crop of people; those who had only ever seen a village on televisual documentaries. They didn’t understand or appreciate him; they had an idealised vision of what country life was and sought to make the reality conform to those whims; often at the cost of other people.
Times change, and what was once considered poor and working class somehow shifts to become the property of the rich elite and forbidden to those who once had nothing else. I use oysters as the metaphor here…. Once part of the stable diet of the true working class: beef and oyster pie was a recognised cheap meal; the oyster actually helping to pad out the meat. But soon the rich recognised the ‘subtle textures’ of the oyster, making up a ridiculous myth that, when eaten raw, it had aphrodisiac properties; and soon the poor could no longer afford such a luxury item. Had the oyster changed at all? Had they become more scarce? No, but the perception of oyster had shifted.
This could easily be applied to living in the country.
And one can understand why. I would never want to work in London. The incessant pace and mindset of that wretched city (and all cities are wretched) would drive me insane. So imagine living there…. I couldn’t do it.
Of course, there is a new breed of person. I don’t know them. Behind me I hear the excessive shouts and catcalls of children, unheeded and ignored by the parents. Children seem much louder and out of control now. The parents being but babes themselves… I was never allowed to carry on like that as a child, and the nearest I got to boisterous behaviour was thrashing stinging nettles with a stick. I certainly had more respect when it came to my elders. This new breed don’t seem to have any –even for themselves. They seem to believe that the world owes them, that they have rights over and above everyone else.. and woe betide you if you think anything to the contrary.
It’s greatly upsetting to me. My home is now an island and feels so vulnerable. Jon was like a rock, the one stable place left of the old village;. of the old world. I sit here and although the sun is out, warm and shining there seems to be a cloud brewing over this particular village. It’s not the same as it never was.