Thursday, 14 February 2008

These trainers are made for walking

It occurred to me last night that I must be of the last generation that knew their home borough intimately within a ten mile radius.

Growing up, many games were played outside in the street, and we all walked and cycled everywhere – we knew every short cut, every alleyway, every turning, every park. We knew the best pond to fish for tadpoles, we’d scrambled down every bank of the nearby stream, and I had possibly climbed every tree with low branches in the whole of the borough. I had my favourite climbing trees, my favourite blackberry bushes, we knew the best hill to cycle down, where to stock up on ‘sticky buds’ and ‘flea darts’ to throw at people, and how to pinch primroses so they fluttered down like parachutes.

I still live in my home borough, and enjoy walking around no matter what the weather, mentally awarding points for pretty gardens as I go. Yes, I am the one that peers at your roses, and no I do not want to steal your gnomes. I do not award points for gnomes, although perhaps if you have a cheeky stone mole dressed as a minor then you may just raise a smile. Mostly, I like people that care about their gardens, as it’s enjoyable for passers by, and I think people that prune are less likely to swear in your face and steal your trainers.

Mostly, I walk in solitary splendour, as everyone else I know prefers zooming around in cars. J prefers a walk that goes from A to B for a reason, as opposed to a walk that drifts round in a circle staring at roses. Good friend R likes walking and exploring with me, except we don’t live in the same place enough to make the most of it, sadly. So mainly it is just me, wandering along.

As I walk around, I realise how much of the borough is now off limits to me, as a careful adult. For example, no, I will not take the short cut through the alley at the back of the football field that goes over the bridge and through the park. In fact, I will probably never see that little bridge again as it is now somewhere that my adult eyes picture mugger/rapist/murderer! hiding behind every bush. I will also not cut through any park (and so miss the gorgeous roses in Park B), or take that side alley around the back of a row of houses (although mostly that was to skid around on my bike and nick wormy apples from a back garden.)

There’s no point in saying I feel sorry for the generation behind me, as they laugh at my sentiment from behind tinted car windows, watching films on hand held DVD players and furiously texting LMFAO to friends. They don’t care about primrose parachutes, and I can’t say I blame them, but it does feel like an awful shame, sometimes.

3 comments:

idil o. calvero said...

oh... why don't you write when i check this site regularly!
cape town? fair enough... well, actually: no. it's not fair. i am quite jelaous about that...

musicobsessive said...

Oh dear! A bit of age creeping in here! I know what you mean - I can still name every street on the estate I grew up on in St Albans, yet I hardly know any around where I currently live. When you drive around you don't look at streetnames...well, not since the crash anyway.
The question is: will my children know them? Hmm...

Jayne Ferst said...

Ah sorry! My posts are a bit sporadic at the moment, mainly as I am trying hard to finish the book before my money runs out! And Cape Town was lovely... not sure that helps to hear though :)

o0o

And I know, I was trying to keep from being all old and nostalgic, looking back with rosy glasses an' all. Failed!