Tuesday, 21 July 2009

I want to live somewhere nice

Back when I was growing up, my neighbourhood was a nice place to be. It wasn’t rich, it wasn’t poor, but it had decent folk from all nationalities and everyone got along. We had neighbourhood parties where we ate jerk chicken alongside cucumber sandwiches, we danced to reggae and roxy music, and people tended their gardens and waved to each other in the street.

Now litter blows from one end to the other. Gone are most of the neighbours that we used to know, their gardens replaced with ill-kept driveways. Teenagers patrol the streets on low-slung bicycles, casting about disdain and boredom in equal measures. Cars get scratched, police sirens and helicopters rule the night, and you know not to come home after dark. No one knows their neighbours anymore, and people hide behind their front doors.

Three incidents just this year alone – a violent alteration in the street outside my house in the early morning hours that led to a shooting, neighbourhood kids throwing stones at passers-by, and calling the police when I saw a man beat a woman to her knees in the street. I’ve just had enough of this place of no respect, where people and property mean naff all, and all you see is rubbish everywhere. Some neighbourhoods go up in London and some go down, and mine has been on a downward spiral for the last ten years. It may get better in forty years time, but it is going to get a lot worse first.

I hate not feeling safe in my home. I hate worrying about kids two doors down throwing stones at my cats (and at me!) when in the garden. I hate worrying about my mum being there on her own when I am not with her. I have to find somewhere new for all of us. No pressure then.

But where is nice? I want to feel safe and be surrounded by green trees and gardens. I want neighbours who say hello when you see them, who grow vegetables and cheerfully walk their dogs. I want a train line where the seat cushions are connected to the seats and people don’t spit on the platforms. I want a period house with some sort of period detail – like some tiles, or a fireplace. I want a shed full of plastic plant pots waiting to be filled and a garage for the car I don’t have. I want a grocer selling local produce. Heck – throw in a forge, I want that too. I want a nice restaurant and a pub with timbered low ceiling and real ale. I want to be able to get my mum and J’s mum sweet little cottages in the same street as mine, near yet far. I want some sort of local tea shop that sells cupcakes, and a nice bookshop. I want to be able to go for a walk without worrying about straying into the wrong areas. I want some peace, and no sirens.

I’m not sure this place exists but I will keep searching for it. And keep buying lottery scratch cards!

11 comments:

Rose said...

oh yes me too. The home in my dreams is a tiny country style cottage with enough room for a garden and vegetable garden. This cottage has roses round the door and a little front garden.

It's also based in central London and only exists in my dreams.

It's all about buying the lottery tickets- and possibly writing a best selling series of not too high brow novels!!

Jayne said...

and possibly writing a best selling series of not too high brow novels!!

Hahahaha! Like it!

And I love the sound of that cottage - is there another next door? :)

musicobsessive said...

Good luck with your search, I fear you may need a Tardis to achieve your goal as your requirements match exactly the sort of village that existed in the 1950s or possibly the 1930s.

If you find such a place today it will be scorned as out of touch and dated. There will be no Broadband or even electricity unless it is conveyed on pylons across fields of pasture filled with chewing cows. There will be no post office and the annual bus service will have ceased to run years ago.

Sometimes you really do feel so sad that England has become such a wretched place. In the last 100 years it has won two great wars and dismantled a massive empire in largely civilised manner yet look at it now. But you never know, around the next corner...

Shaylen Maxwell said...

I hate not feeling safe in my home too. I wish I could move far north, to where there are fields of expansive green, lush forests, no crime, and that quiet I remember from childhood. I moved out of my hometown for that reason, that it got that way, and it's here now too. It's sad. I find myself longing for a quieter time, and a quieter place, and I'm not even sure that if I did up and move again, I'd even find it.

Aspiring Writer said...

Oh, Jane. That was really poignant and lovely. I hope you find a nice place one day. Keep searching...

Jayne said...

Hi Martin - I know... but being a city dweller means that I am positive the right place for me is in the country. Surely there must be nicer places somewhere? All I hear in my head is the Pet Shop Boys singing 'go West!'. Cornwall would be nice, I think.

Jayne said...

Hi Shayleen - that place you describe in the far north sounds lovely - especially lush forests and no crime. I know what you mean about wondering whether there is a quiet nice place out there though - sometimes it seems a case of 'the grass is always greener', but I love imagining somewhere lovely and peaceful. And then imagining leads to writing... :)

Jayne said...

Thank you so much Joanne. I'll keep searching, and hoping!

~She Poet~ said...

Came to your blog through Aspiring Writer. This post sounds so much like me and where I live now and used to live. Everywhere I live drama follows me. I thought I was the only one who felt this way. I can especially relate to the last line of searching and buying lottery tickets! Just bought one today in fact. Keep searching, some ppl say you can run but can't hide and certainly there's the potential for chaos or violence anywhere there's ppl. However, I'm a believer and still continue to find my oasis somewhere on this planet that overlooks a beautiful serene part of nature. Good luck in your endeavors! Don't give up!

Jayne said...

Hello She Poet! Sorry it took so long to reply to your lovely comment. I'm a believer too - hope you find your oasis! And thank you for the encouragement. :)

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