|1987, and the end windows still provide access to the view. When|
this photo was taken, things were still pretty much as they had been
in my day. My dog Zara (lying down on the right of the picture)
waits patiently for me to complete my task
pooping on pedestrians below. I was a superhero, not a seagull. (Yup,
I was a nutter even back then.)
|2010, and the windows are now blocked off. Note also the old folks'|
home on he left of the picture, and the railings (with razor wire on
the roof of the small building on the right), giving the school a less
than appealling appearance
gray skies beyond, as rivulets of rain raced down the pane, leaving little
trails in the dirt on the window. As I type this, it's raining outside, and it's
with difficulty that I tear my gaze from the sky to apply myself to the task
of producing yet another historically accurate, rousing reminiscence with
which to thrill and enthrall you. I hope you appreciate all the sacrifices
I make on your behalf.
to be narrowing, as fields and play areas are consumed and crammed
with sheltered housing for the elderly or squashed, tiny houses or flats
for those climbing the property ladder. For someone who grew up in a
new town in the 1960s, with its wide open spaces and acres of greenbelt
for as far as the eye could see - and beyond - the disappearance of those
green areas is casting a claustrophobic shadow over what was once an
open and spacious place in which to live.
|Close-up of part of the view from the back windows|
My town currently has a new schools programme underway, in
which a new school is built and then the old one demolished, suppos-
edly freeing up land on which to erect housing. One thing that strikes me
about these new buildings is that they have far fewer windows than their
predecessors, in many cases resulting in pupils only having four walls to
tare at ('though no doubt the classrooms are brightly-lit), as opposed to
a view beyond a window. It must be like living in a prison. Even where
the classrooms do have windows, they're high-up, narrow ones,
which allow no sight of the scenery (such as it is) beyond.
|The same room as above and below. As you can see, the pupils had|
quite an expansive view before the windows on one side were covered
primary classrooms. The above photo was taken around 1986, about 16
years after I had left for secondary school. Apart from new desks, every-
thing was much as I remembered it. As you can see, two of the walls have
large windows, through which the pupils have a view of houses and fields
outwith the school. In the photo below, taken in the same class in 2012,
one side has had its windows covered so that it can be utilised for pinning
up pictures, etc. This wasn't restricted to that one room; that entire side
of the school had all the windows blocked off, restricting the pupils'
view of the wider world outside.
|2012. Dull, dreary, dismal and despairing.|
I'm glad it wasn't like this in my day
Maybe there's no correlation, but I can't help wondering if narrowing
people's horizons may also narrow their dreams and aspirations. As a
schoolboy, I used to explore the clouds from the comfort of my desk, and
felt free and unfettered. What do today's schoolkids dream of, or explore
in their imagination with only the claustrophobic confines of four walls
to 'inspire' them?
Any thoughts on the matter?