Tuesday, 4 October 2016



I've written before about how, when visiting previous neighbourhoods in which I once lived, I'd often feel that, if lost in thought, I could absent-mindedly walk up the path of any of my former homes, insert my key in the lock, and enter to find everything just as it was in my day.  It'd feel like the most natural thing in the world if it were so.

There's one old home where that illusion is becoming difficult to maintain though, due to the many significant  changes, deletions and additions to the surrounding environs.  Fields vanished, schools and churches demolished (and rebuilt in a different style), more houses crammed into seemingly ever-narrowing streets, etc.


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Were I to sit in the living-room, I'm sure I'd be able to mentally recapture the mood of the place as it was when I resided there, but it would be a gossamer, temporary effect, which would dissolve whenever I looked out of a window at  a changing terrain, in many ways dramatically different to how it was back in my day in the  '60s and early '70s.

The same thing is happening where I currently live. There was once a quiet stretch of road between the top and bottom of the hill on which my house is situated, but new houses and flats are being erected, the result of which will be to congest a formerly open and spacious area, and destroy any remnant of a once expansive view from the top of the road.  It's called 'progress', so I'm told.


So why does 'progress' so often ruin that which seems already ideal?  Horizons are narrowing, dreams are diminishing, and hope is faltering.  The world is closing in around us, robbing us of space and sky, and vistas of distant kingdoms that once held us in their thrall.  The world is getting smaller, my friends, and soon there won't be enough personal space for anyone.

"Oh give me land, lots of land, under starry skies above - don't fence me in" run the lyrics of an old song.  Too late, alas!  It won't be too long 'til the last fence post is planted, and the final nail hammered in.  Prepare to kiss your far horizons goodbye.


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Anonymous said...

Kid, isn't that just a "nimby" attitude ? You've got a house to live in so why shouldn't other people ? People have to live somewhere.

paul Mcscotty said...

A few of my old homes wouldn't have existed if fields etc hadn't vanished or areas having been built on, so I can't really complain about that happening now. What does annoy me is when homes (in particular my old homes) in some cases have been run down by the current residents when they are not looking after the houses or they are vandalised (a modern plague it seems). Saying that I don’t have that "link" to my old homes that you have , the few times I have revisited some of them I have felt they were so much "smaller" than I remember (as has the surrounding area) probably as I recall the houses being larger as I was obviously a kid back then. Some of the my previous homes I liked the house, but wasn't that keen on the town / village etc that it was in (being too small – I’m a city boy at heart) so in those cases I was happy to leave the bricks and mortar but can still recall nice memories. I must say that I never understand why in Central Scotland in particular we build so extensively in our existing towns/ cities themselves (like EK) where there is more room around the borders of them (and not all are greenbelt areas).

Kid said...

I can always rely on you to miss the point, CJ - which is: My town was built to accommodate Glasgow overspill. Glasgow was just too crowded and people were living on top of one another. When my town was designed, it was designed to be open and spacious so that residents didn't feel suffocated by their surroundings. In the two instances I mention in my post, they're prime examples of current planners cramming houses into spaces that are really too small for them, eating up play-fields and grassy areas that kids play in. The result of this is that an even greater number of kids (as a result of more houses) have fewer places to play, and the whole neighbourhood becomes over-populated and suffocating, which detracts from the overall living experience of the entire populace. More people might have houses to live in, but the quality of their lives is less than it could be, in my view. In effect, these areas become overcrowded ghettos of a sort, where you can't turn around and see a bit of green or blue. Unless one looks directly up or down that is. Of course, there's also the nostalgic aspect of me deploring things being different to what I knew in my day, but hey - what do you expect on a nostalgia blog?!


I CAN understand why they build within the towns, PM, and thereby eat up pleasant areas of greenery that provide an oasis of open space amidst the concrete structures. It's because our 'masters' realize that it's inevitable that greenbelt areas around the towns will eventually HAVE to be built on, but they're trying to delay the process by using any green (or brown) areas within those towns. As I said (and as you know), new towns in Scotland were built to accommodate Glasgow's (and other cities') overspill, but the way they're becoming overcrowded, more new towns will eventually be needed to house the overspill from the new towns. And then, one day, it will begin again. Catch 22, eh?

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