Wednesday 6 May 2009

Safe places and unsafe places

My local B & Q on a wednesday afternoon, 'diamond card' day and 10% off, for the over sixties , is a very safe, respectful place. By contrast, for this old boy, Rochester High Street on a sunny, summer saturday afternoon a couple of weekends ago, felt a very unsafe, disrespectful place. It was the province of young people congregating in groups, occupying the pavements and forcing all and sundry, not just the old , to cross the road to avoid them. The two young girls cavorting on the pedestal half way up the stone memorial dedicated to local men who died in the First World War, did upset me. Younger pedestrians who saw these youngsters posing and having their photos taken by a friend on her mobile phone might have said :

" Just kids having fun".

I had an uncle who fought in that War. He was on a tram in Woolwich when a young lady came up to him, smiled and put a white feather in his button hole. He was 16 at the time, lied about his age and immediately joined up. My Grandparents decided not to intercede. He went into the trenches in 1915 and was gassed in 1918. When he came home at the age of 20, my Mother, his sister, told me :

"He looked like an old man".

Sadly, Britain has become a country with no time for old men and little or no respect for dead men.

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