Monday, 1 December 2008

There is no escape

Like a great many other people I live most of my life in one place. A couple of times a week I make a foray into nearby Beeston to do my twice-weekly shops. My visits to Nottingham city centre are less frequent, perhaps once a fortnight. And, all too occasionally, I travel further afield to visits places, family and friends. This is something I would like to do more of. I speak on the telephone with friends all too little, with some I exchange emails and with a few I exchange hand-written letters. Then, of course, I blog, and now I have a website as well.

I stay in touch with the wider world in a variety of ways: The Guardian is delivered, I listened to Radio 5 (and Radio 4)and I watch the BBC-TV evening news, East Midlands Today and Newsnight. I look at several websites most days.

I consider my life to be full. I do a few things I don’t really want to do any more. I see local friends and neighbours most days and, generally, feel content and happy with my personal and family life. As a pensioner, I consider myself to be lucky compared to others, given the things I have been able to do during my life.

Whilst I could escape from the wider world by not reading, listening or watching anything, it is not something I want to do. The things I, selfishly, want to escape from, but I cannot, are those which impinge of the quality of my daily life in Lenton and Nottingham: the inconsiderations and lack of aforethought which make it difficult to cross a busy road, the closing of my local post office, the loss of local services, the way local community groups and individuals are treated, the sullenness of some bus drivers and shop assistants, who never look at you. Yesterday, it was receiving a ‘phone call about a house of Derby Road which stands one corner of a major road junction and has been allowed by Nottingham City Council to steadily decay, even though people appear to be living in the house, despite boarded up windows on the ground floor. Just one more example of the city council’s indifference towards Lenton.

In the face of these things two things lift me above them: other people who also care and my own determination to try and make things better in my little part of the world for myself and others. If you want to make the world better, you have to be involved. There is no other way. In short, there is no escape!

Britain's first ID cards, issued last week with fingerprint and facial details, cannot be read by any official body because the government has not issued a single scanner.

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