Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Urban Diary

One, two, three, four, yet another two bookies luring poor people in through their open doors. Five, six, seven, eight, Poundland and Coscutter are for the poor their only date.

Thirteen years of Labour gave us roulette wheels, betting shops and super casinos. Four years of Tory-led coalition have filled these places up with the desperate and the looked-down-upons. I walk down the newly refurbished area in my barrio (newly as in recent, as in ten years old roughly) and witness the opportunities: the new Jamaican takeaway, the chic-looking café and the well-stocked patisserie. But they are outnumbered by the fast joints and the betting shops: KFC, Dixie’s and Texas Fried Chicken on the one hand; Coral, Paddypower and Betfred on the other one. At both ends, north and south, Costcutter and Poundland ensure that the merchandise produced cheaply abroad is always in demand here.

The only option?
Suddenly out of the corner of my eye I spot a couple of school kids. I don’t need to look at the logo on their blue uniforms to know which primary they go to. They can’t be older than 10, so probably Year 5. They are not holding their mum’s hand, so sure they are of themselves. In the morning crowd they blend easily with the early throng of commuters. Yet, something calls my attention.

It’s their posture. They don’t drag their feet and they don’t stoop; they walk erect, tall, proud. They laugh a lot but keep the same straight posture. Like two black stems rising from the bare earth amongst rocks and brambles. Their demeanour means something, but I don’t know what. Against the backdrop of the popular greasy spoon opposite Tesco and next-door to the recently-opened Pawnbroker’s, I want to find a meaning to their presence here, other than the only logical explanation: they are going to school. The sole thought in my head is that they are the future, a future marked by their steps: one, two, three, four, no more bookies on our door. Five, six, seven, eight,  a different future we want to create.

© 2014

Next Post: “Sunday Mornings: Coffee, Reflections and Music”, to be published on Sunday 18th May at 10am (GMT)

21 comments:

  1. Maybe they are there just to make you ask questions? I say that did that lol then go to school

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  2. There's nothing more important than education. So many of our young people have lost sight of what a privilege it is - they can't believe that children across the world walk miles just to go to school.

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  3. Interesante punto de vista.
    Saludos

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  4. I agree with Jo...so many of us in this part of the world take education for granted.
    In less privileged countries, I bet it is almost unheard of for children to play truant.
    We may complain about life in the UK, but we do have a lot to be grateful for! :)

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  5. I think your reasoning for what you witnessed is a hope, a wish, a dream of a better world in the future for your children and for all who are children today, CiL, and you were seeing the possibility of it in this pair.

    I recall this age vividly -- ten, eleven, twelve -- as the age of discovery and, very possibly, the happiest years of my life. I even proclaimed to the world at the age of eleven that I wished I could stay eleven forever. I never have felt that way about another year. I wonder if these two might have been experiencing the same feeling.

    This is the time of life when childhood begins to end, and some of us understand that when we are in the midst of it.

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  6. La felicidad de los niños con la inocencia les hace caminan erguidos y con orgullo pues bien saben que hay que mantenerse rectos en la postura.
    Un abrazo.

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  7. children are the future and educated in the right ways could help to create a better future....

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  8. Sweet post...makes me think of my oldest who graduates from high school next Sunday. Many kids walk by our house to and from school and it is great to see them interact with each other...it's also fun to watch them year after year...and wonder what they will decide to do with their education!

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  9. When I am my most cynical and pessimistic about the world and humankind, I think perhaps the new generation will change things. It has happened before and I hope it will happen again.

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  10. so true...they are the future and will inherit the world we create and have created...and it is our job to teach them....to make it a better place

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  11. The decisions that we as a society make now certainly impact the world that others will inherit. Well demonstrated in your post by contrasting the gamblers with the school-aged kids. Thanks for making us think.

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  12. What a beautifully written piece! I love the picture of those two confident school kids.

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  13. so important that we teach them to walk upright and also how to make a change in this world

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  14. *Like two black stems rising from the bare earth amongst rocks and brambles*
    I love that description of the school kids posture.

    They are the future so we need to teach them well.
    I have hope for the future with the coming generation.

    Great post, thank you.

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  15. Education is vitally important and I know our children will help change the world. Sad that some natures don't agree!

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  16. I'd have the same question. What are they doing, if too far from their school, or at the wrong time to be boarding a bus..
    Their posture does tell us a lot, doesn't it?

    I'm so enjoying these vignettes, a true glimpse into a city I have not seen.

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  17. I hope those boys will have a future at all.

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  18. I think the future is in good hands.. or at least it can be. Some of it is up to them. Some is up to us.

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  19. You have a keen eye, a skilled pen, and this is a powerful piece. Wow. Embracing the future with hope is a gift.

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  20. Very well said. May education, hope, and opportunity keep those youngsters walking tall.

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  21. Thanks for your kind words. Much appreciated. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday.

    Greetings from London.

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