War Memorial Gary Trouton


March 2009

Les tells us why he is glad he not a teenager again!

I wrote last month that I prefer to look forward rather than back; well I've been thinking again of the past. You must forgive me, I think it's my age. What made me think of the past again was a report I saw in the Eastern Daily Press which said that in Kings Lynn and West Norfolk there are some 5,430 people on the housing waiting list.

Years ago when I was a young man, (violins at the ready), our local council seemed to build houses; Buckenham Drive Stoke Ferry is just one example. Living in Methwold, with my name down for a council house, I was allocated one before I was even married. In my day of course there was none of this living together! If you wanted to do that you were expected to get married first. The very thought of sex before marriage was, well of course, disgraceful. In any case it didn't go on then! What was that? How did all these illegitimate children come about? How should I know, I don't know everything.

Today our young people, well most of them I would have thought, have to buy their own homes and I'm not sure if, initially, that's such a good idea. Later on by all means. But is there an alternative? Where are these properties to rent, as was the case in my day? Most people would say we live in a different world today, but that doesn't explain why we are not building houses to rent out to our young people.

So far I have only mentioned housing. Turning to sport I can remember seeing our local football and cricket teams playing on farmers fields, later most villages had their own recreation grounds. In comparison the players must have wondered if they were at Wembley or Lords. How, I wonder, did these come about? Well in those days people showed a certain "something"- a willingness to "go forward." Is that certain "something" around today? I'm not sure.

An example to me is our Social Club here at Methwold. It was originally built just after the First World War and has "progressed" to the modern building it is today. Could this Club have been built today? Yes if you got a grant from the lottery but not otherwise because, as I have said, there is that certain "something" missing. Of course there is good work going on in every village, but not on the scale I'm on about.

I've just thought about our High School here at Methwold. But that was built some 50 to 60 years ago! Goodness knows when the planning for it started. Our Methodist Chapels, Primary Schools, they were major projects of yesteryear, not of today, the only thing we do today is to sell them off or close them.

Any of the developments that have taken place somewhat recently in any of our villages is down to land owners and developers getting their heads together to their mutual advantage, and good luck to them. I would have liked to have seen our parish councils being more proactive in this area.

If we refer to the recent parish appraisals which have been produced by not only Stoke Ferry but Methwold as well, all with good intentions I'm sure. But I fear little will come out of it because, as I have said, that certain "something" isn't there today as it was in yesteryear.

So maybe in preferring to look to the future I could have got it wrong. Maybe the past has had its moments. I can only conclude as I started, young again? No thank you.


Les Lawrence

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