A different pace of life…
There is something fascinating about narrow boats. I suppose they represent a slower pace of life away from the madness of modern life. They might be slow, but they get there. Someone has nicked all the lighting from the canal and stripped out the cable; it would have been dark staying there overnight. No wonder they are traveling in a convoy. Most of the boats have television aerials and some even have satellite dishes. That dog looks happy enough on the tow path and his owner was reading the paper. Farther up the tow path they were sitting on the benches having a little barbecue. They have all moored on that one side of the canal though and all is not what it seems. The local people tend to walk down this side, because if they walk down the other side it leads nowhere. The drunks on their way home from the pub, the graffiti artists and the odd jogger.
There used to be lock keepers and pubs along the canal that would welcome the boatmen, I suppose all that has gone and it’s not such a good life now. It’s the same on the roads. I used to be able to drive through Dudley into Shropshire and be in Bewdley in about 30 minutes. Now we have a new road to Dudley, then the bypass past Dudley and it takes twice as long. Darlaston, otherwise known as Darlo has never been the prettiest place in the world. It looked like a demolition site when I was a kid, but it had a roundabout with flowers growing on it. That is now stupid traffic lights that cause a tail back all down the Walsall road. They built a new health centre and put the car park at the back and built right up to the road. If they had put the car park at the front, then in years to come they could have widened the road more easily. Planners have no sense; they block roads off around Darlo, make the pavements jut out into the road and make things worse. You have to start out in August to do your Christmas shopping these days. Everything has to be centralised. If the people of want to go down the council, they used to go down the town hall. Now they have to go to Walsall, bloody miles away. The social security office in Pinfold Street and Job Centre has closed and so that’s more travelling. The nearest hospital is in Walsall and it’s not just Darlo is it?
The madness is all over the Black Country these days. Schools becoming academies, art galleries with pink bloody windows and traffic wardens on the prowl around Morrison’s car park in Wednesbury. There is politically correct madness everywhere especially from the council and anything to do with health. They love their acronyms and committee-speak; no sexism, racism or anti-gay stuff; but it’s alright to discriminate against the stupid local people and treat them like second class citizens. They try to control everything with leaflets telling us what to do, roads that are laid out in such a way they wouldn’t put up with in the Royal borough of Sutton Coldfield or in Solihull. The stupid people need humps to slow them down and traffic lights to cross the roads. The councils turn whole neighbourhoods into slums and then ask for lottery grants for a park, so we have somewhere to walk the pit bull. Youth clubs and social clubs have closed down everywhere and those other bastions of community spirit, the pubs have been disappearing to. We sit in our little boxes night after night watching politically correct, multiracial gay programs in widescreen and updating Facebook with smart phones. Baby has his first poo and we tell the bloody world, with full colour photographs. Then there is Twitter where you can ‘follow’ your idols of the widescreen idiot box, where they will tweet everything from their bowel habits to how often they change their false eyelashes.
This is supposed to be a deprived area, but the fake tan salons and tattoo parlours seem to do alright. I blame the BBC for putting all that Essex and Eastenders crap on. Remember the days when there was the BBC computer and they tried to do some educational stuff. I used to watch the Open University programs on a Saturday morning too. Whatever happened to those? We used to have some comedy too like Ballykissangel, Only Fools and Horses, Allo Allo, Last of the Summer Wine and Dad’s Army. I can’t stand that gay reality television.
They should make a movie in the Black Country; a comedy. I could write the script! Something like ‘Open all Hours’, but Black Country. We could do something really different, have working class white people in it who have no gay friends. I could do a ‘Are you being served?’ style sitcom based on a group of people working in a large store selling tech stuff. I wonder if Curry’s would sponsor that? Can you imagine Frank Skinner in the lead role trying to sell a 3D telly to an incontinent pensioner who just only popped in to use the loo on the way to the Manor hospital? We would get a few laughs out of someone driving around the Black Country through the chicanes and over the humps, too. We could feature junction 9 of the M6 motorway, every time we needed a bit of excitement. Can you imagine Frank phoning Sandwell Council to report a pot hole in the road. Press 1 to report a pothole, press 2 if you’re constipated… Please hold until a member of staff is available; cue ‘play tinny version of Mozart’s 4th’ for 30 minutes then forward the call to Bangalore.
I just picked my post up, there was a letter with a first class stamp on it. That got my attention. Who can afford a first class stamp these days?
There are more amazing blogs on the home page.
- Wednesbury remembered… (mike10613.wordpress.com)
- The Black Country – be proud of it (mike10613.wordpress.com)
- It’s enough to drive you nuts… (mike10613.wordpress.com)
- Spring has sprung… (mike10613.wordpress.com)
- Creativity in the Black Country? (mike10613.wordpress.com)
- Sandwell or Solihull? (mike10613.wordpress.com)
- Writer’s block (mike10613.wordpress.com)
- New Metro route as part of £289m town revamp (expressandstar.com)