‘Progress’ has robbed us of our identity

IMAGINE this. An island in the English Channel where children can go out in the road and play football, tig, hide and seek, hopscotch and many other games, with no fear of being mowed down by a 4x4 or another over-sized, far too powerful vehicle. Also an abundance of corner shops open six-and-a-half days a week run mostly by families. Public houses open from 10am to 11pm and shut on Sundays, a day that was considered as a holy and family day. A bus service that passed by every 15 to 20 minutes. A choice of three cinemas at which you could go in halfway through a film and stay to watch it start over and stay until you got to the point you had entered. Food back-up stores so shops were not sitting with empty shelves if the boats did not run because of bad weather. A Town market with the smell of fresh meat, fruit and flowers. Families where the housewife stayed home and tended the needs of her family and the men were the breadwinners. Schools that started at 9am and finished at 4pm. An island with local characters in abundance. A place where the government did the job for the love and interest of its people. An island that business people only wanted to save enough to live in retirement comfortably and not be millionaires. A place where pensioners who worked all their lives got a liveable amount of money to see their days out and not have to pay income tax on their pensions. An island where people loved and helped their neighbours. Also having a vibrant Town with shops full of items that people could afford and buildings were all occupied because tenants could afford the rent. Buses full of children with streamers hanging out the windows flying harmlessly in the wind as they enjoyed a sing-along on an afternoon picnic. A place with a lovely harbour locals could walk along to its entrance and sit on seats watching the boats and the world go by while others would fish off the top walls. A harbour with no marinas and there were small punts for hire so people could row around it and enjoy the roll of a gentle wave and the smell of the sea air. Even a place where a couple of social football leagues were run for players with less time or skills to enjoy at very little cost and get exercise while making friendships that would last for life. A place with many more beautiful features – and a laid-back way of life that, to mention them all would take up more than a page – but if you can imagine the few mentioned above you have Guernsey as people of my generation knew it. The Guernsey we grew up in. The Guernsey that greed and bad governing destroyed. You have an island race that had its own identity. Everyone knows that times change – but I cannot help thinking that sometimes progress can go backwards and in our case it definitely has.


5 Rosemount

Mont Arrive

St Peter Port

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