I was just reading about a street in Bristol where they close the road to traffic on Tuesdays. The road becomes a playground and meeting place for the residents and their children who are normally isolated in their homes.
The isolated, and elderly in particular, suffer from mental problems due to an almost complete lack of social contact. The supermarket may be their only social life and a hideously meager one at that. Once there was a corner shop where the owner knew every name and family history in the village. Now there is a pre-teenager rushing to empty the checkout belt to make room for more cola cylinders and chocolate bars.
My own rural childhood, back in the 1950s, was almost bereft of traffic. There must have been some but I wasn't really aware of it. The roads were our playgrounds, football stadiums, marbles courts and race tracks for our cycles, pedal cars, sledges and soapbox trolleys. It is a real shock to go back via Google Earth Street View to see cars parked nose to tail. Where once there was only the highly mobile, butcher's van, rare glimpses of the district nurse's Morris Minor or the occasional coal lorry.
The freedom to roam in an affordable car has had a devastating impact on society. Our children suffer from chronic inactivity, respiratory disease and obesity. So that their morbidly obese neighbours can drive the 100 yards to the local supermarket to buy fags, cola and sweets. One might even argue that the car has become a powered wheelchair for many. Without a car, their mobility would be so drastically reduced that they could no longer "enjoy" the lifestyle they have chosen for themselves.
If they decided to make the walk to the shops they would suffer the noise, exhausts fumes, tyre spray and very real dangers of the sociopathic traffic racing to be anywhere else but right there. Drivers are de-facto warders for the countless, involuntary prisoners in their own homes.
Even 'lifers' do not suffer extended solitary confinement. American, death row prisoners have more of a social life than many innocent, elderly people. What was their crime against humanity that the old should suffer such harsh treatment?
Walked to the village. Only three NDEs today. By which I man near death experiences had I not taken to the verge to save my own life from blind-corner-cutting drivers. Is this what they mean by around the bend? Seven cormorants went over in a dead straight line. I hope they are keeping an eye out for aerial commuters and drones. No ride today.
Wednesday 22nd 49F, 10C, very heavy overcast, rain and breezy. A pause in the rain brought out the optimist in me and I toddled off down the flooded drive. The wind turbines were doing their party trick of the wings disappearing into the mist above the nacelle. A Goshawk, or similar with pointy wings, flew over. Followed by sightings of two more birds of prey within a hundred yards. I only managed about three quarters of a mile before it started drizzling heavily. I was soon very wet around the edges. Not helped by all the spray from the traffic. Let me know when I start having fun and I'll start celebrating.
Thursday 23rd 49F, 10C, overcast with rain and wind again. No walk or ride today. Shopped in the car!