Friday, May 31, 2013

It's Grim Up North

Hi,

So.

[ pauses to stare at the blank screen for a moment..... ]

I was - am? - in two minds about this evening's post. Not so much that it's a surprise expose - OMG! Tubby dude in a dress! - but more that I don't really have any burning desire to get anything off my chest. I mean, the week has been good to me - all things considered (half term and all that) - and we're edging ever closer to the warmer rays of summer. There, that's the obligatory weather comment out of the way too. :-)

I 'd like to talk a bit about the recently BBC article on my home town, Nottingham. According to this article, it seems one of the poorer districts of the city, namely The Meadows, is hitting rock bottom. It is, if the media and certain southerners are to be believed, It's Grim Up North. :-)

Really? Well, Nottingham isn't The North, it's the Midlands. Honestly, what do they teach in schools these days? ;-) Mind you, for years, I thought Essex was really the Isle of Dogs, but that's just a weak gag at the expense of breast exposing, orange faced, fluffy haired, over-groomed, barely literate tarts...... and the women are as bad. :-) At least, if your only frame of reference is the cast of TOWIE.

Iffy north/south jibes aside, Nottingham does not have a good press. I like the city and I like the people here. It is a place that can't quite make up its mind over being a city of the north or the south. For anyone who's lived/worked in more northern climes, there is a different attitude - I hasten to add the words 'in general'. Friendlier, or at least chattier. Please note I'm not saying that you can draw a line from the Wash to Bristol and on one side, one half will invite you for tea & biscuits, while the other half will snub you. As I said to Wee Man the other night: 90% of people are okay, 5% really cool and 5% are twits. Neither 'side' is better, just different, I guess.

So, The Meadows - or if you live locally, The Medduz - is an inner city council estate for the most part. If the story is to be believed, it is one of the poorest parts of the UK. Nottingham City Council are saying the figures aren't accurate and have posted a response, which makes for interesting reading. Which one is true? Both? Neither? I can't say. I will say that there are some very deprived areas and from past experience working with the Councils - we have two and I don't know why, but we do - they do try to push resources into those areas. Like most of local governments right now, they're feeling the pinch of the cuts and while I'll not debate such reductions are a good or bad idea, we have them and that's that.  What I will say, is that it can't be easy living that close to the breadline.

In some small way, the Jones Clan is a bit like that. On one hand, a set of relatives are very well off and although there's a bit of grumbling about how the firm - BTW, not the firm as in organised crime, okay? :-) - isn't doing so well, said family chap (Lord Jones?) is still very flush. Compare that to another branch of the Jones Massive (not us I should add), who were for a time struggling to keep food in the cupboards. Christmas for them was rather tricky and although we set a rule of 'no more than a tenner' for presents, we cheated and hid extras in their stockings. Mind you, if you win something or someone else gives you it, you didn't pay, so strictly speaking, it's not against the rules is it? :-)

So where is this wandering post getting to? Really? I've no idea. Maybe I should enjoy what I have right now, which isn't a bad start. Maybe, if things go a little pear shaped, it would be good to remember that there are folk not so far from me, who are not as well off.

Take care,
Lynn

8 comments:

  1. I saw that article and thought of you. Not because I thought you'd live in the Medduz of course, you are a classy lady, but because I knew you lived in the environ. I always thought of Nottingham as being a pleasant kind of a place, so was somewhat surprised by the article tbh.

    Hope you are weathering being from there anyway. We don't think any less of you. Rest assured... :o) x

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    1. Much as I love the city, I like the rolling green hills and trees more. It's funny. I didn't think I'd miss them when I moved from home, but standing in our first house, I did.

      From a geography point of view, The Meadows is a bit of a mish-mash. It's partly old school terraced houses, modern council and 80s microflats. A few workmates lived there and it's quite a small area - at least compared to the bigger estates.

      I used to walk or cycle through it on the way to and from work, but while it was poor, it never felt rough or dangerous. Not like St Anns.

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  2. Yes, the idea of Nottingham being grim is stupid. It's based on the supposedly relatively high (but still very small) percentage of gun crime, the implication being that we're a city of mad eejits going round shooting people.

    No, the gun crime that exists is drug/gang-related and is limited to a few estates (e.g. St Anne's, The Meadows). From my own limited experience (fwiw), going into the city night and day for 35 years or so: I've never seen any serious violence at all.

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    1. Indeed. I remember seeing the stats about gun crime and did a check up on them. It seems that most researchers use the stats for Nottingham City. An area - which you probably know - takes in a few of the poorer / more crime ridden areas - and leaves out the much larger, leafy suburbs where most folk live. Hence, it looks like we have worse gun crime that we do.

      The drug violence has dropped off significantly. Partly due to the fact that the Police have done a huge amount to combat it and also charities working to stop kids tooling up / carry knives.

      I'm with you on the comment about serious violence. I've seen a few drunken idiots, but no more than I'd seen in my (much smaller) home town.

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  3. There is the touch of vicious circles to it as well. I grew up in a, how can we put it, not the best area. It was expected that you either ended up in crime or a dead end job.

    I was lucky, I had seriously supportive parents who worked all hours to ensure that me an my brother didn't notice just what our position was and encouraged us to work hard in school and get out of area.

    A lot of the people I went school with didn't have that advantage, their parents really didn't care - and you see that in time they do the same with their kids.

    Even the schooling system doesn't help. I saw an ofsted report that said the school was doing really well, considering the children coming into the school. I couldn't believe that saying the kids are all no hopers means that not guiding them to good results means 'well, what do you expect with detritus like this?'

    I had it when I was in school, I was told not to aim too high, that Uni and a decent job was maybe something that I should not be getting my hopes up for.

    Thank goodness for the support from my parents!

    Stace

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    1. Crikey. That's very scary, but not unheard of. Dare I say, you all did well to break out of that trap. I've read of late that both UK and US society is far more less mobile that it was. The idea you could come from nothing and go to the top, that seems to be less common.

      An old school mate said that when he was in primary, lots of the others would say "why bother, we can just get a job in the factories." Which was fine, until they closed the manufacturing down. :-\

      It's Middle Class Central here. So it's all about education and pushing your kids..... or in our house, it's all about trying and trying to keep a perspective that (to us, at least), a child's emotional stability and the time to be a child (play, fall over, make mistakes, learn, have fun, etc) are as important.

      Can you make kids learn if they're not interested? I think a really good teacher helps. I know Wee Man had a chap he really clicked with and his school work just raced along. Sadly, he moved to another year and the new teacher wasn't able to focus him. Tricking stuff, teaching. Perhaps trickier still if the parents don't give a hoot.

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    2. Like I say, I was really lucky with my parents. They may not have had money, but they did everything they could for me, and pushed me to do what I wanted to do, and not settle for what others said of me.

      I do often wonder whether fighting to get out of the area made me more able to live with the GID whilst making a life for myself, or the other way around...

      Both situations are examples of life dealing you a bad hand, but having to decide that you are not going to let that decide anything for you.

      Stace

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    3. Yes, good parents: those who care, help and - well - nurture, really. The Jones Clan are pretty family orientated, so on hearing from friends who do not get on with / do not see, their folks, it's surprising. To me at least :-)

      ...fighting...

      I'll skip on the Nietzsche quote, but he has a point (#understatement). That said, you bump into folk as you bumble along in life and some people do let their circumstances (social, personal or physical) define them. The Ever Lovely Mrs J once said in a conversation 'You can choose to stay a victim.' and like of lot of things, she - like Nietzsche - has a point. :-)

      Perhaps if you want something bad enough, the wishing is put aside to doing.

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