Sunday, 1 February 2015

Ships that pass in the night.

Up here in the Yorkshire Dales the population is getting older and older.   'Incomers' (of whom I am one) have retired and bought houses and cottages.   This has meant that house prices have risen dramatically and are not affordable to local young people, who are having to either rent or move out of the Dales altogether.

Also, many of the young people around us would have worked on the farms at one time, but as farm machinery has got more and more expensive, so farmers have begun to sub-contract much of the heavy work (harvesting, silaging, hedge-cutting and laying, stone-walling and the like), so there are fewer jobs available.

So, there are more and more elderly people.   When I was at our local Medical Centre a week ago I was struck by the fact that the waiting room was full and I doubt there was one person on the right side of sixty.

When I go into our little town every week for classes, meeting friends, collecting my pension etc. I tend to see the same people each week.   I don't know them but I have met them often enough to perhaps pass the time of day, or at least smile.  But of their lives I know nothing.   Does this matter?

What set me thinking was an Obituary in The Times yesterday for an inventor and Television presenter called Bob Symes, who died on the 19th January.   Bob was actually born Robert Alexander Baron Schutzmann von Schutzmansdorff into an aristocratic family who lived in a palace on the Ringstrasse in Vienna.   His father was shot by the Nazis and his mother took the family to Britain.  He became a lieutenant commander in the Royal Navy and had an illustrious career, being mentioned in despatches.   But of course, very few people knew this until he died last month at the ripe old age of 90.

I wonder how many people I see every week have stories from their past which would be fascinating.   And does it matter that we know nothing of this?   Probably not.   Up here the locals are much more interested in what you are now that what you did in the past.  Dare I say I think they are pretty quick to judge and rather slow to change that opinion.  Things such as a miserable face, no smile on greeting, no helpful attitude - these are the kind of things which our local population values - and I agree they are very important.  The farmers around us are always helpful to one another - as far as I know this applies to us all.   If one of them drives a tractor into a ditch then another one is there quickly to tow them out - no need to ask.   But wouldn't it be interesting sometimes to find out what some of the 'incomers' did in a previous life?  Or maybe it is all better left unsaid.


mrsnesbitt said...

Very good point Pat. The new residents in our village tend to lead a very independent way of life....wonder how they will cope in an emergency?

Rachel Phillips said...

I sort of think it doesn't matter and live for the present and like people as you find them. Sometimes it is best not to know and even if it isn't happiness today is best and don't spoil it.

Tom Stephenson said...

I do regret not asking my parents more about their early lives before they died, but if they had a shocking past, then maybe it's best left unsaid.

P.S. I like your little 'prove you're not a robot' thing - I might have to get one. I'm being troubled by robots at the moment.

MorningAJ said...

If you don't know the past you can't learn from it. If nobody had ever talked about parents murdered by Nazis we wouldn't know about the horrors of WWII. I think the past is just as important as the present.

Heather said...

Food for thought. It probably doesn't matter whether we know much about each other but I daresay there are plenty who have led very interesting lives.
In a recent Countryfile programme there was a young Somerset couple who had purchased some land and started farming. They couldn't afford to build a farmhouse or buy a local property so rented a flat in Taunton and commuted each day to care for their stock. There is something wrong in the current housing setup.

JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

Interesting topic. I do find that each person that we take the time to get to know on a deeper level always has something in their past that is quite interesting. I am always interested to find out just how someone came to the area where I live. When we lived in very northern California (250 miles north of San Francisco - though most people, even in California, think that the very top of the state IS San Francisco) - anyway - there was a smallish restaurant on a dock - far from cities - but it served delicious food and had a fabulous view of a fishing dock and the ocean bay, and often we would hear foreign languages being spoken and I always wondered just how those people came to be in such a remote area of our country - so far from their homelands.

I have always said that if we would sit down with a stranger and share a bowl of ice cream and talk, there would never be any wars any more, since we are all basically alike and want the same things for our friends and families. Pass the ice cream please.

Mary said...

Hubby reads obituaries to me - the ones that stop you in your tracks, make you do a double take and say - "Wow, I would never have known that".
Regarding housing for the younger generation - here, there seem to be two very distinct groups trying to put a roof over their heads. The under-educated, or unemployed, having to survive on minimum wage, handouts and parents, and the six figure, two income, well-educated young couples buying, building huge homes, and I'm sure praying they keep those well paid jobs so they can hold on to the fancy, much too large, house.
We heard only this week that our city is gaining about 50 new residents A DAY! That's what happens when you make the top of the list of 'best places to live'. Masses of apartment buildings/condos are going up within the city limits - small houses are purchased, then razed, and huge homes are built out here in the suburbs.
Most native southerners are usually very friendly, and the few farmers I've had the pleasure of meeting (like my pumpkin farmer and his wife - they also have cattle) are delightful. Incomers from certain states, you know who you are, can be abrasive and have to learn southern manners!

Pat - the red cabbage casserole turned out perfectly and was awesome for supper last night. I actually had just that with bread - and admit I went back for seconds!!! Thanks for the recipe, such a delightful mix of flavors - I will definitely make it again.

Happy day,

The Weaver of Grass said...

jaw, jaw is better than war, war JoAnn - as Winston Churchill once said.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Glad about the red cabbage Mary.

Gwil W said...

I used to know a shopkeeper called Mr. Wolf. He told me he had been a German prisoner of war in the English Lake District and enjoyed it so much he settled in the area after the war.

Joanne Noragon said...

So difficult. My daughter's mother-in-law went on vacation in West Germany in the early days of the Berlin Wall and never returned. As an orphaned teenager during the war she was impressed farm labor. I would love to write about her life but haven't the courage to ask her. It seems too intrusive. Yet, what is history if not recorded?

Gwil W said...

I've just watched one of his videos about models etc. on YouTube. Really interesting and entertaining.

angryparsnip said...

Wonderful post today.
As soon as I go the the market I will try your cabbage dish and the way you eat your potatoes. I wonder if your oven cooks it nicer than ours do.

cheers, parsnip

Cloudia said...

Interesting post. Here we have people in and out like the tides. . . .
Long-timers, "locals" are another culture altogether which we permanent residents find our place in - or not.

ALOHA from Honolulu

Cro Magnon said...

Farmers are naturally helpful to each other. Here, if a local man is not well everyone immediately rallies round and his daily tasks are undertaken without further thought. It's one of the things I love about living in the country.

My people lived in a well known, and v expensive, E Sussex village where house prices were crazy. My poor mother had to drive 15 miles each day to fetch her daily help, then drive another 15 miles to take her home again. No-one who did that sort of work could afford to live in the village. Madness.

Pondside said...

Here on the west coast nearly everyone comes from somewhere else, so we tend to be pretty tolerant and pretty interested in one another.

Terry and Linda said...

I agree with Rachel...sometimes today is really all there is.

Linda ❤⊱彡