It's easy to take things for granted. One of the reasons we bought our little house in the Sheffield suburbs was its location, Our children were never driven to school because both their primary and secondary schools are in easy walking distance. Also, a four minute walk brings you to the useful local shops and services at Banner Cross.
What do we have? There's an Indian curry house, a Chinese takeaway, a traditional fish and chip shop, a jeweller's , the post office, a fruit and vegetable shop, two butchers, a pet shop, a dry cleaner, the newspaper and confectionery shop, a brand new Sainsburys "Local" store, a florist, a shoe repairer, our local pub - "The Banner Cross Hotel", an Italian restaurant, two banks, three estate agents, a pharmacy and below you can see a shoe shop and "The Banner Crust" which offers excellent pies and sandwiches.
Outside the old bank on the corner - now another estate agency - we have what you might call "street furniture". They are ugly metal cabinets associated with telecommunications - especially mobile phone services. The pole you can see on the left rises to about thirty feet - yet another ugly mobile phone transmitter. These things seem to be everywhere nowadays. As someone who doesn't possess a mobile phone, I feel particularly aggrieved by these unpleasant, functional additions to my environment. I had the idea of making stickers to put on each of them saying simply "Eyesore". Why can't they bury them or hide them in buildings and who is officially okaying their placement?
As I have plodded the land, I have seen many scenic villages and hamlets and beautiful houses in splendid rural isolation. My late brother Paul lived with his family three miles from anywhere - up a quiet country track in the west of Ireland and Robin lives in a similarly isolated location in southern France. But when I imagine living in such places, I also think about the services and convenience I'd be losing. There's a lot to be said for living in the suburbs of a city and maybe it's only when you break away that you fully appreciate what you have lost.