Think Old

After an unseasonally strong storm yesterday, today was merely very windy – not too bad to ride in with a carefully chosen route. I was surprised more at the lack of tree debris strewn around than the amount of it – after the storm I expected it to be far more apparent.

Dropping down one of the back ways from Woodcote, the hedges provided good shelter from the cross-wind and it was fine to cycle in – despite that being about the most exposed part of the ride. You needed to remember as you came to a gap in the hedge that there’s likely to be a sudden ‘shove’ from the wind, but that’s about the only unusual thing to bear in mind. You only need to experience that once to remember it.

Later, rolling in to Peppard Common from Stoke Row, and with my ‘noticing seats’ mindset, I saw an outdoor bench commemorating the Coronation – 1953 and not ’52, despite this being Royal Jubilee Year. Let’s not quibble: it’s a sixty year legacy, give or take. The seat is something lasting; something that has been and is being used; something that’s been cared-for. Presumably, some of the many who’ve sat on it have consciously appreciated it too.

Public seat in Peppard, commemorating the Coronation in 1953

A positive, lasting legacy

The 50s were tough times; to imagine we’re experiencing austerity now is to do all those who endured  those years an insulting disservice. War time rationing didn’t completely end until ’54. It’s likely that the cost of erecting that bench would have been significant for those who chipped in. Their efforts were worthwhile: they created something lasting and of value to the public, to absolutely anyone who cares to make use of it.

It’s not hard to imagine that sort of cost-sacrifice and effort being sneered at today; that would fit in with the zeitgeist all too readily. I couldn’t help but wonder what positive, lasting legacy those who’d sneer will leave.

I can’t help but wonder, too, whether thinking about issues such as lasting legacies is very much a function of getting older. Given that we’re living longer and we’re forever being told that what was an old age isn’t any more, perhaps there’s a side effect of a lack of people thinking about positive, lasting legacies; nowadays there’s never a ‘right’ age to start thinking like that. Allegedly.