Peggy Lattimer was always up with the larks it had just turned dawn when she got out of bed she pulled the curtains open then went to the bathroom; she remembered the days when she would have had to go outside to use the toilet and also use a tin bath as well.’
Things had moved forward a lot since she was young. Peggy was now sixty seven and wished that Gordon her husband was still here with her. He had been a wonderful husband and father to his three children. It had been almost three years since he’d passed away after an ulcer burst causing a massive stomach infection that spread to his liver and kidneys.
She now lived alone as all her children had flown the nest. She turned on the television set to hear the morning news but there was nothing but a blank screen so she reverted to her radio and the world news service.’
Peggy put the kettle on and made herself a cup of tea and ate a rich tea biscuit.
The sky was changing from the yellowy orange colour to white. Then as it got lighter the blue sky came through.
Out she went into her garden and began to deadhead the flowers. She had to keep on top of it now as her children all lived away from home. Robert now lived in Harrogate with his wife Ruth Michael and Kyle. Kate and Mollie with her two daughters Elizabeth and Jane lived in Surrey.’ She only got to see her grand sons Michael and Kyle over the Christmas holidays when she was invited for dinner. She used her trowel to dislodge a clump of grass that was growing in between her carnations.’ She tried hard to keep her garden tidy even though she was fighting a losing battle. Every morning there would be empty beer cans thrown into the garden along with empty crisp packets, half eaten kebab meat, and salad. Not even the dogs around the street would eat. She discarded them into her bin to await the bin men on Friday morning. Lowdham Avenue (Linden Road) used to be one of the posher parts of the Ridges Estate until they changed the name to the Meadowell Estate and people started migrating from other places and with it came vandalism, anti social behaviour and drug taking.
More than once she had found a spent condom or a syringe in the garden.
Many were on what they called ASBOS (Anti Social Behaviour Orders) which they completely ignored and spread havoc throughout the streets until after midnight.’
She had complained to the council, spoke to her local councillor but had fallen on deaf ears. The problem wasn’t isolated; it was going on all over Britain.
Every time she picked up a newspaper there was a stabbing or a shooting of someone.
Murders were becoming common place and the shock value less. As in her day it was very rare to hear that someone had been murdered. Mira Hindley and Ian Brady caused her the biggest shock of her life after reading what they had done to their victims. Now murder, rape, shooting was becoming so blasé. People never really talked about crime anymore because it just didn’t have the same impact as it had when she was young. They were set to become a whole lot worse over the coming years.
Peggy now used her key to let herself back into her own home. No longer could she leave open her front door in case of burglars and opportunist thieves helped themselves. That was how much society had changed in just thirty years.
“She wished that she lived in Surrey with her two daughters where there was still some respectability.