Sunday, 20 May 2007
What's In a Name?
When I was away I met up with an old school friend. She married well and lives on a beautiful wooded estate in Surrey. With the country-lady life style she reminds me of the Queen. Headscarf on head, walking the grounds with her dogs. Although, Lady Dagnall she hasn't forgotten her old childhood friends. She is very good company. We enjoyed a good chat and a laugh over a shared bottle of wine. A bottle she brought up from the cellar herself. But a wine I had seen on special offer in Sainsbury's a few weeks previously. We talked over 'old times', school days, school chums and pored over the photo albums. She tells me that our old school has been sold off to make way for a new housing estate. I mentioned that I had seen an advert in the Saturday Telegraph for a new 'posh' development being built in Croydon. Along Pawsons Road. The road that my grandfather's generation used to call 'Death and Poverty Street'. One side had the old workhouse and the other side the cemetery. I wondered whether these 'smart new homes' have been built on the site of the old cemetery. I had visions of the 'smart new' residents being disturbed by 'The Poltergeist'. But I see now in fact it is on the old 'Queen's Hospital' site. Queen's Hospital which used to be the geriatric hospital with a permanent smell of boiled cabbage and urine. It was where our old folk were farmed out to live out their last days. Before society progressed to become 'more inclusive' and less ageist. A time unlike the 'modern way'. Of leaving elderly folk unattended in their own home. With just a few minutes of community care and Meals on Wheels each day. Lacey Dagnall tells me that one developer built some retirement flats in Croydon and couldn't understand why no-one would buy any of them. They had called it Purley Gates. They didn't sell one of them until they were re-named.