April 13th, 2008


The wire they've used to enclose our back alley- and turn it into a space that only residents can access- is the same wire they use on the "peace lines" in Northern Ireland to separate the Catholic and Protestant estates.  I learned  this from a documentary I watched the other day. "Look," I said to Ailz, "They've got our wire."  Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness may be so happy in one another's company these days that they've been nicknamed the Chuckle Brothers but their constituents are still throwing stones and Molotov coctails and need to be kept apart. It's state of the art wire, tough, tightly meshed, with kinks in the sheer face of it designed to make it hard to climb.

It's good to know we're so well protected.

I used to use the alley as a short-cut to the shops.  You clambered up the grassy bank on the far side and you were on Meldrum Street and halfway there. The grassy bank is now inaccessible and I no longer use the local shops as much as I did.  The alley may be safe, but what's it for?  The residents' kids could play ball in it if they wanted, but they don't; they prefer the much wider road at the front. A grungey public thoroughfare where people (mainly teenagers) went to do things they didn't want to be seen doing has been turned into a spick-and-span private space that no-one uses. It's tidier than it was, also a little eerie. It would make a nice setting for a ghost story.