6 December 2006

Somerton and the Great War

Somerton feels like it might have done in the aftermath of the Great War, WW1 that is. There seems to be something unbalanced about the town's population, lots of older people and some children but not too many in between. And this strikes me as being rather odd. Its almost as if the Pied Piper has visited the town and spirited away all the youngsters because, mostly, they are nowhere to be seen.

When I walk the dogs at night, the town is, mostly, silent as the grave and whilst that is a pleasant experience in the countryside, in an urban setting it feels like the aftermath of a biological attack. As if, were I to peek in any window, I might see bodies sprawled on floors or slumped across tables, copies of the Daily Telegraph clutched in a deathly grip.

Somerton does strike me as being somewhere for the elderly and, to a greater degree, the Town Council echo that observation in their age profile. So maybe its no wonder that there is nothing for youngsters in the town. Certainly, in the evening, Somerton is a 'yoof free zone' and, to this casual observer, it feels spooky, unnatural.

If you look around the town its hard to see anything obvious that caters for a younger generation. In the evening there is little or nothing between the take-away establishments and the pubs - a pretty poor range of choices. So why should this be? Does Somerton have something against the younger generation?

Maybe it does and maybe this grievance is illustrated by the construction of the skate-park out on the edge of town. Some time ago, I did see some kids skateboarding in Cox's yard and that struck me as 'normal', but I haven't seen them or heard them for a while. Skateboarding in the centre of town feels like a safer bet than way out on the edge. Night-time youthful chatter at the Market Cross might be indication of a teenage generation but maybe they are all packed off to bed by 9pm because it isn't something I hear often.

So maybe Somerton is 'ageist'. Maybe Somerton is becoming a ghetto for the oldies. Or maybe it is already and I've just woken up to the fact.

Till next time.