It is hard to imagine a luckier generation than mine. I was born just before the last world war came to an end and therefore have no memory of it.
Yes, during the first decade of my life rationing was in force and we used to have to take our coupons along to buy the limited amounts available of meat, sugar, sweets, bread, milk, potatoes – you name it. It was 1954 when rationing finally ended and food became more and more plentiful and varied.
The arts began to thrive again; television came along and enchanted us all; health care really was available to all and we all took it for granted that we were safe walking around the streets.
At least that is my memory. The standard of living was a probably generally a lot lower in many ways than today, but so were expectations.
I don’t think I am viewing my childhood through rose tinted spectacles when I say it was a simpler world and it felt a less dangerous one.
The policeman was very visible on his beat and we knew him and he knew us.
We had a family doctor who also knew us and remembered our medical history when we went to see him – maybe on a Saturday or in the evening. I don’t remember hospital waiting lists being an issue.
Buses ran regularly and went pretty much wherever anyone might reasonably want to go.
Children walked to primary school not because they were health conscious and needed the exercise but because most children went to their nearest school.
Despite all the advances in medicine, technology, transport and science during my lifetime that might reasonably have been expected to make all our lives easier, safer and more comfortable, the world the next generation has inherited seems to be heading in a direction that they will struggle to control.
Religious intolerance is reaching mediaeval proportions, natural resources are being squandered, the health service is being eroded, doctors and policeman no longer have the true community presence we enjoyed in the past and transport is all about long distances, not going to town for shopping or visiting neighbouring villages.
Events like those in Paris and Africa suggest that our children are entering a dangerous time in our history.
I wish there was more I could do about it than hope their generation can weather the storm and put things right again.