No need to be so rude to an old geezer’

MAYBE it was just the old year wanting to go out with some gusto, but the final few hours of 2006 certainly landed me with an unexpected task. New Year s Eve saw me out in the garden armed with a club hammer, claw hammer, nails and a large wooden stake to

MAYBE it was just the old year wanting to go out with some gusto, but the final few hours of 2006 certainly landed me with an unexpected task.

New Year's Eve saw me out in the garden armed with a club hammer, claw hammer, nails and a large wooden stake to repair the fence blown down by the high winds the night before.

But it was good to be out in the fresh air getting something done.

And it was good to be out again the next day when I decided to welcome in the New Year with a stroll.


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My legs led me on a familiar Letchworth path to see how the demolition of Norton School was progressing.

I was there not so long ago when work had just begun and only some of the tiles on the old boys' changing room had been removed.

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Now the sight that met my eyes was of a large expanse of broken bricks and concrete, great big piles of the stuff lying higgledy-piggledy where once stood the gym, the school hall (where on one infamous occasion I and two others were hauled up onto the stage to be shamed in front of the whole school population for a minor biking incident) and, oh yes, that little area of destruction was where the headmaster's study was housed.

I walked away with a happy heart, heading down the alley which crosses Common View and Glebe Road.

It was there that I encountered a group of youths "acting up" as it used to be known.

They looked, and as this solitary figure went by one of them said the first thing that came into his head which was "Happy Easter".

It was an odd greeting, which I ignored and plodded on. So one of them sneered a more topical "Happy New Year" which he obviously did not mean so I ignored that too.

Then another observant enough to spot my white hair and beard tried a desperate "It's Father Christmas, hey Father Christmas" before I disappeared from view.

The thing that struck me - apart from the fact that no way was I going to give them a seasonal greeting - was how youth has changed for the worst since my days as an adolescent.

We had our moments of fun and mischief but we were never so rude and threatening to the older generation for no reason.

It's just the way we are these days, I hear the bleeding heart liberals say.

I don't accept it has to be that way, and in the spirit of trying to do just a little something about it I will now say Happy New Year to those young strangers I met by chance and hope it will make them think that perhaps old geezers going about their own business are not so bad after all and should be left alone.

A genuinely heart-felt Happy New Year goes to the gentleman in the Baldock blinds shop who could not have been more helpful just after Christmas.

Desperately searching for some fittings, I went in there as a last resort and he unearthed just what I needed - and refused to take payment for them.

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