by An Old Codger

Author: Neil Davies

That song, made popular by Louis Armstrong, paints a world of green trees, red roses, skies of blue, and friends shaking hands, but there is another world I am witnessing.

A few days ago, late in the afternoon, I drove into the edge of town and parked up my car on a short-stay kerbside slot just a block away from my destination – my Bank – to post a letter in the mailbox.

My walk took me past a small group of agitated men who were all in need of a good wash and a hearty meal.

Having completed my errand, I began walking back to my car passing the group. A young man had joined the group, arriving on bicycle several sizes too small for him.

Clearly, he was the centre of attention. By the time I had reached my car, the young man was cycling past me going quite fast on his juvenile bicycle. The small group were dispersing. It was obviously a ‘drop’ at the back wall of the town’s Bus Station.

In 1997, Principal of a West Yorkshire College, I was responsible for the provision of education services to three prisons and one Youth Offenders Institution. One day, visiting the YOI, I was chatting to the lady managing the education service on site, when a young offender approached. He was about to be released and came over to say goodbye and ‘thankyou’ to my colleague.

As he walked away, my colleague turned to me and said, “He’ll be back, he has nowhere to go.”

I have often thought about that lad. Has he ended up like that group huddled together by the Bus Station? As an old codger passing through my four score years, I have many concerns regarding the social state of our modern world and our modern lifestyle. I have expressed my concerns in my new book Poems by an Old Codger. Am I alone?  Buy a copy of my book and see if you agree with me.