Time passes and things change. So it's fascinating to see how several unsolicited articles have come in from members about improving insulation in our houses and generating energy. These are understandable concerns whether or not you think: climate change, for example, is man-made, because the fact is that fossil fuels are finite even if far from exhausted yet. Moreover, reducing the cost of one's electricity and gas is an attractive proposition. So good luck to people who can do it - in the right places.
But solar panels on almost every roof? Little forests of wind turbines on houses? (Not to speak of even more satellite dishes.) A very recent visit to Port Sunlight on the Wirral just across the Mersey from Liverpool made me appreciate again the beauty of that urban environment. Lever Brothers sold off their village, built to provide good living conditions for their workers. But the Port Sunlight Village Trust obviously still exercises tight controls on all visible aspects of the street scene. It might not be very' English' in a country where owners consider they have a right to do what they like to their property, but I did wish that the coach loads of foreign tourists visiting the Lady Lever Art Gallery in the middle of Port Sunlight were also given a tour of the streets to see that the English used to, and still could, produce beautiful urban areas. And there are of course a number of other attractively planned developments in Britain which should continue to set an example - an inspiration not a 'model' because they needn't be mock-Tudor or mock-Arts and Crafts, or mock -anything else - just good and modem perhaps! These are surely the sort of matters close to the hearts of many members of a society like ours?
Now a personal- probably useless! - thought about little old houses. Claude Street and Navarre Street don't exist now but their sign names around the Charles Street car park remind us of the many terraced houses which once stood here. They must have been pokey and probably insanitary but if they'd been renovated and perhaps with two knocked into one wouldn't they have suited young first-time buyers who'd like to live near the town centre? When they were demolished (1950s - 60s) first-time buyers could afford somewhat better houses in the inner suburbs, because house prices and mortgages were based on one income. Not so now. It's a reminder that what seemed obvious at the time won't necessarily seem right after a few decades - a theme of Ken Powell's talk on Modernism at Isaacs last October.
One more matter. Our printers are very good, but even from them the occasional dud copy can emerge - a couple of blank pages perhaps. If you do receive one, I can assure you it's not as valuable as defective postage stamps used to be. (Does anyone still collect stamps?) Throw it away and ask me for another copy; I always have spares.
Please keep those articles and letters coming. I think we all enjoy the variety.