Heart-warming: Whether it’s on the streets of London, St George’s, or — as in the shot above, Mexico City — the sight of kids playing in the street reflects a vibrant community. *MCT photo
Heart-warming: Whether it’s on the streets of London, St George’s, or — as in the shot above, Mexico City — the sight of kids playing in the street reflects a vibrant community. *MCT photo

I’m in the habit of reading six or seven websites a day and one of those is The Telegraph, a broadsheet national newspaper in the UK.

It has good sports coverage, so usually I read that and get my UK news from The Guardian; however a story in the Telegraph caught my eye. Its headline was: ‘Streets are alive with the sound of children playing’.

Essentially it was about a growing trend of closing streets for a few hours a week to allow children to play. Some, like me, will be old enough to remember the days of football and cricket in the street, playing with and against children of all ages. It was tough, but a great learning curve — it quite literally taught you the street skills needed to survive at higher levels.

Coincidentally, I was in ‘backatown’ the other day picking up my car from the garage and had to wait for a bunch of children playing football to score before I could move on again. They had facing driveways as goals and the length of the pitch was the width of the road — and they were having great fun.

So the article made me think whether this initiative could work in Bermuda. I guess I thought for about three seconds before the answer was a pretty obvious ‘yes’.

The Corporations of Hamilton and St George’s could manage their streets and the timing, responsibility could be mandated to the parish councils for running the scheme in their areas. It would only be a matter of hours during the week, so it would not inconvenience people (and if anyone objected, shame on them.)

The Telegraph quoted Naomi Fuller, from a group called Playing Out, a not- for-profit company helping residents set up play streets, as saying: “The streets just came alive with scooting and cycling and hopscotch and chalk.”

Wouldn’t it be nice to see large numbers of children playing cricket in the summer evenings, using any old thing as stumps placed in the middle of the (safe) road? It would create a strong sense of community, bringing fathers out to coach the kids, giving the kids a chance to do something fun. Or am I just being an old romantic?

To read the piece in The Telegraph, got to : www.telegraph.co.uk and type in ‘Streets-are-alive-with-the-sound-of-children-playing’. 

Feedback rolled in after bike column

Plenty of feedback to my column last week about the state of the island’s roads as seen from the perspective of a newbie cyclist.

One reader wrote: “Your article is spot on, honestly I thought I was the only one who felt the bumps.

“I drive what some may call a luxury car (Honda CRV) and trust me I can feel every bump (so annoying). My husband and kids have a good laugh at me because I’m always complaining about the state of our roads. With hope and prayer something will be done soon. Thank you again for sharing.”

And another reader emailed this:

“Hello, Jeremy, I enjoyed your article in the Sun re bicycling. I found that other traffic was pretty considerate the first time I rode from Hungry Bay to Collectors Hill as everything that went past me was on the other side of the mid-line completely, but on the way back I took it as a compliment that some at least were prepared to recognise my decreased wobbliness by sharing my side of the road. After 55 years of not riding bicycles on public roads — my bike having been stolen in Oxford — except for a brief spell which ceased after I rode to work one day and my receptionist handed me a bar of soap after my sweaty arrival at the office, saying ‘I think you will be needing this’!

“You didn’t mention being ‘doored’. They lose a few in Toronto from this every year. How can one avoid it? Perhaps we must just be a bit selfish and stick to the middle of your side of the road, especially in town when passing parked cars, and let passing vehicles wait their moment for a gap in the oncoming traffic. Most will.” 

I welcome
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Bermuda Blue can be read at http://jeremydeacon.wordpress.com