The past couple of days I’ve been visiting the seaside. It still amuses me that Northumberland has such huge, clean, sandy beaches with almost no-one on them, and the south of France has tiny, stony beaches that are massively crowded. Yesterday the aim was to go a bit further north and visit some places I hadn’t seen for a while. ‘For a while’ must be about five years and my word have things changed.
Small villages are now big villages. Big villages have become small towns, and small towns are big towns. What used to be many small villages with fields in between is now one big collection of satellite villages joined up by Tescos, business parks and roundabouts. Roundabouts! I’ve never seen so many roundabouts. The roundabout construction industry in Northumberland must have kept the entire UK economy going for the past few years. I didn’t make it to where I was trying to go. I got lost on a particularly large roundabout and ended up heading south when I was trying to go north.
It used to be possible to meander along the coast, through countryside and fishing villages. Where’s it all gone? I had to follow the signs to Newcastle to drive back; there’s nothing left that I recognise. It looks like they’ve paved paradise, and put up a parking lot. Now that’s a good line for a song.
And hey, guess what, Joni Mitchell has already done it! Here it is, Big Yellow Taxi by Joni Mitchell.