I was born and brought up in a Victorian terraced house in the 1950s. The streets were more than just rows of houses then; they were communities. Almost like families. In some cases they were actual family members, separated by only a few doors. It was not unusual for someone to marry someone from the next street and to live maybe another couple of streets away. In this way, everyone looked out for each other.

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Nowadays there are so many instances of neglected people living alone with no friends or family. Domestic violence is all too common with neighbours sharing an unfamiliarity making any intervention impossible.  Everyone content to keep themselves to themselves, secure in front of their own televisions and in their own chosen worlds, oblivious to what might be happening elsewhere.


Calico blinds hung at the window,

A mask to the agonies to come,

Where fetid bliss and emotions blushed

At the irony of calling the place home.


Next door pretended to be neighbourly

But a six foot fence defended the right

To a genuine ambient spirit. Distance

Expanded with each day and each night.


Air and breath mingle, but for people

The struggle is harder. The scream

Was heard a whole street away and in all

The houses that were fated to lie in between.


‘Looks like a crime of passion’ ,

The investigating officer said,

But any passion there might have been,

everyone knew was a long time dead.


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