A Word In Your Ear - December 4, 2014

Share this article
Have your say

There has been an historic shift in our streets, casting shadows as we sleep.

I mean the new street lighting. It’s ergonomically cheaper and environmentally sounder, but isn’t as bright.

The other evening two main lights were also unaccountably out in Preston Old Road, giving our former village district a Dickensian air.

I’d experienced once before there that eerie sense of being in the wrong time.

A fret made the night appear foggy, then a covered landau and coachman had trotted through the mist like a hansom cab from the past.

That helped inspire my latest novel, ‘50 Shades of Bass’, a mystery romance set in Great Marton during Victorian years.

Other time-warp atmospheres included Shanghai.

I visited it in the 1980s, when there were few street lights and thousands rode like silent ghosts on bicycles. Amazingly, that city now looks like Manhattan of the future.

In the 1990s I took a friend to Hong Kong and found it was not the same place remembered from a few years 
before. Many quaint haunts had become soaring skyscrapers.

By contrast but equally disturbing, was a return to a leafy suburb of London where I lived in the 1970s. Looking from the pavement, I saw our old first-floor flat still had a once-trendy, paper-ball lampshade we had put up almost two decades before .

Perhaps that is why people write and read novels. Through them we can time travel in comfort, however disconcerting the world around us. Books also remind us we are not so different from our great-grandparents or, hopefully, from any great-grandchildren in the future.

While everything changes, we still need a grip on our sense of history to feel secure.

That tells us just who we really are and - even in dark times – helps us sleep contentedly.

* For Roy’s books visit www.royedmonds-blackpool.com