Ever since 2008, when the bottom fell out of the financial markets, we have been living in one of the longest economic downturns ever.
The economies of the ‘western world’ have been largely propped up by printing money and cutting back on services – AUSTERITY! Yes, it was the mantra.
That’s why, as in the UK for example, there’s a manifestation of potholes in the roads which never seem to get repaired.
So why now, in this election, has austerity suddenly been cancelled? Even the Tories, often the champions of cut backs, have promised to spend billions on the NHS and put up the minimum wage above £10 an hour. Conservatives?
Don’t believe it
Naturally, from the evidence of the past, we have to treat each manifesto promise with extreme caution. However, the government of any complexion is promising to spend like there’s no tomorrow – and thereby borrow – billions and more billions to add to the already catastrophic levels of debt….. when there is little or no sign of an economic upturn.
It has been argued that large government spending schemes, like improving the infrastructure, can actually kick start the economy and create many jobs. This may be so, but if so why has it taken so long for this to happen?
Over the previous decade we have all taken hits and cut backs, the medicine of austerity, whilst the economy has been essentially bumping along the bottom, only to be told now that even the Conservatives have ‘seen the light’ and we can spend ourselves out of the doldrums.
The cynic in me says I should not believe a word of it.
The origin of the legend of the Wild Man of Stainfield is unclear. No one seems to know who he was, though some thought he generally went about naked, his body covered in hair.
Even the date of his existence is not certain, though most put it sometime during the 18th and early 19th centuries.
Nevertheless, there does appear to be some clarity regarding his actions. He was a woodlander, who reputedly took cattle and sheep, presumably for food, maybe clothing. Some even think that he killed humans too.
One story states that it was a descendant of Sir Francis Drake who finally killed the Wild Man of Stainfield. There began the association of the Drake family with the area.
Stories of his demise are disputed too. Another tale describes those who later became known as the ‘Hardy Gang’, who got together to rid the area of this wildling. Some say this is how nearby Hardygang Wood got its name.
All in all, Stainfield is a fascinating village with a remarkable history – and a legend to boot.
My father has been dead a long time now, but I’ve never stopped missing him.
I was brought up in an agricultural community of intensive farming, but with just enough ‘real nature’ around us to appreciate the clean air (usually), the silence, the freedom. I virtually grew up on a bike and cars were relatively rare down our road.
Through all that time my father seemed to be in the background, always there, but quiet, shy. He’d had various jobs before retirement, a butcher, farm labourer mainly, but he was an intelligent man of few words.
And I feel I never really knew or understood him.
I wish I’d asked more questions, about his early life, his family. But we never know or ask enough, do we? We take it for granted that our family are there. For us.
Then one day, one of them is not. It’s too late. Yes, of course, I’m stating the obvious, but most often we ignore the obvious all around us, don’t we?
My abiding memory is of my father on his piece land at the back of our house, digging, simply digging the rich soil, surrounded by the vast fertile fields and eyed by hungry, inquisitive birds.