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alan (Wack) Walker

Deep and Dark

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I have noticed from reading on this excellent site a vast amount of members do not now live in Notts, As I don't , I know why I left but why so many others? who apparently love Nottingham.

Maybe our memories are more flowery than the reality of living in Nottingham?

I will share my reason for being a part time Nottingham resident, I now live in the sun(that's a clue) but from when I was younger I do find people have changed their values, I find funny the phonetic speak of Nottingham born and bred funny, such as ayup me duck It is very rarely used anymore especially by the younger generation its more likely to be a suck through the teeth and a west Indian pigeon English, The local accent has changed, they think its so cool, but to me they are aliens 40 years ago it was so different( imtoo old), Then there is the drug culture, The gun and knife culture, what happened to the old fashioned fist fight and then shake hands and have a pint. Well most have the pubs have shut.

I find people today scared and afraid to go out, especially at night, who wants mugging. people keep themselves to them selves, afraid to get involved,

THIS IS NOT RESTRICTED TO NOTTINGHAM, it is how the world and society has changed, I live on a idyllic Island in the tropics but there is drugs and occasional robberies, but nothing in comparison to the UK.

I hope I have not depressed anyone but would like everybody's views positive and negative.

Cheers, ex Pub Landord, Meadows lad,Sherwood man. Alan

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As an Ex pat. of some 45 years and now officially a "geezer" (just turned 68) maybe I could offer a few thoughts. This might get long, please bear with me. Please forgive in advance any comments that could be construed as negative or an attack. I still remember Nottingham with fondness and respect and appreciate the members of Nottstalgia.

I was born in Mansfield just before the end of WW2. Grew up in Netherfield. We were certainly not wealthy but my dad provided enough for us to live on. There was next to no theft of any kind. Most of us didn't have anything worth pinching!

There was pretty much full employment. The Railways, since decimated under Beeching and others.

In town, Players, The Raleigh, Ericssons, Boots and the whole cotton and lace trade along with many others I can't even remember anymore. Nowhere seemed overcrowded it was safe to walk the streets at night. I often did over the cause of my dating years and never had a problem.

We respected our teachers even if we didn't always like them. The police were always regarded with respect and a degree of fear among us kids. The Bobbies walked the beat. We were sent to Sunday School even if our parents were not church going, and there was a strong Christian influence and values taught and enforced there and in school.

Now fast forward to 1969. I had served an electrical apprenticeship, had a decent job, married, and we had bought our first house in Basford. By English standards I was doing o-k. Nottingham was already changing, railways and Vic station closing etc. but when you live there you probably don't notice the change quite as much as when you are away for a while. My first daughter was born in 1969. I came home from visiting the hospital that night, poured myself a drink and in the silence began to think about trends and where things were going. What would they be like for this brand new daughter of mine 20 years down the road?

I didn't like my projections. Immigration was increasing fast. I do not consider myself a racist. I'm not overly concerned with a person's origins. After all I'm an immigrant now, twice! That said, England is a country of finite size. I won't bore you with all my dire imaginings but by the end of the evening I had convinced myself that Australia was going to be the place to be. SWMBO had other ideas. A major rift was avoided by our settling for Canada. She had one relative in Toronto. Not the warmest place on Earth.

We sold everything and moved in 1971. After paying for the plane tickets we didn't have much left. First year was not easy but I never looked back. I have since returned some six or seven times, (last time 1997) each time I get more concerned for old friends.

Most of those firms that provided a steady job and income seem to have closed or been outsourced (I stand to be corrected).

Immigrants of the fifties and sixties are now into their second or third generations. With less steady work they probably have little hope of landing a steady job and become part of an unemployed underclass subsisting on govt. largess. ( If that largess dries up in these dire economic times, watch out!) Possibly suplemented by a little drug dealing, mugging etc.

BTW. not necessarily just immigrants either. I hear much about Chavs. Not even quite sure what they are. Updated version of YOBS I guess? Many of these families are so called "single parent" usually a mother living in poverty. In my own days at school most of the kids I knew had both parents still married. Even if they fought like cat and dog they hung on. When I married most waited for marriage before they hopped in the sack, failure to do so sometimes resulted in a "shotgun wedding" but they tried to stay together for the most part. Living together outside of marriage was, for the most part, limited to the Hollywood crowd. If I'd suggested that before my marriage I would have found myself on the floor wondering what hit me.

Last I heard the UK had a population around 65 million. It was around 50 million in my childhood. Where do you put all those folks? Land area is finite. I realize not just the UK. Canada and the US have our share of these issues also, but on a lesser scale perhaps overall and a bit more land area.

Teachers no longer have much in the way of discipline options and from what I read many exist in fear of attack by students in some areas.

Seems like the church is a dying institution suffocating in its own political correctness and unbelief in what it claims to stand for.

As Alan noted, this is not limited to Nottingham it is now worldwide, some areas worse than others.

Back in the fifties I remember my parents discussing automation and how could it work? With the exception of a few folks to maintain the machines you would have a vast unemployed labor force. How are they to be paid? The owners of the machines will not pay them. Why should they? Seems like we are finally approaching those days we feared. Large corporations are making major profits wages are stagnating or falling behind. Our unemployment rate in the US is around 8% many say it is much higher as many stop looking and drop off the books, maybe a real rate of 15-20%. Major retail chains are closing stores and firing staff.

Solutions: Anything now seems like bolting the stable door after the horse is gone.

Tougher laws and punishments might help, but the problems go much deeper. I think it would be impossible to address these without ending up in religious arguments and I don't want to go there. I value my Nottstalgia friends.

Camera's on every corner and lamppost do not seem effective. Just bother honest folks who are always having their privacy invaded.

Wars and rumors of more wars. Ceratinly keeps the military employed, but at what cost? and with an ever present risk of escalation into WWIII

1984 has arrived George Orwell was just a bit too early in his numbers.

For me. I'm glad I moved but sad for the trends. My two daughters and grandchildren are still happy in Canada.

I moved to the US as my wife is a US citizen, and Georgia is definitely warmer. :-) We live out in the country but the urban problems are spreading even here.

For myself. I hang on! I fear for my grandkids especially. This crazy nut house of a world seems to get worse by the day. I'm ready for my number to be called. I'll go gladly.

Sorry to sound so pessimistic, but that's how I see it FWIW.

Now, you did ask. :-0

Dave

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What has been written by Alan and Dave just about covers my thoughts on the issues of life as it is today and what one remembers from my time in Nottingham (mainly RoT).

I, like Dave, will not enter the racial or religious arena but you could see it beginning to have an impact back in the 50s and those fears voiced by many at the time have been justified IMHO!

I never expected to leave my birthplace and enjoyed everything that life had to offer back in the 50s and early 60s. RoT life with my family, friends and the freedom of the open spaces is something that I will cherish forever. I will be eternally grateful to my parents for making that move in the late 40s from WB to RoT and allowing me the life that I enjoyed - a loving family, freedom and cherished childhood memories.

Then you get a little older and a little wiser with each passing year and the reality is to see your parents having to work harder and longer, your mother going out to work to help sustain family life because business is not too good.

Still never expecting to leave Nottingham, I even sat and passed the Notts Constabulary Cadets Entrance Exam in 63 ( check that out Mick!).

Then, something that had been mentioned in passing became reality - the family were moving to Australia. We had been accepted and were just awaiting advice on the date.

It never seemed that I had a choice in the matter - the family were going so therefore, so was I. I was even advised how much I would be needed in Oz when the family again went into the farming business.

So, Alan, perhaps many of us who left Nottingham left for family reasons and in hindsight, not really of their own choice.

However, having said that, I am grateful to my parents in their migrating to Australia and for the wonderful opportunities afforded and lifestyle attained in this country. It is just a shame that they are now both dead and I cannot tell them personally.

I have never been back to Nottingham and am hoping to rectify that situation now that I have retired. Whilst I realise that it will have changed and some areas unrecognisable; just to be there and show my wife my childhood haunts will be sufficient.

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I was born in a council house in Lenton Abbey, we lived a normal life, from what I can remember, but from what I have been told, we survived the post war years by dad keeping chickens and rabbits, basically for food.

Dad managed to become retrained after the Navy, where he had been a pom pom gunner, on the Atlantic convoys. He became a bricklayer and after many years of hard work managed to full fill his dream and build his own house at Mapperley, on an old orchard.

I then grew up in Mapperley, but moved to Basford, then Carlton after I married.

I did an electrical apprenticeship, and had some lucky job breaks in later life, but, I always felt there was something more out there !

I used to joke to mates about maybe emigrating to South Africa, but politics there scared me a little.

My second option was Australia, I wanted sunshine and sea ! We had 5 kids, good jobs and I was 39.

After our application was accepted we made the big decision to sell everything and in my words "travel light" just in case it all went pear shaped !

We gave ourselves a 2 year time frame, and said no matter what we would give it a fair go.

I could see the writing on the wall, I miss Nottingham heaps, and love my trips back ! but I could never live there again.

Australia has been the lucky country to us and we now consider ourselves real aussies.

I often wonder what the other option would have been if we had stayed.

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Home is where the heart is. Things change, sometimes for the best, sometimes not. And as Alan says it's not just Nottingham it's the world over, just if you live in a bigger country you might not see the bad stuff so much. There is still a lot going for our city and country. We are a tolerant society...perhaps too tolerant at times! But we do have the best looking girls here in Nottingham...renowned for it in fact, and apparently the night life is also the best around.

We have the best of all worlds in Britain. Green and pleasant lands, skiing in the most beautiful mountains of Scotland, Lovely safe clean beaches, National parks of outstanding beauty and a great variety of wildlife, most of which won't kill you if you disturb it!! (though I would love to see the wolf return). Yes we have bad summers, and we seem unprepared for snow...(heaven knows why, I remember worse in the 60's than what we have experienced recently) but isn't that what makes up the spice of life??

And I am not someone who has never been abroad! I lived in Oman for 8 years and had my two elder daughters out there...no national health or support like you get here, though it is a fantastic country with lovely people. I have lived in Holland (learned to ride my bike no hands!!) A country worth a visit. I have been to Canada to visit my aunt, who had never been back to this country since she left because she was afraid she wouldn't want to return to Canada if she did!

So I am going to stand up and give it big for my homeland. I love it here.

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Agree with that Kev. It's nice rosy-spectacled stuff to delve back, as we do here of course and that's fine. There are many things from the past I'd like to experience again but there are also plenty of things I wouldn't want to have to go through nowadays.

As far as Nottingham itself goes, I have no particular feelings or strong affection for it though I do think it's reasonably as liveable as any other English city of a similar size and better than many. Maybe it's because my origins are not from here, I don't know.

I wanted to leave this country years ago and was slightly thwarted by circumstances. I many times wish I had been able to leave at that time. Given the opportunity of one or two destinations I think I could leave now and not look back and miss too much, the way things are nowadays.

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:biggrin: This looks an absolutely excellent page to get stuck into later - when I have the time. A quick glimpse and I note 'Loppy Lugs' long letter with the mention of George Orwell and I promise myself I'll return and take time to digest and think.

NB: Stimulus for the intellect can't be bettered. :)

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"So I am going to stand up and give it big for my homeland. I love it here."

Well said darkazana, the expats don't need to justify/explain why they've gone from these shore's, & personally I'm not particularly interested in what they have to say about the UK,

although i'd defend wholeheartedley their right to say it..................... unionflag

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Glad you love it there Paulus.

The purpose of my post and that of others was not to knock the UK or Nottingham. The original poster asked for reasons why the ex-pats left.

As noted in my post many of the issues facing Nottingham and the UK are facing all of us wherever we are.

I mostly refrain from responding to posts about things happening in Nottingham in these days. As I noted I was last there in 1997. Thus I do not feel qualified to comment on present day issues.

Please don't regard this post as hostile. Just trying to explain that we are just answering a question.

Cheers

Dave LL

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I for one am interested in yours and other expats' thoughts on the subject, Dave so keep posting. Interesting stuff.

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I for one think ex pats shouldn't be allowed on here.....unless they have a spare granny bungalow I can move into to get away from this ruddy weather.

If I knew in the sixties what I know now I would be with my son on the Aussie coast eating an early breakfast in an open air restaurant watching the dolphins.

Instead I open the curtains here to watch the rubbish and litter blowing round the tesco express.

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We don't have a granny bungalow, but we do have a spare bedroom! However, I don't think you will like the foot of snow on the ground, or the predicted high of 26F today (and you will have to get used to temps in Farenheit too)!

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In my visits to the high deserts of Arizona on the way to the Grand Canyon, I found that their snow was more pleasant than our snow.

And the cold was a different cold too.

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West Michigan is a LONG way from Arizona! The last snow we had (yesterday) was heavy, wet, nasty stuff that even my snow blower has a hard time throwing more than a couple of feet!

However, just wait a couple of months! The Lake Michigan shoreline is spectacular!

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Glad you love it there Paulus.

The purpose of my post and that of others was not to knock the UK or Nottingham. The original poster asked for reasons why the ex-pats left.

As noted in my post many of the issues facing Nottingham and the UK are facing all of us wherever we are.

I mostly refrain from responding to posts about things happening in Nottingham in these days. As I noted I was last there in 1997. Thus I do not feel qualified to comment on present day issues.

Please don't regard this post as hostile. Just trying to explain that we are just answering a question.

Cheers

Dave LL

I never regard anyone's posts as 'hostile', all being entitled to their opinion, & if I take offence that's my problem not theirs.

You make a very pertinent point about no longer knowing what it's like to live here, I moved from Nottingham back in the 80's & don't often regret it, just get homesick for the memories & the people, not the city as it is now.

Cheers Dave' :Friends:

PaulusGnome

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Going to Nottingham now I find is a bitter-sweet experience. I love what I can still see of the old place that I grew up in until 5, and then visited regularly for the following 40 years. Obviously, from Devon the visits are now more sporadic - though my wife's mother still lives there. There is much that I don't like any longer - like the official vandalism that tries to tart the place up by demolishing old and beautiful buildings and replacing them with brash modernistic piles of glass, plastic and concrete. But still I can't help thinking of Nottingham with affection, and to me it will always be home. I suspect there are many more on here who feel the same.

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I feel exactly the same way Stephen does (must be the LEGS exposure)! I still think it is a lovely city. The damage caused by the architects is annoying, but it is still a pleasant place to shop and socialise. Certainly, I can't think of many other British cities that I enjoy as much - Cambridge is one of them, Newcastle isn't bad but I have never figured out either Leicester or Derby!

Of course, the suburbs are a different matter - and I do see changes for the much worse even in Long Eaton and Arnold.

I doubt very much that I could live in the U.K. again. If I could afford it I would love a cottage in a small village in Derbyshire, but unless I win the lottery, Pentwater is going to be as close as it gets!

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'But still I can't help thinking of Nottingham with affection, and to me it will always be home.'

StephenFord, you have hit the nail right on the head.

That part of your statement is the essence of most posts on this topic.

It is probably the basic reason why ex-pats became members of this website and for this ex-pat at least, the closest I can get to home for now.

unionflag

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Thanks for your response, Paulus thumbsup

I think several of the later posts have really pinned things down. Most of us probably never really had a dislike of Nottingham itself, in fact I think it was one of the better cities to live in. Choice of movie theaters, the Playhouse, The Royal, good concerts of everything from rock to classical. Good variety of shops, a safe environment, a good choice of employment. Quite acessable by bus or car. I could go on. I think that almost without exception it could be said that we all regard the Queen of the Midlands with fond memories, of course our memories are based on our experiences many years back. Our reasons for leaving are probably as varied as the folks who left. At the end of the day it was home to some of us for many years and you can never really get that out of your system no matter where you go.

I am so greatful for Nottstalgia, as it has allowed me to relive some of those good memories again in my own mind.

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Loppylugs- Pretty well sums it up........................... :)

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My reason for leaving England was not because of politics,crime,or any monetary gain,it was to be with my American wife.

I took her to the UK,and spent three months, mainly in Nottingham,not wanting to live in England,we returned to the States.

I started out as an immigrant, going through the system to obtain a green card,expensive and time consuming,It took about six months,not being able to work in that time.My money just held out.

American spoken English is not the same as Nottingham English,I had to adjust to the way I spoke,no more speaking of the telly,lift,car park,etc'.The ex pats over here will agree,it takes time to adapt to the way they speak.

When I am asked where I'm from,I take great pride in saying 'Nottingham,England'.

Memories of growing up,and living in Nottingham are good and bad,hard times and easy ones,but I still have a great fondness for the'Grand old lady'.

Nottstalgia,is a terrific means to return to the Nottingham we all grew up knowing.

My sincere thanks' to Mick and the team for all the work they put in, making the site as good as it is.

Bryan.

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I remember Churchill's comment (and he was partially American on his mother's side) "England and America - two nations separated by a common language."

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