About me
About me

36 Grays Lane


Hold up! Before you read on, please read this...

This post was published more than 12 years ago

I keep old posts on the site because I often enjoy reading old content on other people's sites. It can be interesting to see how views have changed over time: for example, how my strident teenage views have, to put it mildly, mellowed.

I'm not a believer in brushing the past under the carpet. I've written some offensive rubbish on here in the past: deleting it and pretending it never happened doesn't change that. I hope that stumbling across something that's 12 years old won't offend anyone anew, because I hope that people can understand that what I thought and felt and wrote about then is probably very different to what I think and feel and wrote about now. It's a relic of an (albeit recent) bygone era.

So, given the age of this post, please bear in mind:

  • My views may well have changed in the last 12 years. I have written some very silly things over the years, many of which I find utterly cringeworthy today.
  • This post might use words or language in ways which I would now consider highly inappropriate, offensive, embarrassing, or all three.
  • Factual information might be outdated.
  • Links might be broken, and embedded material might not appear properly.

Okay. Consider yourself duly warned. Read on...

I know I claim not to do this sort of thing, but just wanted to point you in the direction of this website, which is essentially campaigning for the creation of accommodation for families of those receiving long-term treatment in military hospitals.

It seems a worthy cause – I have slight misgivings about supporting the specifics of a planning application in an area I’ve never so much as visited, and was mildly insulted at the insistence that prefab housing equals “builder’s huts” which could not provide a “supportive environment” – I’m sure the hundreds of thousands (millions?) of British kids who grew up in such accommodation for a good four or five decades post-war (and those who still do) would disagree.

But while I might quibble about their tone, I do see their point, and their aim seems pretty worthwhile and unobjectionable.

It seems worth your time and energy to support – as of course are similar civilian schemes like this.

This 1,192nd post was filed under: Headliner.

Some recently published posts

What I’ve been reading this month / January 2020, 11 minutes long

The Tyne Pedestrian and Cycle Tunnels: eight years on / January 2020, 8 minutes long

What I’ve been reading this month / January 2020, 7 minutes long

Faber Stories / December 2019, 4 minutes long

My favourite books of 2016 / December 2019, 26 minutes long

Some random old posts

Cash for honours injunction / March 2007, 1 minute long

The Wife of the Prime Minister / June 2005, 2 minutes long

2D: Passwords / March 2013, 2 minutes long

Review: Black Rabbit Summer by Kevin Brooks / September 2012, 4 minutes long

War / July 2005, 3 minutes long

Thoughts on the restoration of ex-BBC Television Centre / April 2019, 5 minutes long

Comments and responses

Comment from Joe Horner

by Joe Horner

Comment posted at 10:39 on 30th July 2007.

Thanks for helping us highlight this! Real apology for how the “builders hut” comment about prefabs appeared to you, honestly no offence was meant. In fact, I grew up in one (pre-fab, not a builders’ hut)! That said, as I wrote the text, I have to take the blame if it upset anyone.

What I was trying to get across with that was the apparent attitude of the objectors that these families should be stuck anywhere as long as it wasn’t in their street. The “remarkably high standard” portable buildings some of them referred to are hardly immediately welcoming and homely.

The people you talk of made real homes, over time, in prefabs. Their families, and their family spirit, were at the heart of that, not the building. Exactly the families and spirit that SSAFA hope to support. But, to make a “homely” feel for people like these visiting relatives, in the short stays they have with their loved ones, surely something more “concrete” is needed?

So, for any ex-prefab dwellers (like myself) who remember their childhood homes with fondness, I really didn’t mean it “like that”. And thanks again for helping spread the campaign.


Comment from Biped

by Biped

Comment posted at 16:16 on 30th July 2007.

Thanks very much for highlighting this important issue. The forces personnel getting treatment in Headley Court need to have their families around them as much as possible, if only to speed up their recovery and help each other deal with the emotional aspects of their injuries.

The support this issue is getting from around the world is most humbling, but very much needed as the Mole Valley Planning Department is deciding on this issue on Wed 1st August.

If anyone wishes to assist, please do what you can, but here are some suggestions:

Tell all your friends and family; visit http://www.36grayslane.co.uk/ to get some information on the debate; visit the government petition website and add your name to the petition that supports SSAFA (the charity applying to have the property turned into a residence for the families of those recovering); write to the Mole Valley Planning Department lending your support to the SSAFA application.

Comment from Mort Karman

by Mort Karman

Comment posted at 15:48 on 5th August 2007.

Here on the other side of the big pond we have Ronald McDonald House, a chain of homes set up for families of children who are spending lengths of time in hospitals around the country. It is a private funded operation of McDonald’s Restaurant chain and does a fantastic service by providing a place for relatives to stay while the youngsters are getting treatment.
Perhaps such a system could be set up for the families of military people being treated in hospital. I agree the government should be responsible for the care of those in service of their country and I also agree families of service people are also government responsibility.
But these days, in your country, as well as mine “government responsibility” is an oxymoron.
So perhaps some private company or group can do the right thing that governments should have done in the first place.
At least the UK is not as bad as some third world countries where the legislators get saleries many mes higher then your Prime Minister or our President and most of the people live on international food aid.

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