Once upon a time someone said to me that they considered pavements to be a sign of prosperity and development in a county. At the time I was quite offended as we had just moved to the Dordogne and many of the villages were a little lacking in the pavement department so naturally I took this as a criticism of the area in which we had chosen to relocate the family.
Well a few years ago pavements and restructuring of the « Place » in the centre of villages to make them more pedestrian friendly happened in a very major way and even our tiny commune around about us had restructures and pavement extensions.
So, I can feel you all wondering, where is she going with this...
Well the same person mentioned the other day that he thought Britain would be a third world country in 10 years if it carries on the way it is going. I know, I hear you all sucking in your breath, but we do embellish a little to make people pause for thought and consider a statement.... So I did pause and I thought that last time I was in the UK visiting I notice what an appalling state the roads were in and in one particular town the potholes and pothole repairs had created such a dreadful surface on the road that all the fancy cars that people drive in the UK with their low profile tyres etc, had to drive super slowly so they did not ground their sumps on the road. On the local television news reports, potholes were a much discussed subject.
Further reflection reminds me of a road trip through Africa in 2000 that Gavin and I did with the kids and some friends covering somewhere in the region of 6500km on some very interesting and beautiful roads. Tanzania springs to mind where we passed over a moutain range and had to straddle the ruts in the road as they were deep enough to ground the Toyota hilux 4x4 we were driving. We think that they had not used a tropical heat mix of tarmac, and the roads had melted under the weight of the trucks that were travelling over the pass. In some places the roads in the towns were so badly potholed that the cars drove on the pavements and the people walked in the road. Kenya was also in pretty bad shape but Gavins theory was that if you drove fast enough then you would only hit every second pothole. Interestingly all of these places were highly developed at one point in their lives and have since been through severe hardships, losing, amongst other things, their once beautiful pavement and road networks.
In retrospect my friend may have had some insight into country development and maybe de-development (my new word for the day) as he spent some of his formative years growing up in Africa where pavements would have been a luxury item and a sure sign of wealth in a community. Having worked there later onn in life he would have witnessed the cyclical nature of life and the decline of pavements and roads....and wealth.
So all this expenditure on calculating GDP based on PPP and blah, blah, blah.... what a load of hogwash, mumbo, jumbo, statistcal magic to make countries appear more or less wealthy than they are...Look down and observe the pavements and roads and then you may be forewarned and forearmed about the state of the country in which you live.
See you all soon
I am farming sheep and goats on the Dordogne/Gironde border with my husband and our 3 children. We have an on farm butchery and sell our meat direct to the public via the markets and delivery points in our local area