In a fast and ever changing world, it's good to have some things that are routine, and never change. Apart from the sunshine coming through the window, I could take this photo every morning, and it would look pretty much the same, including Hobie.
I don't have an alarm clock, and yet every morning at exactly six o' clock, I wake up and head downstairs. Every morning, Hobie is at the bottom, and starts to howl to be fed, even though on most occasions both cats still have some food in their bowl. He eats while I make a pot of tea, and then as I carry my first brew of the morning to the living room, he is at the door waiting to be let in, every morning. We take up our repective places, me on the settee to check the internet, and him at the window looking out on the world. Misty has her own routine, and involves sleeping when she isn't eating, and can be found most mornings asleep on Celias bed. I don't know if it's the same for Hobie, but if this routine during the working week is interrupted in any way, I become quite unsettled. It's a sort of mental buffer between the peace of sleep, and the hard slog ahead.
Outside these four walls, everything is changing. I was born and raised in Boscombe, a suburb of Bournemouth, in a seaside hotel that my parents owned (a brief story of our return is mentioned in this post). Back then I used to make the short walk with my brother up to the main road, to catch the number 23 bus to school some miles away. I shudder to think it was forty three years ago now. Boscombe was a good place then, full of small shops. In the arcade, just behind the police box, I remember mum taking me for banana milkshakes in the cafe there. Everything was decent, safe, and as it should be. Over the years though, Boscombe has changed. It became the centre for prostitution, then numerous drunks filled the streets. Drugs soon became an issue, as most of the beautiful victorian terraced houses were converted into bedsits. During the past forty years, the place became quite dangerous. The migrating homeless soon saw a sunny beach resort, with the added bonus of good dealer contacts for their smack etc, and off licences offered cheap alcohol, making the problem worse. The local council have, over the last five years, been attempting to turn things around however, with the renovation of public spaces, but it's having little effect on the underlying problem. It's just providing the prostitutes, homeless, alcoholics, and druggies with a nicer place to stay. There is also a growing contingency from eastern Europe, which although some are genuinely attempting to start businesses and merge with the local community in a very real way, most are benefit migrants, coming to the UK for a standard of living that doesn't include work, but does include us the taxpayer allowing them to live comfortably. And so it is, that these have also started to become part of the problem. Some of my work is along the seafront at Boscombe, and as such I go into town to grab some lunch on a regular basis, and so see changes each time. Sometimes I grab a coffee at the International Cafe, run by a lovely guy called Fauzi, who has an ongoing problem with drug dealers toting their wares outside his, and all of the other businesses trying to make a go of it.
So, in light of all of that, the council in all of their wisdom have come up with the latest in their line of defence, an old fashioned police box, one of only two in the country. There used to be hundreds dotted about, and were made more famous by the Dr Who series. This one is to be permanently manned by two officers during the day, in the hope that it will help to deter the shadier element of society. A telephone is attached to it for 'out of hours' problems. I think it will just get sprayed with graffiti during the night, but we will see.