On Monday I was back in Livingstone admiring the clarity of the road signs but still trying to understand what the planners had been thinking when they laid it out. Festooned with roundabouts and narrow interchanges, surprising little right turns and oddly cambered corners. It was designed for the age of the Hillman Imp, the Singer Vogue or the Vauxhall Velox, when three gears, sticky plastic seats and radio were luxury and refinement. You can easily imagine these cross ply shod beasts rolling along the roads and sliding around the grey bends and the driver's being happy with the motoring experience (even I can recall that feeling). Now it's Subarus and Beamers that scuttle across the lanes, every driver impatient and anxious to stay just above the speed limit as they jostle from queue to grinding queue. Perhaps Livingstone's infrastructure should be better loved as a relic and a lesson now that the bulging malls and Wallmart clones have stretched it beyond any reasonable limit. So what should towns look like, where are the good examples and how can the present methods of human connection and collection have a future? What is the real purpose of West Lothian apart from being an alternative and opposite to somewhere else called East Lothian?
I suppose that that as an extension of the house, towns are machines for living in, but a bit more widely, the problem being the relative width we all take up. Our social bottoms have all become a lot bigger in the last thirty years and staying at home to work or doing the shopping on line isn't yet having an impact on the width problem. In the mean time I'll continue to scuttle along the rat runs of the Lothians avoiding motorways at peak times and sneaking a glance over the hills and across the shining Forth to the apparently wider, greener shores of my home (Garden) State - Fife.
Another strike today and another shuffle to sort a kind of "single parent" problem as the schools closed, albeit appeared open to me. The key people (viewed no doubt as drones by their detached chiefs) deserve more and are making a valid point to their employers and the community and I'm using up my holiday quota and a bit more petrol in the process.