Alnwick – one of the backstreets we would use often as children. Today you don't see children playing there. The old tin dustbins are gone, replaced by wheelie-bins but one family is still using the old-fashioned clothes- line instead of the modern indoor electric clothes-drier. It was fun to cycle or run through all washing lines pegged with clothes hung out to dry to the shouts of many a woman upset we were soiling her washing. Quite often soot from chimneys did a better job than us. This picture was taken from beside the once railway line near Alnwick Station, now housing Barter Books - I write about them and their "Keep Calm and Carry On" fame here.
Despite suffering a pique of jealousy – because a friend got there before me – I want to relate my fascination with back streets. I was pipped at the post to extol the virtues of the “The Run” in Jamestown Saint Helena. [See poem below] It must, however, be one of the best, possibly the very best of back alleyways in the world. I have come across a few other candidates for the title. Some like the ones I talk about here in Alnwick, Northumberland, qualify because of their past glory, hence this blog. Others like our current street in Takhmau, Cambodia, make the list because in many respects they are today like others were in the [good] old days.