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and most people today could.....if they bothered to learn some basic skills.....

And many do but the pace of progress leaves them behind

I grew up in a mid sized coal mining village. Post office, small local convenience stores, fish and chip shop, butcher shop, and a small appliance shop where you could get a TV with coin meter on the side. Gas and electric also had coin meters. There was a pub, a social club and two churches. You could get almost everything you needed locally and if not you could catch one of the two buses per hour to the nearest town. Milk man delivered every morning (x sunday), and much more than dairy. Eggs, cheese and occasionally bacon. Fish man would be around Thursday night or Friday morning. Neighbors would often group together and get 5 tones of coal or a ton of potatoes delivered on the sidewalk .... all quickly stowed away by an army of buckets and wheelbarrows. Most people worked for the mines, my father drove haulage trucks, mainly coal, sometimes chemicals, mother worked as a nurses aid. We had a motorbike and side car for transport. We did what we could, but there was no vision of where we wanted to be.

When I go back there not much has changed on the surface. The coal mine has gone along with one of the churches and the butcher. No more coin slots and the place is much cleaner. No one does serious shopping in the local stores which have been demoted to alcohol sales. Village is now a sleeper community for the local city, which with the advent of high speed rail is a short commute from London. The local betting shop just closed when the owner retired, could not compete with on line. Times change

But between these events there was 20 years of misery. An entire industry gone, it was much cheaper and safer to opencast. An entire workforce thrown into unemployment. Some retrained, my father went into the local power station, but the load was too much and the opportunities far and few between and many just shriveled up and died of one ailment or another. Stagnation ot'lungs, it gets to everybody eventually
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