OUR eldest, who turned 14 this week, started a paper round at the beginning of the summer. A paper round he may have to take early retirement from thanks to the council street-light-switch-off.
As his pocket money comes in the form of a £10 a month phone top-up, he was always moaning about lack of cash.
The Thursday paper round pays pitifully little for around 150 papers, but at least it’s regular cash in his bank account, independence and responsibility.
We’ve had a few lively discussions about it, as he’s already bored with the routine of dragging his heavy trolley around the streets on a night he could be playing yet more rugby.
And his plan to get at least one brother to help in return for him taking on their chores is proving unreliable.
However, since Northampton’s street lights have been turned off, we’re wondering if it’ll be us who call a halt to his employment.
Last week, despite the glorious weather, he had to come home early without delivering his full round, as it just got too dark to see. He ended up doing the rest the following day, on his birthday.
In our street, a town centre location, they haven’t turned off, say, one light in two on each side of the road, but turned off the entire right side of the street. The light from the two remaining on the left is too distant to be of help.
I’ve listened to the arguments about street lights. I don’t object to some going off as long as it’s not affecting residents. Or even all of them in the early hours or moonlit nights!
But when the clocks haven’t even gone back yet and you can’t see where your car is in the street, or where someone’s front gate is, isn’t that just asking for trouble?
I’m even thinking about investing in headtorches for the school runs once winter arrives. It’s a ridiculous situation. Especially when empty council-run buildings stay lit-up at night like ruddy beacons.