Castles, drawbridges, “draw your swords men!”, quivering women left behind wondering if their men would return in time for dinner.

I was thinking about modern moats. Tools of protection against foes seen or unseen. Double glazed windows keep out the sounds of war. Drunk kids on the streets at 4am shouting profanities, who has to know when you have double glazed windows. Threat neutralised.

Obviously, today we have alarm systems, intricate locks and saliva soaked guard dogs on the prowl for undesirables. Then there are bars on windows, video surveillance and voice activated locking devices. Have we gone mad?

Soon we will reinvent the moat. Imagine our houses with deep swimming pools dug around our intimate abodes (good for both exercise and repelling intruders). Our fences get higher, our neighbours get stranger. We’re so scared of the unknown that we keep our doors locked when we’re at the other end of the house. Madness!

It’s privacy gone mad. I long for community. For the days when the smell of barbequed meat wafting over the fence meant an invitation for dinner. There were no locks on fly screens. They were designed to keep insects at bay, not people. Kids would play on the streets and families would share and care.

Are we at war with each other? Do we need to defend the fort so vigorously?
Do we know when someone is lonely or sad or in need of a cuddle? Bring back the neighbourhood parties, the invitations for dinner -everyone can chip in! Lower the fences, open your eyes. True battles happen behind closed doors, inside fortresses with secrets no one else knows.

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