Would You Want Maggie Smith And Her Smelly Van Living On Your Neighbour's Drive?

Posted at 13:33pm on 3rd August 2016

QUESTION: Would you want Maggie Smith and her smelly van living on your neighbour's drive? Well? Would you?

Interesting discussion last night at the community book club I went to. The book was Alan Bennett's Lady in the Van, and one of the topics raised (by one of several people who work in care homes / social services etc) was whether people should be allowed to live as they please or whether they have to conform? Some, who choose to live *differently* end up being sectioned.

This morning, reading Sophie Neville's excellent article in yesterday's Daily Telegraph, I see that living life as it pleases you was a matter of fact for one of the cast of Swallows & Amazons. Sten Grendon, who played Roger, was served with an eviction order because he chose to live a rural life in a stone hut and 'drank water from a spring'. The conviction was overturned.

But what about the elderly?  Should they be put into care homes?  For myself, I would welcome the opportunity to be able to continue living in my own home - whether or not I was capable of maintaining it or myself - until I decide otherwise.  But what sort of pressure would this put on my daughters?  A burden of having to help me?  Guilt if they don't or can't?

So - what are your thoughts? Do we really live *freely* and *democratically*? Or are we expected to conform?

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