Today must be the perfect date to recall wise words from a village venerable who trimmed my boyhood rural daze with tasty titbits from his well-packed Oxo tin of life.

With a rheumy eye on the calendar as March gave way to a new month of springtime promise, he shared what turned out to be an annual rendition of a favourite seasonal summary: “They dew say there’s no fewl like an ole fewl – but some o’them young’uns are showin’ rare promise!.”

Well, that curt little slice of Norfolk whimsy from well over half-a-century ago now assumes significant prowess in local, national and global social forecasting circles when it comes to watching generations of fools rush in where some angels and many brighter mortals fear to tread.

Downright daft and dangerous escapades fed by social media, swollen egos, “reality” television and a shamelessly blatant disregard for any generally acceptable standards pf reasonable public behaviour spill over into countless arenas with varying degrees of demeaning  and disdain.

Perhaps the most insidious effect of so slapdash a climate is an ever-growing impression that perpetrators of many political persuasions at every level from parish council to United Nations treat supporters and critics alike – as gullible fools!

I have closely followed current affairs in my home county as press reporter, radio presenter and compulsive mardler for over six decades and also served as a deputy lieutenant of Norfolk for 16 years, a privilege affording me regular access to leading “movers and shakers” in local life.

A pandemic, cost-of-living crisis and international turmoil donning several hideous guises have seriously disrupted flows of “normal” life, but it’s hard to come up with another setting, another struggle wracked so deeply by cynicism, suspicion and fearful uncertainty in my lifetime.

Even post-war austerity with shortages and rationing could find room for an uplifting time of rebuilding in family and community.

People were glad to see and trust each other while the Festival of Britain and Coronation stretched rural ambitions with fresh crops of village signs, halls and playing fields.

And our 1950s came to a  stirring climax with Third Division Norwich City’s epic run into the FA Cup semi-finals.

Don’t scoff - it remains one of the most passionate episodes in many lives, especially those as old and just as fond of that golden era as me.

I was at school throughout the 1950s and didn’t stay in once to write one hundred times “I must be prepared for dual carriageways, intensive farming and mass housing development”.

It is the final item on that little off-the-cuff list that continues to spawn so much concern and distrust across Norfolk and other areas where proper rural values are still nurtured and cherished.

Building extensively for tomorrow now obviously carries a cruel mandate to trample all over our precious yesterdays. 

A poignant letter to the EDP a few days back caught the dilemma perfectly under a stark heading: “Old Norfolk disappearing.”

It outlined a sad safari into what many might regard as a new home-made version of the Bermuda Triangle featuring loss of valuable green spaces in and around Hethersett, Wymondham and Attleborough.

That’s not soppy nostalgia, nor cussed refusal to accept any kind of change – simply a heartfelt indictment of the way too much unwanted and unwarranted development is being plonked on towns and villages anxious to retain a semblance of community identity and cohesion.

Builders, planners and councillors. along with compliant officers, MPs and government inspectors, brazenly insist all applications are carefully considered, especially when it comes to high  numbers, controversial locations and firm pledges over “ affordable and social” housing.

They claim there’s ample scope for objectors to have their say. They respond to all outbursts by rolling out well-worn lists of clear benefits attached to schemes designed to meet growing needs of a burgeoning area. Never a word about environmental sacrifices or character assassination.

A system shorn of credibility by constant flagrant excesses  and broken promises must surely hit a brick wall of surrender before we start basking in a flurry of “fresh starts” and “honest deals” unwrapped on the road to a general election.

Taking people for fools should carry a high price.

Maybe the imminent end of a year-long building ban holding up thousands more new Norfolk homes signals a bold new start by developers eager to help cut down levels of pollution in the Norfolk Broads and River Wensum.

Under a sparkling new mitigation scheme, builders can offset impact of their handiwork by “buying credits” to minimise effect of pollution.

That should cheer Natural England, salve a few consciences  in boardrooms and council chambers and assure all of us doubters how wrongs can be righted if the will is really there.

Hang on a sand-sifting second, my Norfolk patriotic friends .. Thumping Theodolites! Calamitous Concrete-mixers! Balletic Bulldozers!

Just remind me of today’s date …..