Being back in the town in which I went to secondary school I have made contact with a few friends from back in those days.  One such catch up was in a car in Spalding Town Centre.  As we sat down I commented how little it has all changed.  My friend looked about to disagree so I fell back in an adage I learnt at University: "Everything is different but nothing has changed".  On that we were able to agree.

He then said, and it's a fairly common first opening for folks who still live in the town, versus those of us who have left: "you won't recognise the town, its full of foreigner".  I smiled gently, having prepared, and said "you mean rather than Irish and Dutch they are now Polish and Latvian?"  To his considerable credit he laughed.
 
But my point was a serious one.  I grew up here.  It's small town large landscape.  We grew up in the old village pub (it had closed and we didn't re-open it) and there were no shops in the village.  The primary school was a couple of miles away and the secondary school (11plus) even further at 10 miles.  This is rural England.
 
No one every spoke directly of it, but I always understood I would not work on the land as a farmer.  The thing I realised as I went through school was, with the exception of class mates who were going to work on their parents plant or herb nursery, virtually no-one was going into farming and agriculture.  That level of labour-drain is what has bedevilled south Lincolnshire for years.
 
As I see it, and I welcome it, that labour-drain and the necessary investment to compensate, has always come from migratation - economic migration and labour migration.  The Dutch who came to drain the Fens have settled and further bolstered with with a huge build and flower market, Irish navvies who came to the Uk first to build the railways, then to farm the land, bolster the army, staff the NHS, they too have settled - thanks to my grandmother, it's why I am here in the UK too.  But the new injection of life and energy has come from Eastern Europe.  It's much needed and frankly means that the agricultural work and factory staffing that was at risk of dying, has been bolstered, revitalised and maintained.
 
For that I'm grateful, and whilst I think the settlement package and induction from the established authorites has been non-existent and pathetic, I look forwards a couple of generations and give thanks.  And so it is, that South Lincolnshire is regenated, with teething problems, but none-the-less, able to live and grow for another day.