I was driving past the new British High Commission office complex (at least that’s what I think it is – its located just next door to the High Commissioners house), and was amazed to notice the degree to which it was secured.

Two walls as least and judging by what was going on, fencing security lighting and possibly even camera to come on top. Reminded me of a prison.

It brought back memories, not all that far off, when I used to cycle past Trenchard House. The walls were just four feet high, in some places where the earth had banked up against the wall it was only a couple of feet high. The gates were always closed, but in an even earlier era they were probably left open.

I remember the French embassy once having walls of only four or five feet high and the gates being open all day. When playing close by occasionally a ball would fly in to the embassy premises and someone would have to run in and fetch it. I don’t even think there was a even a security guard there, but maybe that’s just my memory: there should have been somebody manning the gate; at any rate we were never stopped or questioned us in our quest for missing balls.

Over the years I’ve watched as the gates closed and the walls climbed. Always slowly, first a foot, then another. I watched railings, cameras, barriers, security guards and even a police presence appear, into what was once an occasional extension of our playground.