Why One Should Love the Home They’re With.

We have noisy workmen nearby. Really, really noisy workmen. Mind you, reading back on that sentence, I realized there’s no such thing as quiet workmen. They actually reminded me of some workmen I encountered when I was walking home from college one day. To say the rain was torrential on that day is a huge understatement. It was biblical. I had to take my glasses off so I could see where I was going. Now, I know you’re all wondering ‘oh heck, what comical mishap did you get into all those years back?’ But I actually made it a good three, three and a bit miles before something nearly went wrong. I saw some blurry bollards and plastic fences that workmen have with some trucks next to them, so I navigated my way around them. I felt the ground suddenly dip so I moved abruptly to my left taking me under some trees. I stopped for a moment and I looked around wondering where the workmen were. I then looked at the ‘dip’ and saw that it was the depressed edge (because of the rain), of a huge hole. Even without my glasses on, it looked a good few yards deep. All I could do was laugh, because I was thinking in the back of my head what it would have been like to be a driver driving up the main road next to the hole. Imagine it now – a 17-year-old practically blind kid walking along and suddenly disappears from view. It would be like a Loony Tunes cartoon.

I was wondering about my home this week. No, not ‘what am I inevitably going to do that will result in it burning to a fine crisp’ (oh dear, so many bad memories flooding to the forefront of my mind). I like it here, except for all the neighbours’ children and that sodding dog. I don’t like dogs very much. I was once chased around Hemlington shops by a bulldog. It stole my gym bag and ran for it. I was only 11. I was about to get on the bus and the dog came from nowhere. The bus driver, bless him, got out and chased it. He was gone for a while. I was really worried that the dog might have got him and I was wondering what to do. I couldn’t call someone. Nobody had cell phones in 2001. I had no money other than my bus fare, so I couldn’t use the pay phone either. I contemplated running like hell. In the end, I got my bag back. The bus driver looked a tad sweaty, though. My football kit was fine. Except the shin pads. They were covered in teeth marks. Didn’t wash with the teacher. I really wish unbelievable things would stop happening to me. But I digress. As usual.

My whole life, all I’ve ever known is this town. 21 years on Earth, all but a few months spent away from here. Yes, I’ve only been abroad to a small number of places. Ibiza. Spain (twice). Florida (twice). New York. Cyprus. Fuerteventura. Lanzarote. Egypt. Australia. Bulgaria. France. Portugal. Majorca. Minorca. Tenerife. Thailand. I think Gran Canaria. But this town, this former industrial powerhouse, this is where I’ll always be.

Areas of desolation, covered and rusted, frightful and shameful, the ghosts of their glorious past a thin veil barely holding on, barely any memories left. Just a few names on the road signs, signals from histories proudest hour. Weeds. Everywhere. Surrounding the goalposts where children dare not play. But yonder horizon, a shining example of the industriousness and heart that made us great, a skyline to be proud of. No gleaming metal skyscrapers, no conventional town, heritage all but gone as it was torn down. But in there, there is the town everyone fails to see. Bustling with life and energy, people laughing and people talking. Signs of a forgotten era there, alive for all to see. Yes, it’s quiet, but that’s my kind of town. We may not be perfect. Our crime may fail us. Our unemployment may fail us. Our architecture may be controversial. Our reputation is tarnished, fallen and shattered on the ground, but in its imperfection, here I live still. This is my heart, this is where my family is and this is where I’ll always be.

I often pray the naysayers would shut up. I hear people say ‘I hate where I live’ and ‘why can’t we be like New York or London?’ But every home that has its imperfections also has its shining lights that make it a home. Otherwise, you wouldn’t even call it home. I just wish people would appreciate where they’re from. You can’t escape it so embrace it. That’s what I did.

I just wish there weren’t as many bulldogs stealing kid’s gym bags…

‘The ache for home lives in us all, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned’, said the great Maya Angelou.

Peace Out :|:


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