Now here’s an interesting idea – where is my hometown?
The first place that springs to mind when I think about my hometown is the place where I was born Birmingham. OK let’s get all the silliness out of the way – the terrible accent, everyone’s thick, no culture, Spaghetti Junction etc. I get fed up apologising for being a Brummie – I’m proud to have been born in such an vibrant, progressive, multi-cultural city. It’s different to when I grew up there in the 1960s and 70s but it still has a place in my heart, even though I’d struggle to live there now (too big, noisy and crowded) I loved playing in Lightwoods Park and Edgbaston Reservoir; I loved Saturday mornings at Top Rank in Dale End with its odd synchronised dancing; I loved shopping trips to Rackhams, Lewis’s and C&A; I loved my Saturday job in Woolworths, blowing all my pay in the boutique opposite; underage drinking in The Old House At Home – I could go on and on and on…
The second place that I think of when I think of my hometown is where I live now. Abingdon is a market town in South Oxfordshire. It’s got a bit of a split personality as it used to be the County Town of Berkshire. It’s definitely seen better days – the town centre is a sad, down at heel place which doesn’t inspire you to want to stop and shop (lots of charity shops and coffee shops!) But I love being so close to the River Thames, great for a stroll and a think; I love the old Abbey buildings in warm Cotswold stone; I love the area around St Helen’s church, so lovely to sit and contemplate; I love sitting by the river and watching the world go by; I love being so close to Oxford and the wonderful little corners in that busy city; I love being able to pop into The Ashmolean Museum whenever I want.
Two different hometowns; no wonder I feel like a split personality at times!