I have always considered myself to be somewhat of a ‘country boy’. I spent my first eight years in Stow on the Wold in the Cotswolds and my later childhood in Malmesbury in Wiltshire.
Malmesbury is famous for being England’s oldest Borough, having an Abbey which had the tallest spire in England (before it collapsed), a flying monk (who broke both legs) and finally for being the Capital of England under King Athelstan (honestly!). Despite this, both were small towns with little going on and my later youth was somewhat parochial in nature!
The high spots of Malmesbury in my youth as I recall were the open air swimming pool and the numerous pubs (at least 8 if I remember correctly for a population of 1500!). When I moved to Nottingham as a student I was very happy that it was a city (with even more pubs), but with a very friendly feel – still the case and one of Nottinghams greatest attributes.
I now love going back to Malmesbury (my mother still lives there), the pace of life is so much slower and the countryside is beautiful, I find I relax so quickly! It is also dark at night as there is no ‘city glow’! It has changed though, the population has more than tripled and it is even home to a well known music festival (Womad)! All 3 schools in the town I went to have also been demolished and redeveloped since I left, perhaps this should tell me something!
The one thing that sometimes makes me miss my city life when I am here is a lack of Internet access. My mother does not have broadband (she is 85 so it’s not likely!) and the town has a poor signal on O2 (ie. No 3G). Consequently any access via my iPhone is SLOW! I am blogging this from my iPhone but it will take minutes for this blog to upload (assuming it doesn’t crash).
Does this mean I am turning into a geeky towny? Probably not, the pleasures of the countryside are too deeply etched into my soul, but please let’s improve national data coverage!