Walking down the big hill from my childhood home to the train station yesterday, I felt a pang of something. I looked out to the view stretching out ahead of me: the rolling hills, green fields and huge, open expanse of country. Beautiful, someone more poetical than me might say.
I felt a pang that said to me, in not so many words: “maybe you misjudged this place. Maybe living here the first 18 years of your life coloured your judgement too negatively. Maybe being so heavily ingrained in the day-to-day grind of dealing with the people and places of this town made you think unfairly of the area around you. Maybe – just maybe – you were wrong about Swinton.”
I was in a particularly hungover, tired and otherwise bad mood, so this thought stuck with me as I sat in the windswept train station as dusk washed over the town. Even though I was staring straight at a scrapyard, it looked… nice. It was so quiet. Bournemouth isn’t a huge place, but it’s noisy all of the time. It was weird to be somewhere without planes flying over every ten minutes and a stupid bastard living on this street who idles his stupid muscle car for ages before driving off way too fast for the residential streets we live on (and I’m definitely not jealous of his car no siree not me).
It was pretty, and it was relaxing, and I felt calm for the first time in quite a while.
I thought my opinion of my hometown might have suddenly changed; that I had hit that realisation that comes in later life when you see something isn’t as bad as you once thought.
Then I remembered that on Friday just two minutes after arriving in town I was forced to change my route home in order to avoid the behooded men attacking a parked car with a golf club.
So yeah, Swinton is still shit.