Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Pride of Northampton.... (There's a First)

I was all geared up to write a couple of blog about my town and its councillors after seeing the latest play at the Royal called “Town,” I was ready to moan and ask what in the blue hell is happening to my town… I still might, but right now I want to lay some praise on someone.

The first time I went on duty to this “Town” play was Thursday 26th June, which coincided with the date our “pride of lions” were unveiled around town. I knew they were coming, but much like the recent performances by England’s overpaid prima~donnas; I was not prepared for them!

Heading up past Castle Station (notice I won’t use “Northampton Station” ~ it’s always been Castle Station, never mind what the sign says! As with Jimmy’s End ~ St. James and of course MK “City” ~ but the less said about that the better!) and over St. Peter’s roundabout I noticed three lions kindly guarding (or watching, you choose) over John Dickie’s home…

Having said that I was not prepared to see lions (real or otherwise) in Northampton was not an understatement, after the initial swear word and “there’s three lions!” I could not stop smiling to myself; fancy that ~ I was actually smiling for once!

Wandering around town now seems more fun, I actually find myself looking up more. Even nights out seem much more fun, and yes I have the pictures to prove that ~ and no, I did not break the one outside the Guildhall… and I was gentle getting on that one in the picture!

Conversations with friends are filled with “have you seen the lions?” and “where’s that one?” People seem to be stuck with something between curiosity and amazement that something good could come from this town, which is a worry! Having seen and heard all the views (including my own!) over what is wrong with this town, it seems to shock people that something good can happen.

People know my views on the things our Lib Dem (is it now a coalition too?) run NBC have and have not done, the site at Edmunds Hospital, Marina and Market Square say it all. But; and here is the thing, they are all done with the view that “hopefully” people will want to come to the town and maybe invest/stay.

I know that many people will say “but that is not enough!” and to be fair I do slightly agree. However, look at the lions for an example. People do like them, they look cool and get people talking… is that not the point? People love to see the Elephants in London, we spot them (or try) every time we go down to City; the lions seem to be having the same effect here.

Which is a very good thing in my view, and should surely be encouraged? How about this for an idea: more arty type stuff, more plays from local people about local things? Let us get a little crazy here, how about this too: get more things going like those wonderful Heritage Weeks? This town has so much going for it, to let that die would surely be a crime?

There are people willing to show those of us willing to learn around, I know this from first hand experience. Case and point, most people reading this blog will know Councillor Trini Crake; some will know her husband John is something of a town historian. All reading this blog will know that I am a member of my local St. John division too, and have been for a while.

Digressing for a moment, our meeting nights at St. John often consist of training, training and more training! Occasionally we have a few guest speaker nights thrown in among the training and the courses we have to do, and a few nights a year we have social evenings. Rarely do we leave the safe confines of our building, if we do it is either to attend our HQ for more training or exams; but it has not always been like this!

We have gone out to the pub! (Yes I know, admittedly we had to walk there; but it was fun!) If I am right in thinking, we have gone out to the hospital for a sort of “outside” guest speaker. The point I am trying to make is, visiting places is good fun, and it gets us out and about… which as many people will tell you, is a good thing!

Anyways, back to the plot… after bumping into John Crake going past the Guildhall, we stopped to have a little chat; during which he told me about the mark on a block outside the Guildhall which meant Northampton was so many feet (sorry I can’t remember how many now) above sea level. I never had a clue the mark was there let alone what it meant, which made me think; “what else don’t I know about my town?”

Having been around the Guildhall once (and totally enjoying it) I thought I would ask if John would show my division around too, after all many of them aren’t from Northampton (and even those that were) so they might not know about its history… of course John kindly agreed, but when I rose the subject at the meeting that night; to say it was met with the “damp squid” effect would be an understatement.

(See, there’s my rant. A slight tangent, but the usual rant I am sure you would all miss if I left it out…)

Anyways; to end, how about this for an idea: Fred and Doris, (work with me on this!) have lived here all their lives, but there is still so much they have never seen; yet they have seen it all. Both have watched a million and one different councils try their best to “make this town better,” but all that happens is the town quiets seems to die a cold death. However, this week they have been seeing more and more Meerkats (just for Alderman Dickie there) painted weird and wonderful colours; popping up around the town.

It looks so good and has everyone talking about it, so much so that Fred and Doris’s children have heard about it all; and their grandchildren! Moreover, that is not all they have heard about either! Imagine this; there are local plays at the local theatres. There are local bands playing in the local pubs and clubs, there is local art in the local art museums and a whole host of other things too boot.

However, the best thing about it all is the beautiful buildings and scenery with the amazing history. And guess what? It is something all the family can go and see, they can all experience the history (first hand maybe?) and the stunning scenery! Not only is it on Fred and Doris’s doorstep, but much of it is free! Gosh, how about that; a week where all members of a family can get something out of... who’da thunk it hey?  

Is this all a dream? I dunno, maybe; but I certainly hope not.