Lived there for 26 years and I dont know, but…..
Was a bit perturbed to hear about how bad the old homestead had become, so decided to take a trip back, after nearly fifteen years away, to see if the reports here were true.
Got off at Three Bridges Station and strolled over to The Fox, a fine old establishment, right on the road. Things hadn’t changed here; a fine pint by an open fire with a few of the crusty old regulars plus a smattering of city types, returning after a hard days hedging. Refreshed, I strolled up the quiet road, past the corner shop and the dentists, until I reached The Moonraker. I didn’t stop in, but waved through the door to Brian the cheery Landlord, still there after all these years, polishing his jugs behind the hardwood bar.
A quick stop off at The Plough, one of Crawleys finest establishments. Divided into a ‘public’ and ‘Lounge’ bar, the Tamplins was in fine form in the Lounge.
As I was in the area, I decided to walk past the Volvo garage and onto the wreck, just to see if these tales of Chavdom were true. Certainly, nothing I had seen so far had worried me. What a magnificent sight! Three Bridges Cricket Club were playing some other team of local worthies, resplendent in there whites, whilst small children played on the roundabout, slides and swings. Feeling the need to release some of the Fox’s fine ale, I strolled into the gents: what a scrubbed establishment! Taking a quick drink from the fountain outside, I strolled up Gales Drive and took a quick libation in the Maid of Sussex. What a wonderful imbibing house this is! I dined on some of Ita’s finest shepards pie, whilst drinking down a pint of Directors.
Seeing no sign of Chavdom yet – indeed this shopping parade was just as I had left it, shawl wrapped housewives busily popping in and out of the ironmongers, greengrocers, bakers and the like, with not a hint of Burberry or ‘bling’ – I decided to buy some refreshments ‘off license’ from the Maids excellent corner establishment of that name and strike for the Town Centre – surely, this was to be where the Chavs could be found? I found it hard to pull myself away from the smell of frying fish from the corner chippy (even having just eaten!) and the very reasonable sale on in the Cabin Woolshop, but this was an investigation, so I pressed on.
Queens Square was just as I remembered it, the fountain tinkling lightly and busy shoppers popping in and out of WH smith and the like. Having some hours to kill, I decided to do some shopping myself, just to see if the Chavs were all hiding, looking at ‘bling’
First stop was Kirkmans were I needed some new fishing fly’s. The staff were as helpful as ever, but I did notice a chap in Burberry. He was about 60 years old and studying a twelve bore with the help of an assistant. Was this my first sign of Chavdom and feared new gun culture? I fear not – it was the keeper from Maidenbower Farm, just restocking ahead of the new season.
Next stop Clare Records. Surely, if I was to find Chavs, it would be here! Alas no, just a chap in an Iron Maiden ‘T’ shirt – a bit wiffy to be sure, but nothing like the horrors described in previous posts.
Disappointed, I retired to the Brewery Shades, for a well earned pint of Guinness in the public bar – as bare boned and proletariat as I remembered, thank God.
Feeling good about my old home town, I decided to stroll through the memorial gardens and over to Crawley Station for my return journey. I must say, the gardens were as difficult to get into as ever – high hedges and few gates meaning that any quick short cut across to the station was out! Still, the gardens looked lovely and the squeals of laughter from the children’s play area a reminder of what a great family town this is.
There you are, not a Chav found, tell me, was I looking in the wrong place?