As you approach this leafy farm town out in the far west edge of Oxfordshire, you would be forgiven to think that this pretty little market town would be a suitable area to rest your weary head during the out of hours from a busy hectic life. You would be forgiven, of course, because I made the same (admittedly) poor judgment of Faringdon.
The streets are lined with cottages and townhouses built from Cotswold Stone. The pubs are as traditional as they get. The cafe’s have also won awards for their cuisine. On the face of it, this place seems like country heaven, especially for a city worker who doesn’t mind the (almost) reasonable drive into London.
Once you have been through the processes of buying or renting a property, however, things take a slightly darker turn. During the day you would think you live in a painting of perfection, but as darkness descends over the Folly the little scroats descend into the marketplace and carpark ready to wreak havoc across every person brave enough to venture out into these cold, dark streets.
Yes, it sounds strange that such a haven for the retired and exhausted could become a nightmare, but once you have experienced the average Friday evening when you attempt to go to Budgens to get those items you forgot on your last big shop, you will understand. Nestling in the carpark adjacent to the entrance to the shop you will find a small handful of Chav Street Urchins that will heckle your every move and all you will see through the stock-issue Nike Hood is piercing eyes fixated back at you. As the darkness comes in, the small handful will gradually increase, as will the sound of top quality MP3’s being blasted like a tortured cat from each of their Mobile Phones until eventually they will be eating chips and spitting in droves at passers by.
Nothing ends the evening like a fight and an ambulance or police car, and Faringdon never fails to disappoint here – the sounds of sirens often spell the evening alarm for the local ‘youff’ telling them it is now time for curfew, but only before they have a good peer at what is happening and who will be carted away by either stretcher or cuff.
So, all you migratory city folk beware, Faringdon – as pretty as it is – has an ever increasing Chav population which you will only see at evenings – which is the down side – this is when you are home.