Midhurst, home of the tripods

Living in Midhurst, West Sussex
Living in Midhurst, West Sussex

H.G. Wells studied and taught at the school, Midhurst Grammar (as it was then). The school has since been turned into an academy, and resembles the starship Enterprise, if it had crashed into a brick factory, and Grange Hill. It was the events of 1880 that inspired Wells to speculate and ejaculate about tripod fighting machines, dug up from the earth. In his book , The War of the Worlds, they crawl up out of the ground and attack Woking, and eventually London, but they were built by Martians, living in Midhurst as local ironworkers.

The disguise wasn’t much of a stretch, with the Martians being a species of rasping, pulsating invertebrate, with dark eyes and lank tendrils around a beak-like mouth, and a quivering top lip. Some of the ‘type’s you used to get in Midhurst were actually quite similar in physical appearance and retained some semblance down the generations, before the upper middle classes moved n a gave the town its Costa and Pizza Express. Now you can’t move for Porsche Cayennes and Pashminas.

However, every so often, you can hear the Ulla Ullas and the hollering and hooting, up in the mist-cloaked hollows of surrounding woodland and the clattered hovels. Legends still abound about The Star Wars Bar – the Silver Horseshoes – before the era of gentrification, and what toothless creatures slurped and slurred in the recesses, before taking a piss through the letterboxes along knockhundred row, before being scared away by a looming, rusting totem pole of iron, creaking in the wind, appear to stride over rooftops and toward St Annes Hill. That was the time when the wise knew to head to The Crown and score some drugs.

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