Unfulfilled? Tired of waiting to win the lottery? Has that dream partner not yet walked into your life? Fear not, dear reader, for the solution to all your problems can be found at the southern end of the M3, where sits a gem in the firmament of anglo-saxon jewels, a veritable Shangri-La of a mythical paradise, a city of dreams: Southampton.
Shirley High Street
Wander ye through the fragrant fields of Shirley High Street on a Saturday afternoon and wonder at nature’s proclivities, as Mums and Dads (brothers, sisters and first cousins) waddle along the pavement with their 7 screaming children and concomitant super buggies, surveying the panoply of delights available to the discerning shopper who wishes to pay no more than .99p for an item. Watch wide-eyed in delight, as Kylie, Kylee, Kilee, Kileigh, Kyleigh, Kaylee, Kayleigh and Kaylee insult any passer-by that they can with their best carrot-crunching invective, as they guzzle their WhizzKDs and finger their underweight ten bags, marking their territory with the natural deposit of chewing gum, phlegm and junk food packaging. Feeling thirsty? Pop down to The Stile Inn and enjoy your drink amidst the honest funk of a bar that [allegedly] hasn’t been washed in any way for the last 30 years and marvel at the deep ochre colour of the net curtains. Recommended.
A blissful stroll across the town centre heading east and you, dear traveller, will find yourself in the haven of Northam. Don’t worry if you get lost – any visitor who looks out of place will soon be helped by any number of local hoodies who will bend over backwards to send you on your way, out of “their” territory. If you’re lucky, you may even find yourself with a souvenir of the occasion, as you wake up in A&E, bereft of your possessions… and if you’re feeling thirsty, why not try the Prince of Wales, on the edge of the popular and sought-after properties of the Northam Estate? Just make sure you don’t look at anyone while you’re in there. Recommended.
Further up the hill to the summit lies the fragrant copse of Midanbury, where a focal point for the surrounding populace is the popular and endearing parade of shops at the top of Witts Hill, where, if you’re lucky, you may spot droves of schoolchildren shoplifting, or queueing up for cheesy chips at either one of the two non-Michelin-starred fast food emporiums of the [allegedly] lowest standard. Let your eyes wander over the stream of track-suited alcoholics drifting in-and-out of S&A corner shop, but better hold your nose as you do. Here, also, you may be lucky enough to spot the well-known local b.o. ridden alkie and serial vandal, leeringly threatening women and exposing himself to children, as the local council and police do nothing.
Over the hill and down finds the traveller in one of the most-visited areas of eastern Southampton: the gleaming spires of Townhill Park. All day long, the streams of cars come-and-go, as they visit the estate for rare and much sought-after commodities, like Billy, Harry and other assorted collectibles. You may spot friendly hooded young business entrepreneurs, hanging around the parade of shops, offering their commercial services as they sit on their bicycles, often accompanied by their female consorts Chanel, Chanelle, Chanell, Shanel, Shanell and Shanelle. Noteworthy landmark: the post box with its pickup suspended and aperture closed-off, due to death threats to the local postmen. Recommended.
And so, dear traveller, we come to the end of our wistful trip through the delights of this finest of Wessex conurbations.. but no visit to Southampton would be complete without a mention of that most noble of suburbs: Weston. Its triple towers gaze majestically across the Solent, as the fug of heroin smoke drifts out of its smashed-up doors, past the recumbent bodies of local cognoscenti, surrounded by their paraphernalia of dirty needles, empty Frosty Jack bottles and used-up wrappers of underweight tenbags. Visit at nighttime and you may be lucky enough to spot pockets of foraging hooded wildlife, as they move in to find sustenance, nourishment and anything else that they can nick. Recommended.