Wantage should be a perfect place to live – a small market town sat at the foot of the Berkshire Downs in rural Oxfordshire. Alas, it’s not.
The houses are overly expensive and the town planners of the 1950s onwards for reasons unknown have managed to make all the residential areas as bland as humanly possible. Stand in the middle of the “Belmont Park” estate (Adkin Way, etc)- you could be in any working class/lower middle class development in the country. Or wander over to “Stockham Park” (they like their ‘Parks’ here) and marvel at the twee fake leaded windows, flaking grey pebbledash; the battered front door, patched back together here and there after being kicked in after another domestic row, and admire the bald front lawns complete with dented, rusting old ice-cream van and car-on-bricks. And then bear in mind that the house you’re looking at is probably on the market for well over £170K.
Then there’s the chavs.
The lovely chavs who liven up the centre of town every night of the week by screeching around in their neon and spoiler bedecked “Max’d up” cars, crappy urban ‘music’ thumping over the noise of an exhaust that sounds like it’s bust. They never actually drive anywhere, these chavs, just go around and around the market place, occasionally stopping in the middle for half an hour before commencing on their never-ending circuit once more.
Wantage appears to have a thriving chav population; walk into one of the pubs (The Blue Boar’s a good one for a laugh) of a Saturday night and with one quick sweep across the room you’ll manage to tick off a good number of contenders on any Chav Spotting List. You’ve got your Burberry cap wearing 16 year old lads who can’t handle their lager & lemonade lunging towards any female group with an “alwight laydeez?”; then there’s the under age girls (who can be as young as 14-15) who insist on dancing on any available bit of floor-space in the most revealing clothes possible- they’ll then usually proceed to gyrate against each other, encouraged by the leering dirty old men drooling somewhere near the fruit machine. Next you have your slightly older mixed sex group who sit moodily at ‘their’ table, glaring at anyone who isn’t in their crew. They’ll have not a single GCSE to their name but plenty of ASBOs. Then their’s the common garden sluts of varying age and size, either drunk and squealing/cackling with laughter every five seconds or blocking the way to the loos so that any one who needs to edge through them to get by will get a “f*cking perve! Don’t touch what you can’t f*ckin’ afford!” if male, or a “what? F*ckin’ filthy bitch!” if female. The rest will usually be either loud and lairy males or fake gold encrusted, football shirt encased mid 30/40 somethings with beer guts and tattoos.
Oh yeah, and there’s nearly always a new mother showing off her new born chav-to-be in the middle of the smoke and noisy dance music filled room. If you’re lucky you might even be able to spot one of the above mentioned mid30/40 something men sneakily handing his 7 year old shaven headed son his first bottle of Bud’. Ah bless.
It’s a lovely place, you should try it some time.