I’m sure it hasn’t passed your notice that the New7Wonders of the World have been announced. (Apparently people voted for them. They claim it’s the first example of a worldwide democracy, yet I wasn’t informed of the election, despite, apparently, six years of work and advertising…) But the ones they voted for are pretty good, but mine are better. And here thus they are. In no particular order.
- Perry Wood, near Faversham, Kent. This was a place of much amusement between myself, my sister and stepbrothers. Perry Wood with no mud was not worth going there. My dad and my stepmum would take us all down there and while they stayed in the car, we would play just on the mass of felled wood by the car park. Climbing trees were aplenty; as were mugs of squash and ham sandwiches with crisps. Many a t-shirt was ripped in that wood.
- Mintching Woods, Milstead, near Sittingbourne, Kent. I used to go there a lot too as a child. A wood that backed onto the M2 perhaps isn’t the obvious choice for Beavers, Cubs and Scouts to have meetings, but that we did. There was a terrific clearing with plenty of room for a huge fire, and that was where I learnt how to make my own. We used to collect dry wood for the fire and cook this strange kind of pastry on the end of bark-stripped sticks over the fire. Brilliant. On our last Scout trip there, we found the whole place had been felled.
- Hexham, Northumberland. A historic market town on Hadrian’s Wall, Hexham is a place of history. There is an abbey, a long-running market, a large park, and, I believe, two Tescos. There used to be a department store called Robbs there. You would have to park the car in the car park by the river, then transcend the steep slope to its entrance. It was a traditional British department store that sold everything and was the first port of call for anything – particularly if you were keen to show off. My grandparents used to reserve a table in their café for us all to go and have something to eat and drink straight away. Robbs built a larger store by the river… before folding and sold out to Tesco.
- Stocksfield, Northumberland. This is the village off the A69 where my grandparents lived. It was on the railway line and frequently saw the freight trains go by, shaking the sideboard as it passed. They had an apple tree in the garden, that we seemingly never ate from despite its wealth of fruit (I’m guessing perhaps they were cooking apples…). And my grandma’s roast dinners were the best!
- Borden Grammar School, Sittingbourne, Kent. Despite all the connotations of going through an all-boys grammar school, I probably learned more about life there than anywhere else… which is a good thing I guess. And for all the moaning that others made during their time there, I miss it (rather sad I know…). I miss the sense of community, for all we denied there was no such thing. Everyone knew everyone at least in their year and everyone had a friend in someone.
- Kitanomaru Park, Tokyo, Japan. I only spent a few hours there, but it was surprisingly peaceful. It was nicely done in terms of planting and keeping it well. It had a small stream passing through, and despite it being surrounded by Tokyo’s largest concert hall and a major road, it was a tranquil place. And there were some very odd people there. And it was where Waz and I first discovered their mental vending machines, which could be found anywhere and everywhere.
- The MetroCentre, Gateshead. It is really the father of indoor shopping malls in Britain, pre-dating Bluewater and with more. It once boasted Europe’s largest indoor theme park (though it is still pretty large). As well as all the High Street shops you could want, there are the smaller independents and a chapel of all things. You can get your hair done, have a meal, watch a film, do some shopping, go on the roller coaster, pray, shop some more and if you’re not tired after all that, Wetherspoon’s is open quite late… if not, there are a few hotels nearby.
So there they are. Anyone been to any of these places? 🙂