There has been a few readers of this blog who approach me via email, SMS and notes wrapped round bricks and delivered via my windows, desperate to know what I would do with the other bits of the Borough of Broxtowe once the Revolution takes place and I assume my rightful place as Benign Dictator. Will I cast them aside as excess fat off the prime steak that is Beestonia? Or acknowledge we have been linked together now for thirty years and take them with me as part of my Utopian state? I decided I better do as the Romans did, and send surveyors into the wilder reaches, and report back. Yes, I did that, and didn’t just garner all the facts for this article from Wikipedia and memories of getting lost on my bike on Trowell Moor.
No mention of Eastwood can get by without mentioning its stunning literary heritage, which delivered one of the greatest pieces of literature to the world. Yes, Eastwood was, as we all know, the inspiration for T.S.Eliot’s epic poem ‘The Waste Land’. Yep, despite its references to Greenwich and the Thames, its clear that the cruel Aprils, the discarded cigarette packets, the empty bottles are all references to the former pit-town. The anagrammed Mr Toilets just threw the London stuff in to avoid law-suits. I did English-lit, trust me. Want more proof? The first mention of Eastwood, or Estewick as it was then known, was in the Domesdays book where it recieved a one word description : ‘wasteland’. I think that is fairly conclusive, and nice to see its clung to its heritage with such aplomb.
Beestonia or Not-Beestonia: Sorry, no dice. Even the revenue to be garnered by the DH Lawrence links are not worth it. He was a sub-Hardy anyhow, and had a beard that made him look like a sex-offender.
Famous for its drive-thru McDonalds, TK Maxx and Matalan, Chilwell sits like a bulbous arse on the finely toned body of Beeston. Theres lots to do in this pretty appendage, however, as long as heroin and strong lager are your hobbies. I have lots of friends there, or did until I typed the previous two sentences, so do have a fondness for it. Inham Nook has the ability to be simultaneously seriously scary, and quite pretty, backing onto the rural beauty of the little bit of greenbelt that straddles Stapleford, Toton and Bramcote. Until the tram appears, and it can become properly, fittingly ugly.
Beestonia or Not-Beestonia: Definately Beestonia. Even Benign Dictators need cheap designer track-suits and greasy burgers. It also has Chetwyn Barracks, which has TANKS and HARRIER JETS in it, so I can play war on a real scale.
Non-Beestonians in the UK will know Trowell as the place they go for a poo and an overpriced Ginsters Slice should they miss the turning to Leicester Forest East while driving up the M1. Its not all about the Services though, as it also has a degree of fame after being the selected ‘Festival Village’ in the 1951 Festival of Britain, as it was seen as ‘the most typical village in Britain’. This makes me so glad to have not been alive then. Has a garden centre, which I could try and make a joke of considering its name. Trowell, gardens, see? Feel free to find an aisle to roll down.
Beestonia or Not-Beestonia: Beestonia, just, on the grounds I have many happy memories of being 13 and walking to the services every weekend to spend my pocket money playing OutRun in the arcade. And it has a nice sprawling Moor. Unlike Medieval Spain, I can never have enough Moors.
Oh Stabbo! How wonderful it was to grow up in your borders. How brilliant it was to work for years collecting trollies and stealing sweets in your Co-Op, how wonderful to be near beaten to death on a friday night outside the Manor Chippy, how I yearn for those Halycon days of having nothing to do but sit on Bobs Rock and throw chips at the passers-by on Derby Road. Agh, I’m not bitter. The Saxon Cross is a wonderful thing, over 1400 years old, and The Hemlockstone (despite looking like a dog-turd stood on end) and surrounding woodland are sublimely wonderful. And Hyper, Britain’s Cheapest Supermarket, that sells out-of-date food and only stopped using half-penny pricing around the Millennium. Shame the Bingo Hall is gone though, that was a building I adored as a kid willingly dragged there every Saturday with my gran, and is possibly responsible for my holy trinity of bad habits: booze, Superking cigs and Bingo. Amen.
Beestonia or Not-Beestonia: Ah, how could I deny you, you shabby, stupid town? Come aboard, but please, please, behave.
What can one say about Nuthall? Errrr, nothing. Sorry.
Beestonia or Not Beestonia? As keen as I am on desolate traffic islands feeding traffic off the M1 into Nottingham, Im afraid I can’t allow it in.
Bramcote isn’t really a place as such, just what people who feel too posh to call themselves St.Aplefordians and too inferior to call themselves Beestonians call their streets. It has a fine leisure centre, a good pub (The Top House) a crap pub (The Sherwin Arms), lots of parks, some trees and two schools, one of which educated me in the loosest sense of the word. It has a fine village atmosphere, and the six-lanes of the A52 that cut right through its middle only add to this rural ambience.
Beestonia or Non-Beestonia: Nope. Sorry, I know it is possibly the prettiest place in Broxtowe , has most green-belt, and is necessary since it links Beeston to St.Apleford, but it loses out as I had my most embarrassing moment ever in Bramcote Leisure Centre, when I attended a Tai Chi lesson after eating some bad eggs. The memories are too raw, so bye, Bramcote bye.
So thats my vision. I know I have forgotten Toton, Kimberley, Brinsley, Cossall, Strelley and Greasley. I have yet to complete my survey. And as I have just marked myself out as a Dead Man Walking should I even so much as step out of Beeston, don’t be expecting my findings anytime soon.
All complaints to be delivered to me, who is actually a 62 year old woman called Margaret living in the Rylands and not a 36 year old man called Matt living on Marlborough Road.