Monday, 24 June 2013

Eulogy for my home town

After much thought, I decided to set my novel Save The Last Dance For Me (or it could well be called A Suitable Young Man - I haven't made up my mind yet), in my home town of Horwich in Lancashire. My logic was that I knew it well. When I lived there in the 1950s/1960s, it was a vibrant thriving town with a couple of mills and the Locomotive Works and many traditional independent shops. I found that using it as the location for my novel, it became as much a character of the book as any of the other characters.

Sadly, the Locomotive Works, then the main source of work for Horwich men, closed about 1968 followed soon after by the mills. 

I haven't lived there since 1967 but have returned there many times, especially with my mother before she died. Now that I live in Derbyshire, hubby and I try to go back at least once a year to tend the family grave and spend some time with a friend I've known for 60 years. 

Last weekend, we took a short break holiday to the area and on Saturday morning, as usual, took a walk around Horwich. It seemed as if every other shop was shuttered and the rest of the town looked shabby and careworn. One of my abiding memories had been the independent ironmongers', Buchanan's, with its pervading smell of firewood and paraffin. We were so sad, on Saturday, to see that, too, was closed and shuttered. It seemed to me then that the heart and soul of Horwich has gone. There's no doubt it my mind that the town has been killed off by the nearby retail park of Middlebrook.

At least, Horwich lives on in my memory and in my book!