Thursday, 9 February 2012

Back to the Homestead

Well driving through it at any rate.  I visited my friend today armed with fabulous cupcakes made, not by me, as they were "too perfect for you to have made them"! and passed en route through my old stomping ground Crawley.  My friend lives in Horsham - she has officially arrived.  It is infinitely better than Crawley and is actually listed in the top 5 places to live in the UK.  It is very middle class, affluent and with a certain class of mummy - Phil and Ted double buggy, co-ordinating baby bags, organic snacks, ballet classes the whole shabang. You get the picture.

Now Crawley is an unremarkable town.  It does, believe it or not, date back to the Stone Age but more recently in 1946 the New Towns Act was passed and Crawley was one of the chosen few to accommodate the over spill of people in London.  Cue building the new town with ugly grey concrete buildings.  I mean Crawley College has to be the most uninspiring building to grace its presence. I did come out with an 'A' level in Law which I did in the evening though so it can't be all bad.


Crawley college its much greyer in the flesh - liking the fact they've waited for it to be sunny!

Having said this, as a Crawleyite, I am very proud to call Tilgate Park my own - it is free, it is wonderful for kids, has a huge lake, ducks, sprawling grounds and having been born and bred there I know where to park without paying the now £2 entrance fee. 

Its not that I'm adverse to paying this its just this secret car park is very handy and I always make sure I put that money in the FREE nature reserve within its grounds. Bless this little website that the Crawley pose have produced http://www.visitcrawley.co.uk/crawleyhistory.pdf. There is also a facebook page called Crawley Happy Times!  The locals are proud and truth be known I'm quite fond of the old girl. I mean Daly Thompson came out of it and our proudest claim to fame..... The Cure. You can't ask more than that can you?

I mention this as an old school friend contacted me recently via facebook. I only have a few old school friends on facebook - 3 - as I figure if you haven't made contact in over 20 years then you weren't that fussed in the first place. I have very fond memories of her.  We were best friends in primary school (my second primary school as the first was closing down so my mum moved me) and it was a good 35/40 minute walk to get there.  I used to cycle to my friends house who lived nearer to the school than I did at weekends.  We didn't have Internet, mobiles etc in those days. It was a case of asking if you could use the phone and saying "can I come over?"

One of the great things about living in Crawley was its proximity to Gatwick airport. I remember jumping on the train (without paying of course) 2 stops to Gatwick.  It was our playground.  Some kids hang around the local shops - if you lived in Crawley you hung around Gatwick Airport.  Around the shopping village and the best bit catching the free shuttle that takes you from the North to the South terminal - hours of fun!

My friend was very creative and quieter than me and we remained best friends in secondary school (the 6th worse in West Sussex at the time - it was close to my home and there was no ofsted in those days).  I don't know how we lost contact when we left.  I think she stayed on to 6th form and I went the grey concrete building of Crawley College and then went on to the dizzy heights of banking and beyond. She went off to work on the Guardian newspaper - get in!

We used to have a detective club (just the 2 of us mind) we made up ID cards and would randomly follow people on the street. See what happens when you don't have modern technology. We also had a dance troupe (3 in total including us) where we would perform to the assembly in primary school.  I got t-shirts from the market and sewed on sequins with the numbers 1,2 &3. We were like a condensed version of the band 5 Star. Of course, I bagged number 1 - prime position.  We did some fabulous numbers Sister Sledge - Frankie, Its raining men and Freedom on roller skates. 

I wonder what makes people reminisce about others, anyway I'm glad she did as like the Crawley facebook page claims they were "happy times"

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