Every now and again my work takes me over the Pennines to the town of Ashton Under Lyne, to get there I could take a slow haul along the A roads followed by a dash of motorway, but I prefer the scenic route, it’s one I never tire of, the journey has inspired a post or two (or maybe it is at least three!) but there could be many more. Ashton would once have described its self as a Lancashire Mill town, towns that were woven from the weft and the warp of the textile industry.
Many of the mills are now demolished, the textile industry fell into decline during the great depression and never recovered. As with all towns, things have changed and it is a town that is not without it social problems (but then which town isn’t).
But Ashton maintains a friendly feel (and I suspect if the place was just a smidge larger than it is, this would be lost.) People know one another and greet one another in the street and stop and chat. Park yourself on a bench in the town centre at lunch time, to eat your sandwich** and the person next to you is likely to strike up a conversation. I have an affection for the place.
*‘There and back, to see how far it is’? What my brother always used to reply, when he was a teenager, when Mum asked him as he left home, ‘Where are you going?’