Midlands towns

Driving through Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Rutland this week makes me appreciate our environment. It’s so easy to take your location for granted so I am trying to wider my perception and learn mindfulness. To take in my surroundings through feeling rather than to let thinking dictate all my experiences. The Midlands are full of towns pretending to be something they are not. ‘Love Loughborough, love life’, our new slogan makes me smile. It sounds like a desperate plea. Then there’s Whitwell twinned with Paris. The story goes that the locals wrote to the mayor of Paris several times to ask for agreement to an exchange. Finally they wrote to say that they would assume the twinning was a mere formality if they heard nothing. Which is what happened. There is something admirable about their audacity. The people of Paris would probably be amused as you’d miss Whitwell if you sneezed as you drove through it.

Then there’s Belper in Derbyshire. Twinned with Nantucket, Rhode Island. Indeed. Belper is a one horse town with takeaways, knitting shops, betting shops and no particular distinguishing character. Nantucket is a playground of the rich and famous. The Kennedys have holiday homes there. Has anyone from Nantucket ever been to Belper? I doubt it.

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