Unlike most of my friends and colleagues, I am pointedly NOT going home after I finish my degree. In fact, I’ve worked ridiculously hard (40-hour work week on top of uni, anyone?) to make sure that I DON’T have to go back to my monotonous hometown. But now that I’ve finished my degree, and hopefully have settled down for the next few years in my uni town, do I miss anything about the town I grew up in?
I was born and raised in Northamptonshire, a county in the Midlands that is known for three things: shoes, Weetabix and James Acaster. Growing up, there was barely anything to do in my ex-industrial, poverty-stricken hometown. Yes, we had a theme park. Was it worth going to? No.
The town I went to school in was no better. You can look it up, but Corby used to be one of the most depressed towns in the UK, with high rates of unemployment making the town a literal dead-end after leaving school.
Are there things I miss about my home county though? On reflection, I’d say yes. If you’d asked me two years ago, I’d say absolutely not, but my nostalgia for Midlands culture has hit me now that I know I won’t be going back.
There are many great things about Northamptonshire that those familiar with the county will recognise. Iconic cafe chain Jenny’s is a personal favourite of myself and fellow Northamptonian, Meg Maguire (of YSTV fame).
It turns out that the coffee chain Bewitched is a Northamptonshire- only establishment. You also have the legendary shop The Bean Hive, of which has a sister location in Falmouth, that I go to every time I trek home: you can buy fancy trinkets and a plethora of witchy supplies, of which are right up my street.
Northamptonshire also has the Royal & Derngate, a theatre where I went and watched a pantomime every Christmas. There’s also the Savoy Cinema in Corby. It used to be the best cinema to go to until the construction of Rushden Lakes, a shopping centre, and now has become the second-best option if you can’t be bothered to drive across the county. There is the aforementioned theme park Wicksteed Park, where basically everyone works at some point in their teenage years. My opinion of Wicksteed is interesting, however, as I did have a firework shot at me in 2005 (look it up), but the carousel ride was the pinnacle of my childhood.
Ultimately, would I suggest making the three-hour drive to Northamptonshire? Absolutely not, unless you have to pass through to escape the M6. But do I miss my county-based family traditions and the Midlands culture that doesn’t seem to be represented in York? I do, and I am going to miss it still.