“I AM not a Blackpool man!” The chap in my local pub insisted to his drinking pal. “I’m from Great Marton.”
“And where does that start?” piped up a younger voice.
“Eee lad,” the older speaker muttered sadly, “don’t you know nowt?”
In fact, its west boundary is Whitegate Drive, one of those grand avenues sweeping through our resort and built generously – to the width of two passing horse-drawn carriages.
If you then walk up Preston Old Road from Blackpool’s oldest pub, The Saddle Inn, you pass what was once a Victorian alehouse called the Lord Nelson – now restored as a private residence. Keep walking beyond the Boar’s Head, cross over South Park Drive and eventually you’ll see an east boundary marker stone.
It’s the sort of thing you wouldn’t spot when driving, but notice on foot – assuming you have the time and inclination to look.
This columnist, in early retirement from daily newspaper work, can now do such mooching about.
I share, too, that older speaker’s interest in his neighbourhood.
The irony of life is that as you get older, more worldly and supposedly wiser, daily life grows conversely smaller.
I now spend more time around my neighbourhood, am acquainted with my neighbours, and use local shops – where we exchange pleasantries along with words of wisdom (and gossip).
We also help each other with odd services and even tidy up the street, or churchyard when sauntering along.
It’s called being neighbourly and, along with local pride and responsibility, is a vital ingredient for healthy society.
Of course, you need a sense of humour too – and readiness to learn.
What’s more, I still get around – She Who Knows sees to that. On those odd days when summer has shone upon us, we’ve cycled from Edmonds Towers to admire Cleveleys prom – using the council’s ride-a-bike scheme.
There are also regular excursions by car to Lytham, where civic pride abounds.
It was here one local put me in my place with the crack, “So, you’re a donkey-lasher!”
That, by the way, was a bit of Fylde banter on folk who come from Blackpool – I’ve not been mistreating animals.
In fact, we’ve even visited that far horizon of our coast – Knott End. It features on the cover of my next book, entitled The Last Resort.
That cheeky plug should make the editor smile, just as the youngster’s response in my local pub amused me.
“Well, I do know where Great Marton is,” he told that critical older speaker. “I’ve just looked it up on my phone.”
n Books by Roy are available at Plackitt & Booth, Lytham, or online – see www.royedmonds-blackpool.com for full details.