United States Stories and Tips

Week 97 - Glory Hole

Trinity Church, Hinckley Photo, Hinckley, England

It’s always strange returning home after long periods away, a place
that still grasps at your childhood memories and many a fond memory can
be remembered. On recent trips back to Hinckley though, I have felt
nothing but an outsider upon returning, as if peering through an
exhibit window at the local zoo, observing the lives of people whose
face are still familiar but names have long since been forgotten.

Things
can quickly change and if I’m honest, Hinckley isn’t the place I once
rashly believed was heaven. Gone are the days of under-age drinking,
proclaiming fake birth dates in a deep husky voice in order to sample
the best of night time entertainment, dancing like a paraplegic to
trance anthems and falling head over heels for undesirable women who
had the ability to produce enough sweat to service the whole county’s
water needs.

To the uneducated visitor Hinckley can come across
as a dire, drab working-class of a town, its industrial heritage found
in many of the neglected factories that litter the landscape. It’s now
hard to believe that Hinckley was once the proud home of the hosiery
industry, where socks and tights were once shipped all over the world.

The
‘Hansom Cab’ was also developed here, which I am led to believe was the
world’s first taxi. Striking images from both New York and London have
a lot to thank Hinckley for! When you consider the infamous John
Merrick, aka ‘The Elephant Man’ lived down the road as well; Hinckley’s
past turns out to be not quite as gloomy as the current skyline
suggests where charity shops and pubs have invaded the high street. At
least the late night traditional English staples of battered sausages,
onion rings and chips coated in curry sauce are as good as ever. This
of course can offer only a little consolation.

In the few years
I have been away, old friends lives seem to have past with the same
regular routines, trapped in dead end jobs, their only chance of escape
through the joys of alcohol every weekend. You may ask why do I still
interact and socialize with such people whom share few similar
interests? It’s that little thing called nostalgia. Things haven’t been
helped with 24 hour drinking licenses. It’s not uncommon to find pubs
full of drinkers before the shops have opened at nine in the morning.
Such sights don’t really add to the beauty and tranquility of the
town.

A strange phenomenon has adhered itself to English
culture since I last resided here. Something that goes by the name of
‘Facebook’. This word is now brought up in most conversations and it
seems many people live vicariously through this website, which I have
to admit I don’t quite understand.

While some things had
changed, my grandmother is still the comical genius that she has always
been, her sweet conversations innocently full of provocative innuendos.
These have included asking what it was like seeing my fiancées ‘glory
hole’. She was referring to my fiancée’s parents basement, which is
full of brick-a-brack and hidden treasures from years of collecting
objects that many homeowners would have discarded.

I often
wonder if I will ever call England my home again, especially when
considering my long term plans and when news story now centre on the
never-ending shootings and gun crimes that now plague this country.
Even the slaying of an 11 year old, awfully tragic as it is surely
couldn’t have come as that much of a shock. ‘Lawless Britain’ as some
newspapers have commented, might still be slightly dramatic, but it’s
where I can see things heading towards.

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