Friday, 9 January 2009

Quirks of Fate

The Prime Minister, Gordon Brown visited Derby on Wednesday, as did Nigel Clough. And whose visit will be remembered longest, Nigel's of course. For Nigel has become manager of the local football team..
We are rather a small time town, and county for that matter. (We are actually a city but you would hardly know.) The local airport, East Midlands, four miles from Derby incorporated the name Notts in its title for a spell, arguing that no one knew where Derby or Derbyshire was. (I travel fairly extensively in the British Isles and find this is often the case.) Rather naff but perhaps the airport authority had a point.
We have little interest in informing the world of our greatness, our superiority over other beings. (Lest it be said we lack pride, our football ground is called Pride Park, not too often with just cause, except for last Wednesday of course.
If some Yorkshiremen are exiled, they often have to tell you, ad nauseum where they are from; if you work with some Yorkshiremen they too also remind you frequently. Not imagined, alas, I have worked with many. And quite frankly, if I was expected to shout 'Derbyshire, Derbyshire' at a football match I'd be embarrassed. I have many Yorkshire friends, including bloggers, visit the county often and much of the place is beautiful; so please, no more unwanted bellicose rants in my direction.
Which all makes me wonder how others see us and our home areas.
Derby; Bonnie Prince Charlie, marched from Scotland, got as far as Derby and went home; I wonder why. Derby, home of Derby Crown China, Rolls Royce aero engines. Derbyshire, Bakewell Puddings, (they are puddings, not tarts,) a crooked spire and underrated scenery.
It is interesting how places become famous, and occasionally infamous. I have never been to Hastings but I know there was a battle there. Lockerbie, for ever remembered for an horrific air crash. (It is twenty years this week since the Kegworth Air Disaster not far from here. I wonder how many will think of this when the name of Kegworth is mentioned.) I think of Hungerford and only think of a terrible gunman running amok. Bamburgh will forever be remembered as the birthplace of the brave Grace Darling. Nottingham and Robin Hood, the White Cliffs of Dover, Dick Turpin and York, we often form a picture of many places without having ever visited.
(Concerning infamy, see blog dated 4th October. I would be mortified if Derby were to be remembered for such detestable, thoughtless insensitive behaviour. It seems to have already been forgotten. Sad in a way though I would not like it to be thought of as being typical of the place.)
We seek an identity, some more than others. Which brings me back to good old Nigel; just a football manager. A forty two year old, modest, unassuming, likeable typical Derbyshire born individual. Whose arrival in Derby on Wednesday resembled that of the Messiah. And to many he is just that. Almost thirty thousand people go to the football at Derby. That's a lot of people for a the size of the place. (population around 230,000.) Football is in a way a tribal thing, intangible but an identity for many, and in cases like Derby somewhat traditional. Many children from an early age will 'adopt' a team. Usually a famous successful team, for instance Manchester United. Right or wrong, people travel miles to go to their home matches just for the privilege of watching what they consider the best and inevitably claim 'bragging rights' over lesser mortals. None of us have any control over where we were born. I was born in Derby and saw my first Derby County match in 1948. I have followed them since through thick and thin, and boy, have there been some thin times! Without wishing to labour the point, only a football fan can realise how a successful football team can lift a town. Many years ago Nigel Clough's father, Brian became the manager of Derby County and was extremely successful and popular. History repeats itself and the whole town is agog with excitement. Incidentally life can be very quirky. Nigel Clough was born here and lives here with his family. His father came from Middlesborough but we didn't mind and he is in fact buried here.
I look at the addresses of the friends I have made amongst the visitors to my humble blog; two things spring to mind. How do you see your town/city/area. What would you expect it to mean to me? And secondly, off the top of your head, what do you know of Derby and Derbyshire?


Yorkshire Pudding said...

I can't remember being guilty of a bellicose rant against all things Derbyshire and you in particular... Here in Sheffield I have lived close to Derbonians for many years and I have found that some of them are quite literate. I also knew one Derby chap who actually used underarm deodorant - though he was possibly batting for the other side.

Marian Dean said...

Haven't been to Derby City, except to drive thru it a couple of times, but I had relatives in Buxton and had many happy hols there as a youngster. When I was first driven through the peak district I apparently exclaimed to my parents, "Look at them there 'ills" (I am from Lancashire!) Later on my brother managed a farm at Castle Donnington, so we used to visit the area a lot.
So I for one knew and know where Derby is Ken. Bravo to the beautiful Peak District!

Marian Dean said...

Forgot to mention in the above. I now live down south in Hastings. So if you know your history.. Battle of Hastings.. 1066 and all that, that should spring to mind at the mention of Hastings.

Mad Asthmatic said...

off the top of my head here are my facts for Derbyshire
Peak District country, Chatsworth House and Bolsover Castle, and my last little fact - it has been said that Derbyshire was the home of the Industrial Revolution.

How do i see my town/area. I live in Warminster, a garrison town situated in the middle of Salisbury Plain. It is home and where I belong. I tried being a city girl but I have realised since that I am a country girl at heart.

What would I expect it to mean to you - the town will probably not mean too much, but the surrounding areas include places such as Stonehenge, Salisbury Cathedral - the tallest spire in the country. Bath with its spa and tea rooms, Jane Austen country and on my doorstep - Longleat with all his wifelets.


Anonymous said...

I feel like Schultz from 'Hogan's Heroes'...
I know nothing. Nothing....

DJ Kirkby said...

Oh I did a bit about this on a post last year, it was call 41 things about me or some such thing (can't remember, def had the number 41 in it) and there is a bit on the town I live in.

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Only some of us literate! Re deodorant, I know him, he's the only gay in the village, sorry town.
Used to visit Sheffield regularly when I worked in Chesterfield. Unlike Derby it has the feel of a city. Strangely enough they don't get the football support we get. (Unless they are doing well. ) Perhaps it's because the support is shared by two teams.
The racetrack at Donington will be one of the best in the world by some time next year.
Often stay overnight in our motorhome in Castleton. A world of its own.
Must go to hastings and area one year. Is it worth a visit?
Broke down with a Lada in Salsbury. Was in Bath last year, very impressive.
Re revolution, there is Revolution House not far from Chesterfield.
And I was followed round a place in Lincolnshire by a woman who was convinced I was the bloke from Longleat I kid you not! Mind you, I was also once mistaken for Joe Cocker.
Go on, you know more than you're letting on!
Not found your 41 yet but still looking. You would be amazed how much a young person like you is teaching an old man like me. Am writing an autobiographical thingy as you know and find writing re relationships difficult. (Maybe I do'nt want to embarrass my kids.) Reading your stuff has definitely helped.

Mean Mom said...

I do know a little about Derbyshire. I walked over those stepping stones at Dovedale, a few times, when I lived in the Black Country. A few years ago, we stayed in Derbyshire and went down into the Speedwell Cavern. This was very brave of me, I felt, as water, confined spaces and darkness are not amongst my favourite things.

About 18 months ago, we stayed in Derbyshire again and went to the Heights of Abraham and Chatsworth House.

I'm not going to take up any more space on your blog, except to say, re your reply to my comment about your trousers - you are such a card! LOL!

Daphne said...

I had a lovely weekend in the Peak District a while back and intend to go back soon! Chatsworth is magnificent too. And I've been to the theatre in Derby a few times as well. I don't know Derbyshire well but I like what I know of it so far!

Gill - That British Woman said...

no nothing about Derby, sorry!!! We Cumbrian's tend to stay close to home, no idea how we ended up in Canada??? Do know that according to dh the best football (we have to call it soccer, now that we live in Canada) team in the world is Carlisle United...someone has to cheer them on, so don't laugh too loudly at him!!!

Still laughing at Yorkshire Pudding's comments about the deodorant!!!

Gill in Canada

Robert said...

I know Derby well - that's where they have that famous horse race, isn't it?

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Meam Mom
You can take as much time on my blog as you like!
Devedale never seems to change but you should see matlock on Sundays, hundreds of motorbikes.
You might like to glance at the blog dated 1th June (Weekend Wind Down.)n

Grumpy Old Ken said...

We haven't even got a theatre at the moment. How sad for the size of the place.


Never mind eh. Carlisle FC will come again, I'm sure.


You are pulling my leg, I hope!