It has no style, you see. It used to have a sort of downbeat charm, but that was in the good old days when you could open the door of your little terraced house on a frosty night and shiver your way to the local chippy, exulting in the lurid haloes of yellow mist painted around the street lamps, the product of smoke from a million factory chimneys combining with the late autumnal mist. And then you’d cough your way back, carrying the prized parcel of battered cod and chips wrapped in a piece of old newspaper, and recline on the moth-eaten sofa to watch a late Universal horror film in black and white.
‘Lie-in tomorrow. Sunday. Bacon, cheese, tomatoes and oatcakes for breakfast. Yum.’
It’s all gone now. There are relatively few factories left, the big steelworks has gone, and so have all the pits. And I’m vegetarian. Full circle.
I think I know who the visitor from Stoke-on-Trent was, though, so I don’t mind at all really.