Thursday, November 04, 2010

Top 10 Warminster disasters*

'Gee, how I would love to be living in Warminster right now. You seem to be getting all the kicks and high jinks in life'
– Schoolgirl from Kansas (as quoted in The Warminster Mystery by Arthur Shuttlewood, 1967, an account of UFO sightings in and around Warminster in 1965)

This is my last week in Warminster, Wiltshire, 'the worst place in England to live' (someone said to me). A bit harsh perhaps, but it has been a bleak experience.

1. Splitting up with my family
It just didn't work out.

2. Burning the living room
Okay, that's an exaggeration; we had the log fire blazing with some cardboard lying quite near it (my fault). The cardboard caught on fire. I threw a bucket of water over it and black ash liquid seeped into the carpet. Don't tell the landlord.

3. Getting off on the wrong request-only train station in the middle of nowhere
I'd only just moved to Wiltshire and started an evening college course (screen printing); on the train back at night I had on my iPod and didn't hear the announcement that the train was stopping at a request stop, Dilton Marsh, quite a few miles from Warminster. I dashed out of the train. By the time I realised my mistake the train had gone. I looked around. There was nothing and no one. I phoned home. Mel was going to have to wake up Martha and pick me up by car. She phoned back two minutes later saying Martha had been sick everywhere and wouldn't be able to pick me up. I wondered around a while. I eventually found a cab.

4. Being chased out of 'friendly local' pub by a group of stoned skinheads
I've mentioned this previously (fourth paragraph down).

5. Being rejected from a local factory job
This involved having to don an apron, net hat and wellington boots then being shown around a prawn-packing factory followed by a twenty-minute maths test. Which I failed. We were allowed to use calculators but it took me about ten minutes to find the calculator on my phone. Even then the questions were harder than GCSE maths and I didn't get very far. (In my defence, all the factory jobs eventually went to Poles in a Polish job agency.)

6. Nothing to do at all
Eh, in my day you made your own entertainment. Whatever. It's like a soulless wasteland. Anyone for skittles?

7. Ex-in-laws threatening to move to Warminster
Perhaps the final straw/nail in coffin etc.

8. Living in a draughty, falling apart, rat-infested house for three years with an apathetic landlord

9. Not knowing anyone for a 100-mile radius
Thank heavens for broadband.

10. Never having seen a UFO or an alien
Everyone else here tends to see them. A friend thinks the whole town consists of aliens. And that's being charitable.

*Apart from moving here.

Due to overwhelming public demand, here's a few extras we remembered whilst clearing the house out:

• We locked ourselves out of the house on our first night.
Mel's best friend bought her (rescue home) dog over to visit. It shat diarrhea all over our bedroom.
• We had a plague of ants for about a week.
• In the early days, Mel was always tripping over in the house. And breaking things.

• Finally, as recently as last week I almost set the dining table on fire. With a bunch of candles on a tin tray. We forgot about them and the candles burnt through the tray, melted the varnish on the table and was very close to catching on fire.


Mel said...

Yep... it looks pretty grim when you list it all like that. I'm surprised we're still alive, and talking to each other. I'm sorry it hasn't worked out. You'll (probably) start to miss Warminster from the safe distance of London - all those bright lights, cultured people, and things to do 24/7... Huh, who needs it?

Sophie Lily said...

Ah Barnaby, maybe you should have seen the sights of Avebury, Silbury Hill or even the market town Sailsbury, they have a great old fashioned sweet shop!
But yes, I can't spend more than a week in Wiltshire, it is beautiful, and lush, but that can be turned into bleak quite easily! Good luck in the smoke!

Chris Chapman said...

Why limit yourself to 10?

Barnaby said...

Thanks, Sophie. I've seen those places you mentioned many times. Wiltshire does has some great stuff in it. But like the countryside in general, it's good for a visit, not to live.

Chris: I didn't want to overdo it and have people think I disliked Warminster.

Anonymous said...

"But like the countryside in general, it's good for a visit, not to live".
You sound just like your father...

Its how I feel about 'the city', who would want to live in such a cramped, grey, dreary, and damn right depressing place?

james said...

And, in addition to all of that, some annoying bloke with red hair kept turning up, and we missed the Daleks.

Mel said...

Can I just add that the disasters continue in your absence? Two days in at the new house and M gets chicken pox. Spots all over the place, poor child. We are now isolated and housebound for 10 days or so, big red cross painted on the front door...

Barnaby said...

Anon: I am turning into my father, it's true, but also, aren't parents always right in the end?

James: we missed the Daleks but saw R2D2, a Sand Person, K-9 and the simple farmer who stank. Yeah, that red haired guy, was he from Dr Who?

Mel: it's the Warminster effect!

Anonymous said...

Maybe the biggest Warminster disaster is Barnaby. The smoke is welcome to him!

Barnaby said...

You are probably right, Anon.