Wonderful Wigan

John Wesley called it Wicked Wigan but it’s Wonderful Wigan to me.

I just never thought it was wonderful when I lived there. Somehow, in this little northern English town, the skies always seemed grey, the winters long, the sunshine sparse, and the opportunities bleak.

But it’s strange how I have grown to cherish a place I once couldn’t wait to leave; how on a sunny Monday morning when my lovely sister and nieces are playing in the brass band, their notes can make me cry for days long gone, and family time that slipped through my fingers.

This is what I think as I stand, listening to them play. Dressed in their smart black suits with white shirt and striped tie, they sit under the red canopy, their hair blowing in the wind. IMG_2706 IMG_2694 IMG_2710 We gather nearby to listen – my sister and brother, my nephews, and nieces. I video the girls as they play. IMG_2708 Later on we will walk by the lovely canal that weaves its way like a secret through the streets of industrial Wigan, and my nephew, Jake, will run ahead of us and back again, like I used to do when I was a little girl.

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Fifty long years ago, those were my feet, that ran back and forth on this same tow path, laughing with my dad and my brothers and sisters as we fed the ducks and ate our cream cheese and spring onion sandwiches.

Once, when it rained, we sheltered under one of the little stone bridges that arch their way over the water and watched as the raindrops made ripples that spread from bank to bank. IMG_2726 I didn’t know it then, but I was a lucky girl to have been born in this little town, and to be part of such a wonderful family.

But I know it now.

And this is what I think about as the notes of All Through the Night are carried on the breeze and through the streets of Wigan… the far-away town where I was born.

And sometimes, even though I am four thousand long miles away, I imagine I can still hear them.

8 thoughts on “Wonderful Wigan

  1. Natalie

    hehe, my sister Jehan, her husband, my other sister Jehan and her hubby (Matt) all perform in a community band in my hometown, Monticello, GA. I think its grand as well. If I were there, I would be playing the flute with them. But my home right now is in Portland, OR. xoxo

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  2. David Nellist

    Glenys, your blog made me tear up. We often don’t know the value of something until it’s gone, do we!

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  3. Alan Flook

    It is strange that as we grow older we never forget our roots ,no matter if we were rich or poor our hearts always draw us back to those early days of our lives . For some of us money which was always short never seemed to matter quite so much and we were happy to take a bottle of water and walk miles with our friends to the nearest park and play for hours then walk back home tired and be greeted by our mother who had a good meal waiting for us . Oh happy days .

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