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Grim up North? Oh please… this is the new North

The sun is shining and it’s got me thinking; I LOVE Colne, I’ve never known any different as this is home, Lancashire, rolling hills, sheep and mill chimneys.

Remember, if you will, London 2012 and the breathtaking opening ceremony for the Olympics directed by Danny Boyle (that proud northern, working class lad done good). With an almost slave like drive the ceremony depicted bellowing chimneys, dower faces and darkness paving over the happy green lands, it was a spectacle for sure and as a snapshot of life many years ago in the industrial heart lands it wasn’t far wrong. THEN, yes THEN things changed and it’s true the north, the industry, the UK in general has changed. Our town even has a Conservative MP, something of a novelty in a traditionally Labour and working class area.

I grew up in the shadow of chimneys, the next street played host to the filming of The King’s Speech, such is it’s level of history and prestige but it’s a clean street now, there is no smog, there are views of fields, there are people with smart clothes, good jobs and a cheerful demeanour. Shock horror, we even know the names of our neighbours.

I live and work in Colne, my commute is a 5 minute walk through a town with historic architecture, people say hello, the shops have fresh foods, the estate agents have beautiful houses at sensible prices and we do have the latest trends and designs for sale right here in the “grim up north” town of Colne.

So why this post? Why did I feel the need to just explain in a teeny way how far we have come from the days “in t’mill”? It’s the constant surprise, I can barely believe that people still say “I can’t believe Colne has a shop like this” when we have such a special town with a thriving community and independent high street scene. I travel around the country and indeed Europe and it’s always lovely but there’s nothing like coming home to the place where I feel my pride. I can stroll for delicious coffee, buy olives that put Waitrose to shame, visit a butcher that specialises in Gluten Free foods, buy the latest wallpapers and furniture from top European designers and I’ve still walked less than half a mile!

This is the NEW NORTH (it’s exactly the same but you’ve just realised it’s beauty!), the one where people are educated (they always were), friendly, passionate and driven because we have potential and given the quality of life for the value, you wouldn’t find me living anywhere else in a hurry.

This piece is meant to provoke thought and merely skims the surface of thoughts and issues, I’d love to know what you think, please tell me below about any experiences you have of the North, of Lancashire or of Colne