An upcoming area, fallen


Both women were fat. Both bent awkwardly over their pushchairs, snotty-nosed babies looking as miserable as the house from which they had vacated.

Our crossing of paths was brief; I, walking the dog during a short lunchtime break from the confines of the office, they, walking, presumably, to fetch their giro. Yet in that briefest moment of shared airspace I learned about an impending court case and Shane, who had apparently ‘not fucking stopped ringing all fucking night, the twat.’ I’m not sure who came out with that last comment, but it might have been one of the kids.

Then, they were gone. And I stepped in some dog poo.

We moved into the Northampton area of Semilong five years ago. It was our first home and we were lured there under the pretence that it was an ‘upcoming area’ with houses that offered a lot for their modest purchase prices.

The latter, certainly, was true. High ceilings, good sized rooms and bomb-proof builds are what you get with Victorian terraced properties and ours is no different. It’s lovely, in fact, and suited two excited new homeowners perfectly.

It could also be argued that, back then, it was indeed an upcoming area. Whatever that means. If it means first time buyers like ourselves commandeering an area, that’s exactly what it was. We bought during the property boom and houses were being snapped up across the estate by like-minded individuals. Great, we thought, we’ve discovered a little gem, here.

Then, something went horribly wrong. I can’t pinpoint when or what it was, but the area simply nosedived. Litter and dog muck flooded the streets, illegal immigrants moved in (one set even took residence – and eventually became squatters – in the rented property next door to us).

Every single time I step out into the street I see something that I can only greet with a sigh. Whether it’s the two aforementioned fat ladies (or similar), discarded mattresses, drunkards, smashed bottles, junkies asking for change or the guy who looks like he would definitely kill you for absolutely no reason at all, it’s there. It’s there all the time and it’s a fucking shame.

Thankfully, we’ll be off soon, but if you’re from the Northamptonshire County Council and you’re reading this, you should be ashamed. The area that could have blossomed into what it presumably had been years ago – a proper community – is now slowly decaying.

As if to make matters worse, you have also turned the street light off outside my house in order to save some electricity. Might I suggest you turn it back on and switch your attentions to the far more glaring problem that is Semilong itself. I’ll pay the bill for the fucking light.

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