My Home Town

Littleborough Introduction



in the maze of an old duffer’s mind….


    We’ve returned to Littleborough after a break of 20 years.


    First morning back I walked the dog at 6.00 AM and encountered a woman wearing a dressing gown and slippers. By chance, I was wearing my ‘Rupert Bear’ pyjamas. We bid each other a polite good morning and moved on, both smiling. There wasn’t much else to do really.

So, one thing hasn’t changed - quirky encounters. But other things have …..


    ……technology for example. My friend sent me a text message recently. In an effort to sieze the technological high ground, he finished, ‘I’ve sent this message from my new smart watch.’

    My response, ‘Wonderful. I’m replying using my rechargeable underpants.’

    At which point the conversation ended. He probably wondered if I was taking it seriously.


    When we left Lancashire it was midget gems and skipping ropes; now it’s nitrous oxide and vapes. From the latter, fruity nebulae float around like fluffy clouds. I pass a glass bus shelter engulfed in a sweet-smelling fog. From within I hear a hacking cough. Peering out of the gloom, a ghostly man who’s taken to the vape as part of his health drive.


    Gone are hopscotch grids, telephone boxes and banks, all made virtually redundant by mobile phones. Gone also is somewhere to park, the gentleman’s outfitters and the fishmonger. Instead, we have cafés, nail bars and beauty parlours for both human and dog.

    Did our old dog really need a shampoo and set? Or did we just chuck him in a lodge?


    Littleborough gems include Hare Hill Park, the canal and the stunning countryside. Wonderful Hollingworth Lake takes vastly increased footfall in its stride. A constant stream of humanity shuffles round and round in a daze, dragging disheartened dogs.


    Further afield, Rochdale library has abandoned its historic Grade II listed home, in favour of a glass cube. The old swimming baths is now a German supermarket. Yorkshire Street and Drake Street look to have been ransacked by invading Vikings. The Town Hall car park is partially pedestrianized so there’s now limited parking. When I visit it’s so quiet I wonder if there’s been an anthrax alert. Gracie Fields statue stands proud and defiant – mind you, she did bugger off to Capri when funds allowed – Wish me luck as you wave me goodbye……….


    Jan is happy to be reacquainted with old school friends (Shh, one wears a dressing gown!). She is now of an age to join the coiffured bevvies of the Townswomen’s Guild. Ladies who dispense tea and no-nonsense wisdom with blue-rinse zeal.


    Sure, Littleborough has changed. It’s busier, faster and more fraught but there are still gems and plenty to enjoy. We are adapting and realize the town really is still a rather nice place.


I’ve penned six articles since our return.     Here's Number One