Saturday, 6 August 2016


It’s a long time since I spent a day in Darlington (town motto: ‘You’re never too far from a Greggs’). I lived here - for six months, many years ago - on Greenbank Road, and discovered that my grandfather, also John Morrison, was the minister at the Methodist Greenbank Chapel, at the end of Greenbank road (the chapel has since been demolished to make way for a car park). I never knew him; he’d died before I was born.

The centre of town is much changed. The name of the big shopping centre - the Cornmill - has the requisitive semi-rural associations, while being as charmless as any other shopping mall. I remember when every pub was called ‘The Railway’, filled with old guys staring at the point where the wall met the ceiling. But even Darlington now has posh places to eat and drink.

Escape reality? In Darlo that’s more likely to be something grown under strong lights in the attic…

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