A strange thing has recently occurred. Carlisle, that Great Border City, and my home for eleven years, has been named England’s happiest city.
You can read about it here, if you so desire.
As for me, I’m utterly surprised and utterly not, all at the same time.
If you’d like to know my opinion on the ‘happy city’ then ask me about it in person sometime. Here’s a hint: I’m not a fan.
But, I know that a lot of people do genuinely love the place. I think it may be a bit of a Marmite situation (love it or hate it, no middle ground).
One of my favourite authors (even if her books aren’t exactly ‘grown up’) is S.E. Hinton, and in her book, Tex, she has this line that has always stuck with me, where the title character goes and visits a fairground fortune teller and she tells him:
“There are people who go and people who stay. You will stay.”
There’s a Chinese proverb relating to chopsticks, which says that how you hold your chopsticks speaks of how your life will run. If you hold them close to the ends then you will stay close to home, and if you hold them far from the ends then you will travel.
I don’t believe in fairground fortune tellers, and my chopstick-holding style is based on being able to use them well enough not to starve, and nothing more, but I am definitely one who goes, not one who stays, and I think that might be the deciding factor on my opinion of Happy-town.
I don’t really know whether it’s being a stayer that makes you like it, or whether it’s the fact that you like it that makes you stay, all I know is that I left.
In summary: casting aspersions.