September 2009, I flew the Dronfield nest. All bright eyed and bushy tailed, I was ready to take on the world, or more specifically, as most 18 year olds, an undergraduate degree in a discipline that would prove utterly useless in the job market. Leaving for the big city, one that wasn’t even our steel-making neighbours, with nothing but a dream and the freedom of standing on my own two feet, (with daddy’s credit card paying rent obviously – you can take the girl out of Dronfield etc.) I told myself I’d never be back. Who was I kidding?
When monetary reasons forced me to move back four years later (previously mentioned credit card wouldn’t extend to a sojourn to the other side of the world) it was with trepidation that I returned to Dronfield. Would the mundane gossip in Sainsbury’s interest me anymore? Would there still be an inexplicable amount of Co-ops in business? Would I have somewhere cheap and tasty to ward off the hangover on a Sunday? But alas, my fears were unfounded. Nothing had changed (except that indecisive Asian cuisine restaurant that used to be the Greyhound pub.) Of course it hadn’t, this is Dronfield and its stagnant nature is just one of its many loveable characteristics.
I thought I might have grown out of Dronfield, but in all honesty there is nothing in the world that I enjoy more than going to The Forge for an exceedingly over priced hot chocolate and overhearing the daily tribulations of an average Dronfieldian – “Should I buy the veg for the Sunday roast from Sainsbury’s or should I venture to Aldi? It is cheaper at Aldi, but I’m just not sure if I trust the fresh stuff from there”. I love the security of the knowledge that those hard-acting youths loitering at Greendale are actually just middle-class teenagers who will be safe at home in their three-bed-semi family home by midnight. There’s no need to worry that they might turn to a life of crime and hard drugs facilitated by the pressures of growing up in a deprived society. Dronfield is safe, Dronfield is predictable, and that just isn’t a guarantee that can be made of many of places.
As I plan to leave once again in a couple of months, this time for far flung sunnier shores, I’m not even going to pretend like I won’t come back. Obviously I will, I bloody love Dronfield, and I’ll sing its praises to whoever will listen across the globe. Before I was just too young to appreciate how great it is to live in such an inconsequential, bourgeois town.
Contributing author – Holly Fanthorpe