Ticket To Ride

Last Saturday night we found ourselves heading for a birthday party which was being held at a rugby club off Corby’s Occupation Road. I thought I knew where I was going. No problem I thought, just go behind the old Welfare, job done!
Well, it soon became apparent to me just how long it had been since I was in that neck of the woods. Smart new flats and houses now stand where the famous Welfare car park had once stood. We even went to the wrong party (but that’s a whole different story). Once there, we soon settled in to a fabulous night of 50th birthday celebrations and ‘air guitar’. The upstairs balcony looked out across the whole of the recreation field and as I stood there many and varied thoughts about this piece of Corby space rushed through my mind.
It was a beautiful balmy evening and in the far left corner of the field there was another party going on at the Corby Town supporters club. To the right of that stands the cricket pavilion which seemed to be a hive of activity. To my immediate left was the S & L Rugby Club which appeared to be hosting some kind of a presentation evening. Directly to my right was the very top of Woodlands Avenue where, when I was growing up in Corby, I would spend many happy hours at my best friend’s house. I was always envious of Roy since his house backed onto this massive green space. You see, this was the area where the famous Stevens Funfair would suddenly appear each summer bringing with it the intoxicating mixture of loud sixties music, generators, screaming, shouting, flashing bright lights and the smells of onions and candy floss. My dad, like hundreds of Corby dads, worked for Stewarts and Lloyds, later British Steel, and whenever the fair was due to descend he would be issued with free tickets to give to his children. I would wait eagerly on Thoroughsale Road for Dad’s return home from work with that little brown envelope containing three free ride tickets, along with one free drink, one free ice cream and one free bag of sweets. Even at school these tickets became currency as we bartered away our drink, ice cream or sweets for more ride tickets. And last Saturday night, thinking about those halcyon days, the floodlights came on and a group of youngsters from the Rugby Club began what looked like some kind of exhibition game. We stood on the balcony admiring the commitment and quality of play as a full rugby match was played out before us. How refreshing it is to find a space, in a town that is expanding beyond belief, that is still being used as it should be, untouched by development


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