I’m not entirely sure I’m happy with the epithet ‘Surprising Swindon’ – it sounds rather as if it’s suggesting that something or someone is in the process of giving Swindon a surprise. But then if we change it to ‘Swindon Surprises’ then that leaves an impression of Swindon being about to surprise someone or something … hmm …’Swindon is so surprising‘ perhaps? Is that better? Anyway – I imagine you get the idea so let’s leave the finer points of grammar, word order and sentence structure behind and get to the point.

As I’ve mentioned elsewhere in this blog, the main reason for starting it was to celebrate all the good things I already know about the town and to share the discoveries I make. But there’s an underlying, supplementary motive at work. I’m two thirds of the way through a degree in English Language and English Literature and when I return to university in the autumn, one of the literature modules I’m taking is on travel writing. And for the coursework assessment portfolio I will have to compile, I’m debating doing a travelogue based on some aspect of Swindon. So it occurred to me that writing a blog could yield some suitable material. Indeed, the West Swindon sculpture walk that I’ve begun writing about could well be fit for purpose. But not wanting to limit my options I thought it might be an idea to ask around. And who better to ask I thought, than Swindon Viewpoint, the community organization that is Britains original and longest standing community/public access television service,  about whom I’ve previously blogged about here.

So, with no further ado I popped a post on their Facebook page and received a very prompt and full response from Jon Buckett, one of the organisation’s board members.  Awesome! Even more awesome was the stuff I learnt just from his very helpful reply to my query. And how great is social media? One little Facebook post and I have a wealth of information.

Now many of you out there may well know some/all of this stuff but I didn’t. Sorry … 🙁  My ignorance was bliss.

For instance, I DID know that Desmond Morris, the well-known zoologist came from Swindon. I well remember his book ‘The Naked Ape’ being published and being quite shocked that it used the word ‘naked’. This was 1967 – much more innocent times. Trust me, the permissive society did NOT happen in Derbyshire. And anyway, I was only 10! But I’m digressing … I also knew that the hangars at Wroughton are an extension of London’s science museum and about the white horses and the Bronze age stuff.

But I didn’t know that the Deacon family ( they of the jewellers in Old Town and Royal Wootton Bassett) reputedly loaned a chap the money to start EMI – recording home of The Beatles amongst many, many more. Nor did I know that the peeps at INTEL are involved with such diverse activities as F1 cars, land speed records, oiling Stephen Hawkins’s wheelchair, and competing with NASA to create the world’s fastest super-computers. How cool is all that?

So yeah, whether it’s ‘Surprising Swindon’ or ‘Swindon is so surprising’ or whichever form you go with – it is! Always, in every way. Amazing.