Blogging positive on all things Swindon
I’m Angela Atkinson and I’m Born Again Swindonian – amongst other things.
I started this blog in 2013 when studying for a joint English Hons degree at the University of the West of England, in Bristol.
Two motivating factors drove me:
- In my forthcoming third year, I planned to undertake a travel writing module: Moving Words. A conversation my the module leader gave me the idea of using Swindon as source material for some of my portfolio submissions. So in part, I conceived the blog as a means of collecting material.
- I was, by this point in my studies, a little tired of hearing the constant drip, drip, drip of negativity towards, and misconceptions about, Swindon and decided to use the blog as a means of redressing the balance.
Thus it was that Born again Swindonian was … born. Yes – I realise that title rather gives the impression that I was born here, went away and then returned. That’s not the case. But the phrase is a deliberate play on Born again Christian and all that is activated in the mind by it. Because I do love Swindon. I am passionate about Swindon. It has got under my skin. Moreover, I’ll confess to being a mite evangelical in my mission to dispel the all-too-common perception that there is nothing in Swindon to enjoy and celebrate and that Swindon has nothing of cultural value. It’s a risable suggestion.
Swindon – Soulless?
Never! Swindon is anything but soulless. Beneath a sometimes uninspiring exterior there is most definitely a healthy heart of art and creativity and culture, parks and green spaces, good food and coffee and of course its rich railway heritage!
I came here in the early 1990s from a once-mining village on the Derbyshire/Nottinghamshire border. Nearest town Worksop. Nearest city (and it wasn’t that near) Sheffield. Other nearby places, Mansfield and Chesterfield. So, as you see, on the edges of three counties in effect. Derby, the county town, was waaaaaaaay the other side of a large county – never went there, never had cause to.
So this blog was conceived as way of addressing that received wisdom about the town – and as a means to amassing material for the aforementioned travel writing module.
When I left my part of the world to move to this part of the world, I left behind an area that was still ravaged from the legacy of the 1980s miners’ strike. Coming here truly felt like arriving in the land of milk and honey. Hence to a large extent my fondness for, and advocacy of, Swindon and the decision to create this Swindon blog.
The travelogue I wrote, centred around the West Swindon sculpture trail is one of the pieces that came out of that and can be read on the blog here: https://swindonian.me/2014/05/24/the-west-swindon-sculpture-trail-a-travelogue/
As my starting point when I began blogging back in May 2013, I compiled a personal, and far from definitive, list of:
Ten things to celebrate about Swindon: https://swindonian.me/category/ten-things-to-celebrate-about-swindon/ There are of course many more and indeed the blog has grown enormously since then.
As Swindon Heritage said in the preface to an issue of their splendid Swindon Heritage magazine: I use the blog ‘ … to celebrate Swindon’s rich heritage and spread the word to those who still doubt Swindon and its many qualities.’
- Worked at Swindon Research Councils for about 16 years until early retirement in 2009
- Did a year volunteering with an adult literacy group at Swindon college and undertook courses in teaching in the lifelong learning sector: PTLLS and CTTLS. Then I went to UWE to get an education!
- May 2014 – Joint English Hons BA graduate – 1st class don’t ya know!?
The blog has a Facebook page where you will find links to what’s on the blog and much more besides, so connect with me there.
Personal profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/aaedits-bas/
Company page: https://www.linkedin.com/company/born-again-swindonian/
In yet another guise I run a proofreading and copywriting business AA Editorial Services. You can find out more about here: http://www.aaedits.co.uk.