Alf Biggs (b.1923)
The only thing was, that even now I find the locals (Hinckley) are a bit strange…I don’t know, it’s difficult to explain their attitude, they’ve got a most peculiar attitude. Now I’m what you might call a light hearted person and I can see the funny side of anything…I’ll just give you a typical example. I was walking round in Gateway a couple of months ago, and an announcement came over the tannoy…and it struck me as being funny right from the start. ‘Will Mr. Baker the butcher please go to the side entrance there’s just been a delivery of meat,’ and I said, ‘Oh, he’s going to get the chop,’ and they looked at me and I thought, ‘All right, perhaps I may have a peculiar sense of humour,’ you know, and about ten minutes later a woman came up to me and she said, ‘Hey, I’ve just seen what you meant!’ ‘Oh,’ I thought, ‘oh no.’
A lot depends on who you are and what you are. If you’re the type of person who finds it easy to communicate with other people then you’ll get on anywhere no matter where you are, but if you’re the sort of person that goes with the attitude that you’re better than they are then you won’t get anywhere.
They’re like that the people of Hinckley, they don’t take to outsiders, you’ve got to impress them if you want to become an insider as it were.
And then they sort of take possession of you, which is fatal. You get one family who wants to take possession of you and nobody else is entitled to have much to do with you. That’s how they are because the reason is, the people of Hinckley are so involved with each other and
they’re all inter-married you’ve got to be dreadfully careful what you say to them because they’ll let you say – this in times gone by – they’ll let you say…they want to know what you’re talking about and then when the conversation is finished they’ll let you into the trick because they’ll say, ‘That’s my brother,’ or ‘That’s my sister that you’ve been talking about.’ They’re so inter-married. It’s like it now.
In the 33 years that I’ve been up here it’s certainly grown, I mean, there’s all these new houses and that. I thought it was more like what you might call a farming community. At one time of day you used to get two rows of traffic, one up and one down, oh yeah it used to be a heck of a job up Castle Street at one time…I mean it was no wider than a country lane. Recently they were just the old type village shops, you know…in fact I would almost go so far as to say that when I got here it was a hick town – almost! Oh, yes, definitely improved.