Coventry isn’t as bad as you might think. No, really, it isn’t. I worked and lived in the city for over a year just after school and, as far as I can remember, it was just fine. On the other hand, I was young, and hadn’t much experience of living anywhere else, so maybe I just didn’t know any better. I can’t say I’ve ever felt a yearning to return…
Well, I’m back again now, manning an exhibition stand at the Ricoh Arena in an unfashionable area to the north of the town. The last time I did the exhibition stand thing was at Olympia – a very much larger event in a very different venue. Then, as I recall, I paid a lot of money to stay in a room so small that putting your suitcase on the floor meant you could no longer walk around the bed.
So what about here?
Here, my exceedingly affordable room is quite a bit bigger than my bedroom at home. It contains a large brass bed, a sofa and a comfy chair or two. An antique wardrobe and an oak chest sit next to the fireplace. I am, in fact, in one of the nicest B&Bs I’ve ever stayed in, a 17th-century haven in the middle of a couple of hundred acres of dairy farm, run by a delightful couple. I can park easily under the trees outside, and the cows gazed thoughtfully at me as I headed out this morning on my way to the exhibition.
So how long did it take me to reach this rural idyll from Coventry’s manufacturing heartland?
Beat that, London.