The peculiar in Letchworth (GC)

IT IS rarely if ever that I feel compelled to put fingers to keyboard (the modern equivalent of pen to paper, of course) in response to another journalist s ramblings, but I must do so this week. Usually, what hacks write, be it gentle or scathing, is OK

IT IS rarely if ever that I feel compelled to put fingers to keyboard (the modern equivalent of pen to paper, of course) in response to another journalist's ramblings, but I must do so this week.

Usually, what hacks write, be it gentle or scathing, is OK with me. It's their opinion, let them voice it.

But there's one who has gone too far, personally offending me and the area I have long covered.

The piece appeared on a website which specialises in sport.

It was prompted by the success of racing ace Lewis Hamilton and his much publicised short return visit to his hometown of Stevenage after winning the Formula 1 world championship in Brazil.

But the article began by mentioning Letchworth Garden City which is my hometown.

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Purporting to reveal "some important information", the writer informs those bothering to read it: "If you want to wind up one of the locals, just call it Letchworth - it sends them completely potty. Don't ask me why, they're all a bit peculiar up there."

Just a minute, anonymous person, you are going too far. What are you basing this on? Have you done an extensive survey? Have you ever been to Letchworth?

There are quite a few resident eccentrics in the place, admittedly, it is known for that, but being able to send them all completely potty by simply uttering Letchworth rather than its full official name is not correct, nowhere near. Just saying Heritage Foundation can get quite a few people frothing at the mouth, however...

After noting the existence of Welwyn Garden City, the offending writer turns his attention to Stevenage and shows no mercy.

"This civic monstrosity was not designed as a carefully thought out modern Utopia," he rages.

"This is a million tons of steel reinforced concrete moulded into a shape which almost perfectly fails to please the eye. From the hideous town centre to the endless retail parks surrounding it, there can be few other places outside of Soviet Russia that succeed so effortlessly in totally failing to instil a sense of harmonious community, and instead engender a feeling of hopeless despair."

Hold your horses, son, I think you are losing control of your senses. Stevenage has its critics and I am not a big fan of its architecture and layout but it's nowhere near as bad as this ranter claims. Apparently, Manchester is the wettest place in England, the writer says, but he puts forward Stevenage as reigning supreme in that league.

"Every time I go to this ruddy hellhole it's raining," he complains. "It can be the most balmy summer's day, but I guarantee that as soon as you arrive in the town, a cloud will bubble into life and deposit its contents right on top of you."

I think in his case, perhaps the welcoming party can also arrange for some ground-shaking thunder and lightning to accompany the wet stuff when he calls in next time.

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