‘Failure,’ as Henry Ford never tired of pointing out, ‘is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.’
So, having failed myself, I am also giving an entire town the opportunity to begin again with me, obviously with more intelligence.
A few months ago, I used this blog to alert anyone who read it to the fact that I was about to go walking through Britain, and was after places to stay. To that end, I supplied a list of about forty place names that I would be going close to and, unbelievably, about thirty nine of them have come up trumps.
From Salisbury Plain to Skipton, and from Langley Green to Laxford Bridge, houses have been opening their doors to the prospect of a knackered, and possibly hygienically challenged visit from me, sometime this spring. From Edinburgh to Eddlestone, people I have hardly, or never met, have said that I can lie on one of their beds, soak in one of their baths, and eat off one of their plates. From Malham to the Muir of Ord, people who have never heard my name have volunteered their privacy to be invaded. It has been a magnificent answering of the call, and I am suitably, staggeringly even, grateful to everyone.
Did I say ‘everyone’? It was an oversight, and I apologise. I meant ‘nearly everyone’. Someone, it seems, is holding out. A little market town thirty miles north-east of Birmingham has decided to go it alone.
Yes, Tamworth, I am referring to you.
It doesn’t matter how hard or how often I try, no one that I know knows anyone who lives in or near Tamworth. It turns out that I know people as far apart as Amesbury and Alladale, but I know the square root of no one in this pleasant little Midlands market town that previously brought us the pig of the same name and the bloke who designed the Reliant Robin.
But the good news, Tamworth, is that I don’t give up easily, and I am giving you one more chance. God knows how many people read this blog these days (WordPress sure as hell don’t), but surely just one of you has, or knows someone who has, a postcode that begins with that immortal ‘B77’ opener.
The alternate, the Travelodge in the town centre, looks like it would only need someone’s garden shed to trump it, very possibly their compost heap.
Yes, to avoid the Travelodge, I am even happy to partner up with hedgehogs for the night.