The Gallery — Where I Live


All Saints Church Fleet


S’funny isn’t it when you remember just a single snippet of a conversation from years ago and it really sticks in your head.    It was Simon Calder giving a talk on travel writing at a blog conference when asked how a blogger could get into being a travel blogger.  His reply was so blindingly simple, yet something that nobody had really thought about

Write about your own back yard.

How many people write about where they live?  I don’t think many of us do.  I know I never do.   I am happy to go to the next town and so a restaurant review, or photograph the trees on a walk in a different county but it never really occurs to me to write about my own doorstep.

Fleet as a town grew up in the Victorian era as a place for Victorians to come for the day, not too far from London.   It was literally the end of a railway line because of Fleet Pond.   From there Fleet grew and now all people say when you mention it is “Oh yeah, I know the services”.   Yet there is so much more to Fleet.   Most of which to be honest, I am clueless about.    It is one of my blog resolutions for the autumn, to explore and blog more about my own town and the pretty villages and towns around.

For now though, for this week’ Gallery theme of “Where I Live” I give you this.   Just up the road from us, the beautiful church in the centre of town was destroyed by fire in an arson attack recently.   The why, who, how is not for me to discuss, though there have been arrests.   I have never been in this church, though I drive past it about 87 times a day.  I never really paid much attention to it, until this happened.  Two hundred years of history, up in smoke.

The Gallery Where I Live

You don’t realise how close knit the community you live in is until something like this happens.   There was a huge outpouring of grief in local Facebook groups, rightly so.  Families where several generations had been married or christened there.  Brides who were now facing having to find another venue for a wedding in the next few weeks.   Though Jonnie did suggest it would make an incredible backdrop to any wedding photos.  Charred wood, rubble, ash, stark white dress?    In black and white that would look stunning.

For now though I have to content myself with taking photographs from the car park across the road.

Like the proverbial Phoenix this will rise once again from the ashes.   Maybe I should make a note to blog the refurb as part of my “there’s more to Fleet than the services” pledge.

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  • This is both sad and beautiful all at the same time.

    And you (and that Simon fellow) that we spend so much time seeking out places to go, that where we live is just as interesting! I look forward to you becoming my tour guide for Fleet!!

  • I love this post as it echoes exactly what I have been thinking about since the session at BritMums. I even packed my camera to go and take lots of pictures around our village today but it has started raining 🙁 So sad about your local church, I do wonder what drives people to do these sort of things and destroy beautiful things x

  • What an awful thing to do!
    Definitely a good idea to blog about your local area, because who knows it better than a local? Really useful to people who want to know about the area. I hadn’t even heard of the services!

  • there’s always lots of outpouring on facebook but what it will need is money and action. I think when people have clicked like and commented on how disgusted they are they feel like they have done something and so their interest ends. the true test of the community will be those that start raising money to rebuild. and given how the church restoration funds often go, it’s always a bit of a black day when a large amount of money is needed.

    it’ll be interesting if you do an annual follow up of this post to see where it ends up.

    lovely, if sad, photography.

  • Ha ha I saw the derelict building and though ‘hell MB, what’s happened to your house?’ Doh 😉

  • What a terrible shame.
    I look forward to reading your future posts about your ‘hood – and maybe even visiting some of the things you mention when I’m visiting my sister who, as you know, lives there too!! x

  • I heard the same comment at Britmums 2012 about writing about where you live, your own back yard. I’m very fortunate to have lived in some amazing places and blog about days out in Dubai, South Africa and the UK, 3 places I’ve been able to call home and people come to Dubai for holidays every day of the year. Love the idea of a blog called ‘there’s more to Fleet than the services’ very catchy