“Reading Prison was a palace compared to this shit-hole.”
The tiny Lancashire hamlet that is Tarleton lies either side of the extension of the M6 (otherwise known as 'Hesketh Lane'). In an effort to retain its village identity, the local council has decided to limit development of the village to only 5,000,000 new houses over the next six months (in addition to the 750,000,000 already built and/or approved for construction). In order to encourage the labour market on an long-term basis, the council will continue to allow developers to channel sewerage from these houses into the already-overflowing nearby cess tanks. Then, after ten years, the sewerage will be somebody else's problem. Local landowner, Lord Lilford the Benevolent, fully supports this limited development by continuing to sell off large areas of land STRICTLY for housing development only, and the grateful locals (also known as 'Mossers' or, more commonly, 'Fettlers') expressed their thanks by building and naming an un-needed pub in honour of his magnificence and philanthropy.
Tarleton hosts a diversity of cultures thanks to the large population of north African workers (mainly from Morrocco and Tunisia) and the ever-growing number of scallywags from Liverpool crossing the border into Lancashire in order to avoid the attention of the Merseyside Police Force.
Places of Interest
- The Playing Field - the haunt of the local minors, as evidenced by the inordinate quantities of used condoms, roaches and graffiti.
- The Building At Tarleton Crossroads - until recently, this building was empty for well over a decade. A local enterprise has - as timely as ever (given us now being in the worst economic crisis in England since records began) - converted this building into a financial advising service. The building is the first view one gets of Tarleton when arriving from any direction other than across the moss, and its battle-zone appearance is a welcome sign both to visitors to the village and fettlers returning home from shopping trips to nearby Preston, Southport, Ormskirk, Burscough and Chorley.
- Tarleton Moss - mile after mile after mile of glasshouses and fields retained by ditches, and owned by friendly farmers - hence, 'Mossers' - who live on the meagre millions of pounds given to them by way of government grants and who encourage the open labour market by generously paying immigrant workers the full minimum wage, and not a penny more. Once you've left the M6 and ventured onto the Moss, keep an eye out for the hundreds of tractors and other agricultural vehicles that the Mossers, God bless 'em, are able to drive on public highways without the need for road tax, number plates, registration, insurance or any of the other legal hinderances that other road users are obliged to adhere to.
- M6 (Hesketh Lane) - thanks to local building restrictions, with just a million or so houses served by this single track road, have fun with your children trying to cross it during off-peak time when the traffic flow reduces to only 500 vehicles per minute.
- The River Douglas and Tarleton Canal - local areas of natural beauty, enhanced by their being recepticles for twocked cars, unrecyclable domestic refuse and dead pets.
- Further Afield - for those with a sense of adventure and bravity, head north into Hesketh Bank and see how the other half live (though which half that is remains open to debate). Whereas bullet-proof vests should suffice during daylight, full body armour is compulsory during the hours of darkness. Becconsall would appear to be a 1-foot gap between Tarleton and Hesketh Bank. But, to be honest, nobody knows; nobody cares. Sollom, a short distance heading south from the village along Liverpool Road, is well worth visiting to see the casino, port and harbour, five-storey shopping mall, multiscreen cinema and leisure complex, international airport and heliport, 24-hour bars clubs and restaurants, theme park, Olympic-size sports arena and swimming pool, concert venue and multinational business and banking centre - all of which are easily accessible via Sollom's own six-lane super-highway.
People of Interest
Collectively, there are the Fettlers - native members of the local populace; easily identified by their 'nebber' cloth caps, bicycle clips, unintelligable gibberish and of whom anything of 'interest' cannot be found.
As for individuals, nobody famous ever came from Tarleton, apart from Dr Brian Iddon, MP, and - whilst eventually returning to his Lancashire roots - when he was a lad, he accidentally saw an atlas of Britain, happened to see that land extended beyond the boundaries of Tarleton, and beggared off to Hull as soon as he possibly could. And no one famous ever went to Tarleton, unless you include permatanned, one-time local M.P., general washed-up has-been, megalomaniac and complete-and-utter wanker Robert Kilroy-Silk. And it's doubtful he went there more than once other than to round up prospective brainwashed voters. The mayor of Tarleton is gardener and agricultural worker Mike 'Digger' Dignam.
Well-known football managing failure Gary Ablett also lives in one of the 70,000,000 houses built in the last few years. While his epic-ly crap attempts to save Stockport County FC from relegation are well-known to many across the country, it is little known that he remains the only player to win the FA Cup with both Liverpool FC and Everton (true), and that he invented the vacuum cleaner (debatable).
- Pronunciation - preparation for conversing with the authentic Fettlers can be more-easily achieved by pre-reading the dialogue from any novels written before the 19th century (i.e. where "you" becomes "thee" or "thou", '"yours" becomes "thine", "hello" becomes "awreet ma mert - owt fresh?"). Lessons in pronunciation can be gleaned from watching an episode or two of 'Coronation Street' (but no more than that, as an overly-Mancunian twang will make the Fettlers nervous). If you find yourself struggling, just say "aye" or "nay" as appropriate. Also see Lanky Twang for further useful guidance.
- Some Common Phrases -
"Chip pon" = recepticle used for frying sliced potatoes. Hence, 'Attention all responding firefighting units. The reported fire occurred in a domicilliary kitchen and is now under control. You may return to base.' can be translated to, "Stop. Chip pon."
"Not threy bad" = a side-splittingly hilarious (at least, the locals seem to think so) variation on the answer 'not too bad' on being asked how one is feeling today.
"Kee-uh-reh" = southern Asian food.
"There's nowt lahk it" = 'This is very good.'
"Ah seyn it on'tinternet" = 'I saw this on the world wide web.'
"Ah cud eyt a buttered frog" = 'I'm hungry.'
"Mi belly thinks mi throats bin cut" = 'I'm very hungry.'
"Ast bin mon bin?" = 'Has the refuse collector been?'
"Wunce evereh Preston Guild" = 'Not very often' (Preston Guild occurs every 20 years).
"Con'tha lenduz a hond?" = 'Can you please help me?'
"Yon mon is fair bowlegged wi brass" = 'He's very rich.'
"Thes getten a face leyk a bulldog chompin a wassp" = 'God you're ugly'. Also, "Thes got a face leyke a dog likkin piss off a nettle."
"Put wood in th'ole" = 'Close the door.'
"Tha meks a betta dower than a windder" = 'You are obstructing my view' (usually, of the TV).
"'Es spat is dummy aht" = 'He is angry.'
"Baggin" = lunch
"Nesh" = cold
- Passports And Visas - these are not normally required, as the main barriers are those of traversing 30 or so years back in time and encountering a similarly dated culture, rather than those of distance and national borders. That said, you might be as well to carry some form of I.D. with you just to prove to other non-mossers that you are not one of the locals and can, therefore, engage in normal conversation.
- Driving Licence - not required. At least, that's what the large number of incidents where road traffic accidents caused by untaxed, un-M.O.T.'d and uninsured vehicles and drivers would imply.
- Smells Of The Countryside - apart from the constant gentle waft of vehicle fumes, get yourself a healthy couple of lung-fulls of the wonderful 'farmyard' aromas (arising from the nearby overflowing cess tanks - see above).
- Political Administration - the local council is the best that money can buy - that being, the biggest backhander on offer. For this reason all meetings begin with 'declarations of interest' so that, by the time the declarations have been read (duration of approximately 3 hours), observers and minute-takers have long since left the meeting or fallen asleep. In this way, the truly democratic process of protecting the interests of the members of the Council, and their supporters, perpetuates away from the eyes of do-gooders.
- Climate - when coming to Tarleton, don't forget to pack sufficient quantities of high-factor sun screen for the summer. This usually happens on August 2nd, provided August 2nd falls on a Tuesday. On the remaining 364 days of the year, storm-proof clothing, galoshers and sou'westers should suffice.
- Accomodation - for reasons of which this author is totally unaware, this market has yet to be cornered by anyone and since it's doubtful that any of the Fettlers would approve the pitching of tents on their precious spring onion fields, the nearest accommodation can be found in the metropolis of Sollom where hotels and motels cater for all tastes and budgets, from unrated basic rooms to 5-Star luxury penthouse suites.
- Vaccinations - visitors are highly recommended to be inoculated against everything, including two courses of rabies shots (or just the one if you're feeling really lucky). Disclaimer forms are available at all entrances to Tarleton. You have been warned.
Tarleton: The Future
With the development of Tarleton Marina rapidly approaching that of an industrial harbour and the aforementioned limited construction, Tarletons essence of remaining a small Lancashire village - along with the Fettlers retaining their identity - seems assured.