These days, most of the green space has gone. It's been filled in with houses wherever they could be fitted and roads so that people could get to the houses and into the city (for Preston is a city now!) more quickly.
The north of England and the north-west of my youth was very much shaped by industry. Evidence of it was everywhere, even in my own stamping ground of Penwortham. We had the old railway tracks to walk along or to cycle over the cinder bumps. There were old derelict station platforms with signals and the like to explore. There were loads of chimneys and old factories that were empty and full of fun. I remember all of that really fondly.
The landscape of Lancashire towns was rather beautiful. Red brick terraces and mills brought colour to our world. They spoke of something honest - hard work, perhaps, or ambition, or hope. Sure, it's a deluded perspective in some ways. People died and had their lives mucked up by beastly employers and conditions, but that's part of the wonder - people doing what they had to do in spite of those issues.
And I'm sure it was a smoggy, ugly, rainy vision for some eyes, sometimes even mine.
But the docks have gone; now slightly dull buildings and huge shops occupy that space. Lots of the chimneys have been felled, no longer joining the church spires in giving the view it's variety. There are big shopping malls around that all look rather ugly to me. It might just be my age and change is a good thing and all that, but will people be feeling nostalgic about B&Q's demise 50 years hence? Maybe they will (I wouldn't be if I were around).
On the notice board in the staffroom yesterday, news was posted about the forthcoming demolition of the Cockenzie Power Station.
It closed a while back and it seems it has to go.
I'm going to miss it and not only because it reminds me to get off the A1 at the Tranent turnoff of a morning.
My novella, Smoke, gained its title from these massive chimneys. In some ways, I think I was using them as a sign of hopelessness. In fact, for many these chimneys would have meant hope and the ability to make a living. There's the link to coal and the old railways lines and they'll all be gone soon.
How I wish we could do something different with the space. Keep the building's shell and turn it into Tate Tranent or something. Build a stadium in there or a cinema or an industrial museum. How about a huge skate-park? Something positive and lovely.
I don't know what we'll get instead. Let's wait and see. I doubt it would be what I might put there. I'll be keeping a close eye and maybe even sharing my opinions on proposals.
It'll be a sad and significant day for many when the chimneys finally go. And I'll end up in Edinburgh and being late for work, I'm pretty sure of that. I, for one, am going to miss them.