Inspired by Arnold Bennett, I'm restarting the blog. Yes, again. If he could manage to write a million journal words as well as hundreds of books of varying quality then so can I, even if my Treo is temperamental and I've managed to lose just about every vital element of it.
Arnold, for those who don't know, is the man who made my adopted town, Burslem, world famous for a few decades at the beginning of last century. Looking at Burslem under his influence brings very mixed emotions. It still doesn't take much to imagine a unique place, filled with bottle ovens and covered with black smoke, producing from this soup some of the most sought after pottery in the world. You imagine a place of purpose, creativity and convivial drinking. Now only the latter remains.
An ambitious plan to pedestrianise was, when I went to a consultation on Friday, being torn to shreds with a variety of bizarre objections, including the assumption that it would lead to child snatching. This was even before those that are used to having Burslem as a main road had got their 4x4 paws on it.
The parks may be looking better than ever, the monstrosity Unity House - Stoke's only skyscraper which was abandoned for thirty years - may at last be coming down, but a pervasive sense of suspicion and division is keeping the city stuck in an ugly depression. I just hope the people patiently trying to improve it keep going.