EK OK

17 Feb

I’ve spent most of the last few days in East Kilbride, and it felt like a very long week. East Kilbride, or EK, is a town outside Glasgow. It has an older ‘village’ section (so I’m told) but most of it is post-war, with more than its fair share of block-like 60s monstrosities of architecture and civil engineering. The town centre is composed of a large shopping and some car parks.  EK is ugly, there’s no way around it.

On top of that it has its own micro-climate, which is awful. If it rains in Glasgow, it sleets in EK; if it snows in Glasgow, EK is snowed-in for months and has to survive on tinned sardines; and it is always blowing a gale. I exaggerate, of course, but honestly, the weather is terrible. And while you are fighting your way through the elements you always seem to be going uphill, because flat roads are as rare in EK as sunny days.

This is why my few days in EK were quite trying – this, and the fact that hills and weather seem worse when you’re pushing a pram at an hour when you would rather be on bed. But what this week has also shown me is why East Kilbride is such a popular place to live – and it is; the town is full of new housing estates because people are falling over themselves to move there.

Mainly its that housing is cheaper here than in Glasgow, but it’s easily commutable. It’s not just that, though. I have found people here to be friendly and helpful, perhaps even more than in Glasgow. The town is sympathetically laid out for pedestrians, as well as motorists: footpaths cut up, down and across every hill, making handy shortcuts and safer walking. Even the hideous (and imaginatively named) East Kilbride Shopping Centre is an asset when you consider the weather outside.

And in the station just now, as I was writing this, a woman exclaimed “Jesus Christ!”, a man remonstrated “Excuse me – that’s the name of the Lord”, and the woman, instead of giving him a filthy look or a mouthful of worse language, simply apologised. How many places would that happen? East Kilbride may be physically ugly, but in other ways it’s no eyesore.

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