A councillor in Horsham considers our town a dump, a shopkeeper from Eastergate finds his customers prefer not to come here, a local mother finds syringes and a rat on our beach.
The Observer turns such stuff into headlines, but how much worse it is that our own councillors, trying to list the town’s attractions, can only think of the holiday camp and a rebuilt school.
I’ve lived here a long time without finding rats or syringes on our beach, but I’ve found beauty there, especially in winter and when spring tides expose the reefs, but also in the summer when it is thronged with people.
To the west it is so richly planted that it is a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
A little way beyond you will come to an international bird reserve in Pagham Harbour, or to the north an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty: the South Downs.
We have fishing boats and sailing boats.
We have cafes and bars where you can sit and watch the breaking waves, and we have gardens bordering the sea that are full of shrubs and flowers.
We have Hotham Park with playing spaces in an arboretum that is thronged with birds and neighbour to elegant regency buildings.
We have a railway station whose paved forecourt is set with trees sliding into autumn gold, and whose platforms are a tribute to the iron-founders of the last century.
We have a theatre and a recital hall, and a cinema in a listed building where we can watch live theatre, opera and ballet.
We have grounds for football clubs, tennis clubs, cricket clubs, sailing clubs and bowling clubs, and a leisure centre where we can swim, exercise or play.
This summer Havelok Unlocked saw a local writer setting up a day of street theatre in our town to celebrate his Bognor childhood, and on the 28th of this month Headline Books have chosen our library to launch the paperback of a Sussex writer’s blockbuster novel Cuckoo.
Good luck to Horsham, but I think I’ll stay.