First off, there is no typographical error in the title!
This is another of those items that arise from time to time out of things that I have written in the past and done absolutely nothing with. I now have the opportunity, not only to get a version of it onto computer and the internet to be saved for posterity, but also to rewrite it on the arrogant assumption that my writing skills have improved since 1993.
The idea came to me just after we moved to Peterborough early in December 1993 when I was hand writing change of address notes for enclosing with our Christmas cards and I suddenly realised that a particular letter combination was occurring in my life rather more often than could be coincidental. As you’ve probably guessed from the title this combination was “TO” and I’ll be typing it in bold capitals from now on to show it up.
My parents’ first house in Ipswich (in which I spent the first ten years of my life) was in BosTOck Road and while we moved across town to an address without the required letter combination I did start shortly afterwards at CoplesTOn school where I stayed for the next five years.
Following that I got a job with the Inland Revenue where I rose to the rank of “Tax Officer” (see if you can guess what THAT was normally abbreviated TO!) but apart from that nothing of alphabetical significance occurred until 1979 when I got transferred by Barclays Bank Trust Co. to their Norwich office.
I commuted daily by either train or motor bike that year until November when Faith and I bought our first house together some ten miles south of Norwich in the village of Long StratTOn. Now I look back on those days I see that many places in the news from 1979 to 1983 for all the wrong reasons also contained those letters. I’m thinking particularly of the riots that occurred in TOxteth and BrixTOn but nothing like that happened in my village (although it DID get hit a few years later by a freak TOrnado)!
My next move took me to Chelmsford and for five more years the magic letter combo was not directly obvious despite further rioting in BrisTOl, LuTOn and TOttenham!
In 1987 my office in Chelmsford was closed and I was sent to Cambridge. I was not consciously aware that I was buying a house in HisTOn for its spelling, although it DID occur to me that the place name contained a satisfactory anagram of what my employer had done to me!
Then in 1993 they did it to me again, relocating the entire company to the outskirts of Peterborough. After many months of house hunting, taking into account travelling expenses and schools for the children, we purchased our present place within walking distance of that office.
And it was while writing the change of address cards for that move that the original idea for this article occurred to me.
You see, the area on the edge of Peterborough where I live is called OrTOn WisTOw – and I don’t think I can ever top that!
I wonder what it all means!