My tales focus on the South-West coast of the country Lilonika, in Harrington City, a large city that had grown up by the sea. It was rimmed by white sparkling beaches, and much of it was built over once grassy hills. In truth once upon a time the city had been a great many villages and hamlets where the people lived independently, tending their fields, feeding their families and living their simple happy lives.
The City of Harrington was very large, although not the capital of the country, and it was divided into fourteen divisions, each with their own stories and communities. In this chapter I will endeavour to introduce you to these fourteen divisions.
In order of size:
Easton is the largest, and the most easterly, as you may guess by its name.
South Town is the most southerly division.
Dimpledown is one of the largest divisions of the town of Harrington, and some would say it was the prettiest too. It is called 'Dimpledown' by some poetic spark when it was just a small village in a dimple of the hilly ground. There are a few old-fashioned shops, one modern shopping centre, and an abundance of parks and hotels. The red dusty avenues are clear, for most people travel by horse-and-cart, and are lined with the green of trees and shrubs. There are no empty fields or walls, and the aviary is a popular tourist magnet. The most interesting fact is that every shop, house, park and hotel is owned and run by the same family of Downings. The Downings pride themselves on their unusual ways and therefore to live in the most beautiful and peaceful division you must be privileged with a licence from Alastair Downing, the council leader of this time, although the rest of the city call him the 'tribal chief' with a spark of something that can be described as bitter jealousy. Suffice to say, the Downing family welcomes visitors, but does not by any means welcome prospective dwellers.
Estate Harrington consists entirely of living space. With umpteen apartment blocks and closes, it is mainly just identical townhouses.
Skirton is called Skirton because it is composed of three areas on the outskirts of the town. The people of Skirton are quiet and unassuming, which perhaps is because the three areas have been rejected for combination by their immediate neighbours, and they are still feeling sore.
Westfield is a magnificent place for those ill or in pain. Situated adjacent to the sea, here is a large hospital, and many small clean bungalows, pensions and 'old people's homes'.
Central Harrington is where the best shopping malls, sports centres and traffic jams are to be found. It is by no means the largest division, but is very much the central one, socially as well as in positioning. It contains Harrington Hall, the home of the Harrington family, who have ruled the city for years. However the current Harrington family do not live in Harrington Hall, but that is another story, and one I am sure will find its way onto these pages.
In the nineteenth century Winceley housed the important personage of Harrington, but now it contains a number of large houses devoting their purposes to that of museums and hotels. There are also a number of luxurious parks, complete with rose gardens, mazes, pavilions and long manicured lawns.
Linton - occasionally called Lancetown by the elder folk of the city in memory of a fierce battle held over its stretches. In 1357, hundreds of female criminals from all over the country, exiled to a little detention town on a craggy ridge above the higher part of Harrington, revolted. They broke out of their own gates, came down the cliff and were met with village-folk from all over the place. A terrible battle took place in Linton, or Lancetown, but it was never finished. At its height a small earthquake people believed had been sent from Mount Swansia itself shook the land, and the cliff collapsed on the tail of the army of exiled women. Those who survived were returned to their detention village, but a great puncture was left in the hillside after the battle that had earned Linton its nickname. Now there is no crag or puncture. The cliff has gradually smoothed over and now not only a shallow slope but a warm friendship exists between Linton and the once-detention village.
Once covered with dank marshland over seven desolate hillocks, Moorton can still be described as 'lumpy'.
Banton is of no specific importance, however you may meet a place called Little Banton on your travels within these pages. Little Banton is a smaller section of Banton, on the outskirts, and was once a threatened village needing protection, so applied to Banton itself for this necessary protection. Rather a gloomy place, Little Banton has a small school taking children up to the age of fourteen. The buildings are rather spread out, although the area is not large, which earns it the feeling of a village still.
Darcey Muppet is the proud owner of the football team that came last in the Harrington Men's League for the Matthiason Cup. In medieval times it was a prison town or detention centre for female criminals from all over Lilonika, partly because it was set upon a craggy ridge challenging to approach from any angle. It is now named after one criminal, Darcey Muppet, who led the afore-mentioned revolt in 1357. The plot failed, as we have seen, and Darcey Muppet was hanged, yet she was always remembered within the walls of the place and in 1730 the village was officially named for her. Even now, when times have changed and there is no prison village or female criminals, Darcey Muppet is composed mostly of women.
On the coast, Coaston has been a port and harbour for many years.
Grange Village is the smallest division. Indeed, Coaston, the second smallest part, is over seven times the area of Grange, which in many ways is still just a village. Grange has everything it needs, from its tiny confectionary shop to the small block of apartments. In fact Grange is really just two long streets, joined at one end to the main road leading away to Little Banton and Westfield, and at the other end blocked by a low red brick wall, where residents never tire of sitting and looking out over the countryside just out of Harrington. The hills of the countryside between Harrington and the Bay of Allecai three hours' drive East concerns this piece a good deal, yet my story is mainly set in Grange Village, the smallest of the fourteen divisions of Harrington...