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|Bitterne Parker: Royston Smith|
|Sunday, 20 July 2014 00:00|
The Qs & the As
What’s your link with Bitterne Park?
I moved to Bullar Road when I was three, and to Hillside Avenue when I was 15. I used to own Triangle Cycles, formerly Norris’s which had been selling bicycles and prams from those premises, which is now the tattoo shop, since before the war
What’s your earliest memory of the area?
I think going to the many and varied shops. Curly Wheeler’s for dog food (sold loose in hessian bags) or Lancaster and Crook, where they asked you how thin you wanted the bacon sliced, and wrapped it in paper. Maybe ‘Pete the fish’ the local fishmonger or Mr Husky in the electrical stores or being sent up for rolls to Lowman’s Bakery. It wasn’t that long ago really but it was much different.
How could the area be better?
It’s a little run down in areas and looks a little neglected. We managed to get the Bitterne Park Triangle sign commissioned and manufactured some years ago but the area would benefit from a little bit of a tidy up.
Tell us something we probably didn’t know already about Bitterne Park
While playing in Riverside Park while it was being dug up for a utility main I discovered our lovely park was a former tip. All the local kids would scramble around in the mud and ended up with fantastic Victorian bottle collections. I still have some of mine now.
What’s good about the wider city?
The city punches above its weight as the premier city on the south coast but still feels like a town. Unlike many larger cities you are never far away from someone you know.
Southampton: points for improvement?
Improving the waterfront at Mayflower Park so that people can finally have some quality access to the waterfront. Regenerating the many areas damaged during the war (poor quality buildings rushed up after bomb damage).
‘I have learned to be more
What’s your passion in life?
Politics. It can be a rough game but being able to influence decisions (for the better) in however small a way still gives me enormous pleasure.
How do you put bread on your table?
I run a modest PR and relationship management business. It allows me the flexibility to follow my political ambitions while still paying for the mortgage.
What has your career taught you?
I have broadly had three careers: ten years in the Royal Air Force, followed by 16 years as an aeronautical engineer with British Airways, and my political career and my other business interests. I have learned much from my mixture of public and private sector experience which gives me an insight into what is important to people. It’s not always obvious but I have learned to be more understanding, I think.
What really gets your goat?
Unwarranted and unpleasant personal attacks.
How do you relax?
I like cooking, socialising and travel. I particularly like hill walking and until relatively recently played tennis. Injuries have pretty much stopped that pastime now.
What’s your favourite dish?
Which is your favourite pub?
From a nostalgia point of view – The Bitterne Park Hotel (or the BP as locals refer to it) but these days I probably don’t have a favourite.
What are you drinking?
A bottle of Bud and wines - various.
What do you listen to?
An odd mix of classical and pop. James Blunt and David Gray feature heavily on my iPod.
Can you recommend a really good read?
The Places In between by Rory Stewart. It is a fantastic account of his epic walk across Afghanistan.
What’s a great day out?
I don’t get as many of these as I would like. A walk in the countryside followed by a pub lunch with warm beer. Or watching the Saints thrash Manchester United, which is even rarer.
Tell us a secret
[Secret deleted at Editor’s insistence!]
Tell us a joke
[Sorry: joke depended on answer to previous question! Ed.]
Finally, what would be another great question for other Bitterne Parkers?
How about: can you name the local police constable?
Thanks so much for taking part!
Tune in next time when another Bitterne Parker answers our searching questions. But before then, do you know a Bitterne Parker we really should feature? If so, please nominate them by emailing us using the contact form, and we'll do our best. No promises, mind.
Royston's website is here.