Telegraph Towers 2: The Sequel

Thornton on Thursday column with Peterborough Telegraph's deputy editor Nigel Thornton - peterboroughtoday.co.uk
Thornton on Thursday column with Peterborough Telegraph's deputy editor Nigel Thornton - peterboroughtoday.co.uk

I am not the sentimental type – so when on Friday I was last man out of the Telegraph Towers newsroom there were no tears.

Even though it was where I first set eyes on the future Mrs T.

The old PT newsroom in Priestgate

The old PT newsroom in Priestgate

Even though it was where I reached the pinnacle of my journalistic career – runner-up three years in a row in the East Of England Columnist of the Year. I didn’t enter a fourth time after I was beaten by a rival who the judges described as “writing like Bridget Jones’s aunt.’’

After that I knew what an away goalie feels like when he runs up to take a goalkick and 15,000 ‘wags’ in the crowd shout in unison: “You’re sh***************!’’

Yes, the Telegraph’s home for 30 years, and my place of work for nearly two decades, is no longer the beating heart of the city’s premier news organisation.

During that time I’ve designed thousands of front pages, witnessed hundreds of bust-ups (even some that didn’t involve a photographer) said goodbye to several bright young things who headed off to ‘Fleet Street’ and to many more not so bright young things who moved into PR and now command salaries that dwarf mine. But I’m not bitter (well, not very).

A discarded Christmas tree on Bourges Boulevard

A discarded Christmas tree on Bourges Boulevard

The most jaw-dropping moment was not (contrary to the opinion of female members of staff) the day ex-Jack Hunt pupil Aston Merrygold of JLS came to the office to thank us in person for supporting the band in X Factor.

No, it was 9/11 when the planes flew into the Twin Towers. The newsroom was transfixed on the TV screen as the terror unfolded.

When it comes to a local story the closest to that was when the body count started mounting in the Joanne Dennehy case.

It beat even the time the ET made its own front page news when armed robbers raided the office and tied up four journalists working late.

They’d have got away with it too if it wasn’t for those pesky kids, or rather veteran lensman David Lowndes, who had earlier spotted a suspicious-looking van and jotted down the reg.

We loved the old offices even when MP Stewart Jackson attempted to turn it into the Torygraph with a very naughtily placed election poster on the side of the building.

I’m pretty happy with the new offices – my computer hasn’t crashed since we moved in - at the old place it gave up the ghost at least half a dozen times a day. The toilets are much better (don’t ask), there’s boiling hot water on tap (literally) for the coffee – we’ve donated the old kettle we had at Priestgate to the Victoria & Albert Museum.

But best of all my equivalent of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory – the Majestic Wine Warehouse – is right on the doorstep.

Flytipping? It’s a fir cop

Flytipping is a big issue in Peterborough. In certain areas of the city people are sadly becoming accustomed to waking up to find a battered sofa or an unwanted fridge blighting their neighbourhood. This week I came across possibly the most bizarre example of flytipping yet because of the what, when and where. It was a Christmas tree. On April 25. On the pavement alongside Bourges Boulevard. It was such a strange sight I wasn’t sure it hadn’t slipped through a hole in the space time continuum. It’s still irresponsible littering, even it’s from a different universe!

Trouble in store

My heart goes out to the 11,000 BHS staff including those who work in the Peterborough store. Hopefully, a lot of those jobs will be saved but right now 11,000 people and their families will be worried about their futures. Capitalism may well be best for improving living standards of us all but its champions still have morals that would make an alleycat blush. There must be a social system where people can work hard, get on and enjoy the rewards without stepping on the bodies of the rest of us.

Win win result

Has there ever been more deserving winners of the Lotto than the Daniels family of Whittlesey?

No, thought not.

Diary Of A Bad Dad

I’m all for equality and I shall be outraged if Toddler T is denied educational opportunity, career prospects or wage parity because of her sex, but boys will be boys and they are different from girls.

Toddler T and her brother look alike but there the similarities end.

I now realise Toddler T was an angel – albeit one that never slept. Her brother in comparison is Rip Van Baby, but when he’s awake we’re all on tenterhooks wondering what he’ll do next.

It’s hard to second guess him as he’s very inventive and doesn’t like to repeat himself. After he’s climbed into the dishwasher once, it’s a case of been there, done that, on to the next challenge.

A section of the nation might be enthralled by cult TV show Game Of Thrones but at Thornton Towers we’re transfixed by Game Of Throws.

This involves the Toddlenator picking up (without permission of course) various items – shoes, nappies, apples, plastic plates, brushes – and hurling them as far as he can. They get more points the louder the noise they make when they collide with something.

So far Mrs T’s Ming vase is intact and he’s not yet found my stash of 1970s Leeds United programmes... but winter is coming.