It’s occurred to me, and rather frighteningly so, that it’s more than 40 years since I first started reading the Adver. Since I began taking a look at my parent’s paper until today, I will have paid attention to what the Adver had to report through well over 10,000 copies.


And while there is much to say about modern technology and accessing the news through a variety of ‘technological media platforms’ or however the jargon goes, there’s nothing like sitting down with a hard copy, perhaps with a coffee, or even better a beer, to catch up on local goings on.


The daily ritual of buying it (and that’s not always easy out here in the sticks where there’s no shop in the village and the closest place to pick up a copy is a good four miles away), to the time earmarked in the day to sit down and have a good perusal, has become a way of life.


If Swindon have played the night before you need to get in early, otherwise likeminded Town supporters will have wanted their regular match report fix and the shop may have sold out.


Some newsagents think Swindon is too far away to be of interest and don’t stock it, while some neighbouring towns can be complete Adver-free zones, stocking things like the Bath Doodah instead.


Missing my Adver is something I don’t entertain easily. It has become an old friend whose presence is missed if holidays intervene, and just like old friends it’s sometimes infuriating, frustrating and downright annoying.


But it’s a relationship that has endured and over the years I feel I know some of the journos personally.


Barrie Hudson usually makes me laugh and I often think Graham Carter and I must be brothers separated at birth, so many things he writes that have me nodding my head in agreement.


And when I spotted Barry Leighton’s piece this week detailing all those developments that have been proposed for Swindon over the years it really struck a chord with me.


Because I remember all of those ‘artists impressions’ showing the Shangri la of peacefulness that Swindon was to become, and I know just how few have come to fruition.


To celebrate the successful library development that was built after 40 years of talking, (that would have started around the time I started reading the Adver I suppose) is pretty hollow for a town that regularly entertains thoughts of becoming a city.


Almost all other redevelopment proposals have fallen by the wayside.


Of course the Regent Circus rebuild is nearing completion, but that attracts more negative comment by the affect it has had on traffic flow and danger to pedestrians (that’s pedestrians. Not pedestrains), than it does positive.


Similarly with Whale Bridge.


Almost all town centre restructuring plans involve ‘restaurants’ (fast food outlets), shopping complexes (further discounters) and offices… despite the surplus of free office space the town has always had and can never fill.


There will be talk of bars and pictures showing half a dozen people sitting outside enjoying some café culture, but it won’t show the fight going on outside at 2:00 on a Saturday morning when kicking out time arrives.


Take a trip to Bath and see how the old bus station area has been redeveloped and you can see what can be achieved, and just how it can enhance a city/town. How new buildings can be integrated into the surrounding architecture in such a manner that they don’t jar the senses.


And I’m afraid that difference encapsulates why Swindon’s persona is perceived the way it is outside of the town.


Recently there was a fad for cladding parts of buildings with wood, such as those of the Plaza 21 development and the revamp of the old Nationwide building in Princes Street.


This looks OK for around 18 months before the lack of required maintenance to protect it from the weather leaves the building looking like a shanty town built from old pallets.


The proposed developments are presented in such a manner that they look modern and imaginative, which is how Swindon appears to want to be seen, but  as everyone has become weary of expecting them to happen, there seems little reason to pay much attention to them.


And those that happen won’t end up anything like the artists impressions.