If you visited our home in Metcalfe Road, a small ground floor flat with a long garden and a warm welcome, you would probably come round to the back door. I don’t really remember people coming to the front door which was on the side of the building. There was a wide drive between us and the identical flat next door, which led to the two single garages, one for each house, one for the Ginns who lived at number 16 and us who lived at number 18. Had there originally been a wire fence, between us and them? Probably, but as we were good neighbours that came down before i can remember it.
Pete Ginn was a builder in his dad’s firm, the firm which built our homes. He had a car as long as I can remember, but our garage only contained our bikes – we didn’t get our car, an Austin A35 until after my grandma died in 1956. There were paths by the buildings on either side of the drive, leading down past the front door on the side, and round the corner to the back door leading into the kitchen. It was one of those doors with separate panes of glass, I see to remember there were four going from top to bottom, but maybe there were only two in the top half. There was a single window either side with a fanlight at the top, and there must have been a window on the side, above the sink, but somehow I don’t remember it. The door key was key shaped, not a Yale, and the handle was handle shaped not a twisty knob.
On the left of the kitchen as you came in, wiping your feet on the doormat before stepping onto the lino, was a tall cupboard, and next to it or at least along that wall was the sink with the Ascot heater, and teh gas stove with an oven and an eye level grill… well, I think there was an eye level grill, that memory is also a little blurry. Along the back wall was the cabinet, a metal unit with double doors and two drawers above and a stainless steel top. One of the drawers was for cutlery, the other was for stuff – corkscrews, old tobacco tins with screws and nuts and bolts and nails, paper bags with beans and seeds to be planted next year, balls of string, elastic bands… stuff.
The door was in the corner next to the cabinet, and lead into the passage – to the right mum and dad’s bedroom, and next to the kitchen the sitting room, to the left the front door, and down the passage the lavatory, bathroom and my sister and my bedroom. I couldn’t now tell you the size of the rooms, I think they may be smaller than I remember. Quite often with property sales now, floor plans are published; although some of the houses on Metcalfe Road have come up for sale, all that I have seen have been converted to two semi-detached properties rather than the original four flats. The layout inside has so changed, it’s impossible to know now what they were like then.
I hope the present occupants have as happy life in their very different homes, as we did in ours.
My featured image is of peaches because we had a peach tree in our garden, a white peach with the most succulent and delicious fruit!