After leaving home to go to Manchester to do my degree I never really lived at home – although of course home was always home, where my family lived was always home. In the gaps between education, getting a job, leaving the job, getting another job, going back to college, there were times when I was back with my family, but in a way at the same time I had also ‘left home’. While I was in Manchester I lived in flats as the dingy and rather dirty rooms in badly maintained properties were called, with shared bathrooms and minimal catering facilities. Then one of the friends I was living with bought his own house, and I moved in, and after that it seemed inevitable that I too would become a property owner. With a different friend I bought my own – or should I say our own place.
My first house wasn’t actually a house, it was a two bedroomed flat. It was on the first floor of a purpose built block of flats. There were two block joined by a glass panelled stairwell with two flats, side by side on each floor, and I think there were three floors altogether. There were garages in ‘the grounds’ and as we didn’t have a car we rented it to our neighbour, The blocks of flats were in a rather nice garden area with grass and trees and a small brook running through. It was very near our friends, there was a pub five minutes away in either direction, shops not far away, bus stops, banks, and access to the countryside. It really was a brilliant place to live.
When we moved in we had very little in terms of furniture but we acquired or bought the necessities, given some items by friends and relatives. We decorated the whole flat , cream walls and white woodwork. There was a small hall with a small kitchen leading off, then a good sized living room, a fair sized bedroom and a small bedroom, plus bathroom of course. We weren’t overlooked by anyone and had pleasant views of the nearby trees.
I remember friends visiting, having dinner parties, having Christmas and birthday meals with friends, I remember a lot of laughter and fun. Eventually I felt it was time to move on and was fortunate to find a house I could afford and move, from one side of Manchester to the other, two bus journeys away from the flat. I wonder who lives there now, and I wonder if they have friends visiting and dinner parties? Or maybe dinner parties are no longer a thing!