Yesterday I shared the first of five blogs about the homes I’ve lived in since buying a flat with a friend many years ago. As a child my family had three homes, a ground floor flat which we rented, a three-bedroomed semi which we lived in for two years, then a split-level bungalow which my parents had for about fifteen years. I left home at eighteen and lived in a variety of rented ‘flats, on my own and with friends, until I bought my first home which I wrote about yesterday.
I moved to my second home on the other side of the city; it was a three bedroomed semi-detached property with a small front garden and a steeply sloping back garden. There were steps leading to the front door, and inside was a very small hall area, open plan to the lounge, with stairs leading straight up to the bathroom and bedrooms. There was a longish lounge and I put a dining table and chairs into the garden end as a dining area. There was a fairly good sized kitchen with a back door leading to the drive at the side of the house.
I moved in with barely any furniture at all except a bed which I bought, but I gradually acquired the basics – a three-piece suite from my aunty, a table which was being thrown out from school which I rescued, with garden chairs at first. The house was in a road which led up to access to the countryside, opposite – so I could look out the front window, was a church surrounded by a graveyard. Less than a couple of hundred yards away was a pub called ‘The Church. I was living on my own, so I didn’t go in very often. The vicar of the actual church was very eccentric. There was a clock on the church and he attached some sort of loud speaker system to it so every hour a voice boomed out the time. Once he was trying to clear the graveyard of weeds and employed some sort of flame-thrower which managed to set fire to the lot. I have a feeling the fire-brigade was called, but I may have imagined that.
I didn’t have a car at the time so was dependent on buses, which had been fine when I lived in the flat on the other side of the city, but I felt very isolated in this house. I had moved there partly because my group of friends didn’t live that far away, but as it turned out, one moved twenty miles away, one became very involved with family and work, one moved to another part of the country, and various others drifted away for other reasons. I have to be honest and say I don’t have fond recollections of this place, and don’t often think about it. It was an intermission between happier times, and once I moved again, my life began to change, turn a corner and many unexpectedly fantastic and wonderful things occurred.
The only memory I have which I value and revisit was when I was just waking up to the shops near the house when I saw the historian Michael Wood getting out of his car to go to the same shops. I was so familiar with him from seeing him on TV that my expression must have shown my recognition. He hesitated, I hesitated, and then, to my regret, I said nothing and he walked up to one shop and I to another. I guess I could say I nearly met Michael Wood! My featured image is of Michael from one of his books.