Places that were lost can come back to us these days thanks to the internet in general and Google Streetview in particular.
This was my grandparent’s house. My mother’s mother and father lived here with my widowed auntie and my unmarried uncle. This was the hub of a huge extended family of aunties, uncles and cousins. My grandparents had a lot of children, my Mum was the next to youngest, so I have 31 full cousins! At home I might have been an only child but for most of my summers I was just one of the gang. Well, not quite, I was the tag-along, the in-betweenie, a bit younger than the rest, a bit older than the 2nd cousins, but still one amongst many. In the summer holidays we’d all be there.
My best (summer) friend lived next door in the police houses. We’d play for hours in those gardens but we knew better than to stray into the big vegetable garden or we’d be for it. Now there’s just grass where once there was row upon row of vegetables and soft fruit.
In the evenings I’d read. I’d find a quiet corner of the big living room and lose myself in a book. I had a summer library card and I read some great novels borrowed from the rather majestic library. My favourites were historical and usually heart-breakingly sad! Hilda Lewis’ The Gentle Falcon, Deirdre of the Sorrows (click through & listen to it being read!), and a rather wonderful children’s book about the Underground Railway and the slave trade whose name escapes me. I’d get the same three books out at the start of the holidays every year, devour them quickly then move on to whatever else took my fancy.
Back to the house then with one final memory. Walking down the road with my Nana and seeing my Dad raise his camera. “You dare, Tommy! Just you dare!” and he did. I’m on the end, that’s one of my 2nd cousins in the middle. I miss the hedges. It looks so bare now.And the point of all of this? Just a reflection that nothing is really lost if it’s still in my memory, even if I need a jog from a photo to bring it back into focus.