On Tuesday I went to the part of Edinburgh l grew up in and left in 1986. I sought out the two houses I had been brought up in but this was a mistake. They had changed beyond all recognition and this left me very low indeed. The local shopping area ( Happy Valley) had change dramatically with shops pulled down and the girder skeletons marking new building ventures.
However I decided to walk along the canal ( used to do so often in my student days) back to the centre of the city. As I walked along the waterside my spirts rose as I saw how much improved the canal path and surroundings were. Regeneration had taken place and it was thriving with narrow boats, flowers, canoeists and new housing. I was delighted with what I saw.
There’s a metaphor if ever there was one.ReplyDelete
Sometimes it is a good thing to go back to where you were brought up ... and sometimes it isn't.
I did the former quite by accident a couple of years ago. I went to deliver a talk to a Masonic Lodge in Kenton, Middlesex, an area where I lived until I was 8 years old. I had not realised how close I was to where we used to live until I was driving back after the meeting. I turned a corner ... and the flat my family lived in was right in front of me! I nearly drove into another car because it was such an unexpected sight!
We moved from Kenton to Upminster, Essex, and it was our family home until my father became too ill to live there. We eventually had to sell the house (which my family had occupied since it was brand new), and a couple of years ago I went back to see what it looked like now. The new owners had extended it and done the sort of conversion that it needed to turn it into a modern family home ... and it actually gladdened me to see that it had been passed on to someone who obviously cared for it and a new family was enjoying living there.
On my sixtieth birthday I went back to where my secondary school had been ... and found that it had been demolished and houses built on its site. What I did find distressing was the fact that the school's cricket ground - where I had learned to play and where I had watched so many great games - had also been turned into a housing estate of ticky-tacky little houses. Furthermore, the large, mature trees that had surrounded the ground and given it shade etc., had all been cut down so that they could fit a few more houses onto the site. Very distressing.
All the best,
My school’s playing fields were taken up and an estate of housing built on it. Seems odd when I pass. I was not good at or enthusiastic about sport at school but I do recall some fun times there.Delete
The house my parents bought when they were first married andI lived in til l was in my early teens had beautiful mature apple trees. I loved helping with the harvest. Within weeks of moving we discovered that they had cut all the trees down. It was a shame.
Revisiting past haunts is always tricky. I used to love going to Saltcoats in Ayrshire when I was wee and remember it as a seaside paradise. I took my wife there when we were down the coast one time and was shocked at how run down and deprived it had become. It really affected me and left me quite upset. I revisit my old Glasgow home regularly enough that the changes (and there are many) don't seem so shocking.ReplyDelete
I had a very similar experience going with Jan to Scarborough. I had loved family holidays there ( the Naval Battle , night lights,and the beach especially) but it was a sad looking place when we went. I was left quite upset too.Delete
I’ve lived all over the U.S. and I’ve often had this experience when traveling back to old places. It’s either joy or pain. A lot like seeing old friends and hearing how they’ve been.ReplyDelete
I know what you mean.Delete
I have been lucky when returning to my two childhood homes...one in Montrose and the other six miles north at St Cyrus. The houses are 100 years plus old and unlikely to change a great deal. Our second home, in St Cyrus, was a large detached hose in about half an acre of garden, surrounded by fields. It had been the estate managers home for Ecclesgreig Estate, and had lain dormant for many years after the estate went bankrupt after the 1929 crash. It even had a separate "gun room " that my dad commandeered for his model railway layout....could have been a war gaming room if I was still there.....!ReplyDelete
Did you follow him into railway modelling at all?ReplyDelete