Regular readers will be aware by now that one of the chief delights of
my life when younger was gazing out of my classroom windows and losing
myself in daydreams. What cared I about matters pertaining to geography,
history, maths and the like? I was too busy flying around the sky or saving
the world - in my fertile imagination, at least. Sometimes I wasn't quite so
energetic in my fantasies, and was content just to watch the clouds glide
by in languid motion, going wherever it is that clouds go to.
It should therefore come as no surprise to anyone to learn that
goings of neighbourhood residents, the antics of assorted dogs, cats,
birds, squirrels and foxes, and whatever else happens in a typical street.
And yes, I still enjoy just watching the clouds drift by or contemplating
the rain pattering off the pavement. Recently, however, I've become
aware of just how few people I actually recognise in their daily per-
ambulations past the panoramic perimeters of my property.
There are now only two faces I can identify from around the
before we moved to the area, the other took up residence a year or two
after we arrived. There are others who've lived here for maybe twenty or
thirty years, but for some curious reason I still regard them as 'newbies'
and not yet established in the neighbourhood firmament. Strange how
them not living here within the first few years of my arrival makes
them seem like newcomers I haven't quite adjusted to yet.
There's a possibility that one of the old, familiar faces may sell up
and move on in the not too distant future, and the other is retired and
getting on in years. When the last link to how things once used to be has
finally gone, I wonder just how I'll react to being surrounded by complete
strangers with no connection to my younger days back in the early 1970s.
I've noticed a feeling of 'displacement' gradually creeping up on me over
the last few years as more and more 'well-kent' faces have faded from
my everyday experience, and sometimes I almost feel like I'm the
stranger who doesn't quite belong in these here parts.
It's then that I immerse myself in comicbooks from four decades
ago and re-live the early years of when I first moved to this house, in
an attempt to recapture the mood, the ambiance, the atmosphere - the
flavour - of what it was like to live here back in the sensational '70s,
when I was practically just a lad not too far removed from the start
of my journey through life and all it had to offer.
Then I lose myself in visions of the past; where long-gone local
worthies yet walk the streets beyond my window - living, breathing,
laughing and chatting as they did in bygone days, before they gradually
fell, one by one, victims to time. I seek refuge in a place and a period
which now exist only in memory, populated by the ghosts of yesterday,
and the knowledge is not lost on me that, one day, my 'continuance'
will consist of being nothing more than a lingering echo in the
minds of others.