Sunday, 12 February 2017


The view from one of my old classroom windows -
now demolished.  (The school, not just the window)

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
I still like to gaze out of windows today, observing the comings and
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
time I first came to this house over forty years ago.  One was here
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.

The view from my old bedroom window, with my school in sight

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 windows - 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.


Philip Crawley said...

Heavy stuff to start the working week with!, as I sit here on my break back in the studio on a Monday morning reading your blog (part of the daily routine). I was also a window-gazer back in the day and can find as much satisfaction watching rain cause ripples in puddles as taking in something more spectacular. I no longer live in the town where I grew up, I have now been away from it for longer than my 21 years there, but have occasion to make infrequent visits to see some family that still reside there. Phone and email mean that you don't see them face to face as often as I used to. If I were still in my former home the view from my window would certainly have changed. Last I looked the house across the road is now a car park and the factory further down our street is now a block of flats. Old schools (across the street from each other) are still there but the old parts are now surrounded by newer 'portables'. Now matter where I live I only have to look around the study at over 40 years of collections and as my gaze pauses on various comics, books or models I am taken back to the time when they were new and my surroundings were as I remembered them. So in short I can identify with your musings. Just on the collection; every now and them I look around at it all and, just fleetingly mind you, wonder how I would feel if I sold it all off. Would I feel free and uncluttered?, or would I miss it and spend the rest of my years propping up eBay trying to re-acquire it all? I suspect the latter and your words to others come up in my head about regretting the parting. Apart from anything else it would be severing touchstones and links to my past. So it won't happen, the collection is still all around me even though I've had this thought on several occasions.

Kid said...

I know that I'd miss my stuff if I got rid of it, PC, because I've done it before and regretted it. Sometimes I do feel bogged down by it, but most of the time I welcome its presence, which I find reassuring. The illusion that you only got a certain comic or whatever a week ago (because that's what it seems like) makes you feel less separated from the past, but you have to try and focus on that feeling and ignore the lurking truth (all too ready to spring out at you when you least expect it) that, hey - that was 40 years ago! So, if you can hold on to the illusion and ignore the reality (for most of the time) then having those touchstones to your past is worth it. I totally know what you're talking about 'though - great comment.

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