Friday, 21 July 2017

THE STAIRWAY TO 'HEAVEN' LEADS DOWN, NOT UP (UPDATED - AGAIN)...


The middle building sits on what was once part of the garden.  An
annexe hut was just visible behind the edifice on the right.  The
stairs of the manse on the left have been replaced, the originals
being well-worn, and with a wall instead of a railing

As a teenager, I went through a phase where I developed
an interest in religion.  Y'know, the full "who am I, where did I
come from, why am I here, where am I going?" bit.  Consequently,
I attended a couple of church youth clubs with some pals, who weren't
quite so interested in religion, but were interested in the girls who fre-
quented such establishments.  We were regarded as 'neds', not because
we were (not real neds anyway), but because, compared to our fellows
(all saintly-minded believers who saw Jesus as their 'personal Saviour'
and who were liable to break into a chorus of 'Kumbaya' - with guitar
accompaniment - at the drop of a hat), we were seen as 'rough boys'
to be pitied and avoided if we couldn't be 'converted'.  (Not
in the recent Doctor Who way, I hasten to add.)

The basement fire exit.  Members came and went
through here to and from the garden.  The barred
window on the left is the one seen from inside the
basement's main room in the next photo

One such club was held in the basement of what used to be
the manse, within the same grounds as the church itself.  The
last time I recall being in that basement must've been around 1979
or '80 - almost 40 years ago.  Wow!  That's a hard one to get my head
around.  At the back of the church once stood an annexe hut, which was
replaced with a large extension a good number of years back, housing a
cafe and various other things.  I was in there yesterday for a coffee (first
time I've used the place), and after I'd finished, I took a wander into the
former manse and visited the basement.  It was pretty much as I re-
membered, though it looks like the kitchen has had a refit, and what
was once a window-sized opening into the kitchen from the
staircase has now actually had a window fitted.

If I recall rightly, an old radiator was affixed to the wall under the
window, and the seating was previously oblong wooden box-like
structures with square cushions on top for comfort 

As I stood looking around and drinking in the memories
of my teenage visits to the place with my friends (one of whom
died some years ago), I was struck by just how recent it all seemed
to have been.  Hard as it might be for you to believe, I was regarded
as what we Scots call the 'leader-aff' by my group, which was probably
good thing as I tended to rein them in a bit from indulging in the full
catalogue of youthful 'hijinks'.  Had all those years really elapsed since
I'd last stood in these low-ceilinged vaults?  It hardly seemed possible.
I was both cheered and saddened by the occasion, and returned this
afternoon with my camera and snapped a few photos for posterity.
However, yet again I'm reminded of just how fleeting the years
are, and how quickly events of the present become mere
echoes of the past in the haunting halls of memory.

I remember sitting in the room through the doorway back in the
'70s, but can't recall if it housed a pool table back then.  I dimly
see a table tennis table in my mind, but could be imagining it 

It's strange to think that what was once a very familiar
place to me on a weekly basis (perhaps even twice-weekly, as
there may've been a Wednesday meeting as well as a Sunday one)
for a couple of years or so, faded from my mind once I'd left it behind.
(I simply became too 'old' for a 'youth' club.)  However, I think there's
a difference between not thinking about something and truly forgetting
it, and all it takes is a sight (or a scent) of something familiar to bring it
all back to the forefront of one's thoughts as if it were only yesterday.
Ever had a similar experience while revisiting a place from your far-
away youth?  Then feel free to share your reminiscences with
all your fellow Criv-ites in the comments section.

A view of the garden - the building on the left once wasn't part of it,
and there used to be a huge tree roughly in the middle of the lawn

Taken from roughly the same spot (or near it) back in
the 1970s.  If you look really closely, you can see my
Coke can to the left of the tree.  The last tree in the
row may be the one in the above photo.  If not, it'll
be one of the ones in the background

In case you're interested, below are some more photos.  If I can
find ones I took back in the 1970s, I'll add them for comparison.
(Now done, but I'll add any more I find at a later date.)

The front of what  used to be the manse.  The extension on the
left sits on what was once part of the garden, as was the car park

The church (Baptist) building itself.  It's reported that the 'pastor'
from my time later 'moved on' after having affairs with women in
his 'flock'.  Don't know if he left the ministry, but this was the man
who spoke to me like something he'd scraped off his shoe.

This photo was taken from the bowling green on the other side of the
church in the above photo (that's it on the left).  You can see part of
the annexe hut to the right, which is where the extension now sits...

...as you can see from this recent photo

The Old Village Hall across the road from the church
was being transformed into a theatre at the time... 

...and here's the same view nearly 40 years later

The stairs to the basement

Basement seen from the doorway

View from inside the pool room

View of the main room from pool room doorway

The kitchen is situated around to the far right

This closed-off stairway is situated between the
previous scene and the next one.  It was thus in
my day too.  Teenagers used to sit here chatting

The stairway in the previous pic is to the left of the doorway

The kitchen looks surprisingly smaller than I remember it, but I
don't think it had so many cupboards and stuff as it does now 

The window on the right was once just an open frame, through which
members would take a shortcut into the kitchen from the staircase

Back around to the main room...

...and up the stairs to the outside world.  Our
visit's over, so "Th-th-that's all, folks!"

10 comments:

Colin Jones said...

Tomorrow is exactly 40 years since my final day in primary school - Friday, July 22nd 1977. I can still remember the school in great detail but I've never been back to visit.

Kid said...

If it hasn't changed since your day, CJ, it would be like going back in time if you ever DID visit. If it's had radical alterations made to it, you'd perhaps be better staying away and just remembering how it was. That way, it'll always be the same in your memory.

Phil S said...

I went to my old house a few years ago. It was eerie. It looked the same but fence needed painting and the awning needed replacement but it looked the same. I had a bust of the Phantom and the eyes lit up.

Kid said...

If I had a bust of Sam Fox, I think my eyes would light up.

B Smith said...

Come on, Kid, it's never too late to accept Jesus as your saviour....you can do it!

Kultural Kwestion: wot's a "ned"?

Kid said...

A 'ned' is an aggressive, violent delinquent, BS. My few internet critics would say that's me to a 't'.

Colin Jones said...

Did you see the film 'Neds' from a few years ago, Kid ? I didn't but I read about it.

Kid said...

Saw it advertised at the time, CJ, but have never seen the movie itself. As I said before, I think, I see neds on our streets every day, so I don't really want to see a movie about them as well, the buggahs.

Tony Swan said...

Nice use of the Prisoner font (albertus) for the Village Cafe.Be seeing You!

Kid said...

Yeah, I'd noticed that. Wonder if it was deliberate? Be seeing you.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...