Monday, 31 May 2021


The street in which I live is a long, winding, twisting, turning snake of a street with nearly 200 homes in it.  Towards the late '70s, I had two friends who lived in the street, but nearer the beginning than I was.  In fact, one lived in number one, the other half-a-dozen houses further up from him.  Neither of them live there now, having moved out decades ago, but their parents (then, with the passing of time, a parent in each case) continued to inhabit their long-term domiciles.

Last year, the father who lived in number one sadly passed away.  He was a very well-educated and extremely intelligent man and whenever he saw me, he'd say "Hello Kid" (yes, even my friends' parents usually addressed me by that singular appellation), and I'd stop and have a blether with him.  Sometimes, on my way to the shops, I'd chap his door to see if he needed anything, but his family, though no longer in residence, usually made sure he was well looked after, so there was only one occasion when I was of use to him for a couple of items of shopping.

Anyway, since he died, whenever I've been passing his house, I've always looked over and given a nod in its direction, just out of respect for him.  Yesterday, however, I saw a 'sold' sign at the entrance, which surprised me as I hadn't seen a 'for sale' sign preceding it, which would normally be the case.  So it's sad that my 45 year 'connection' (minor as it was) to the house has come to an end now that it's passed into the possession of another owner, but I don't think I'll ever be able to pass it without giving it a nod of acknowledgement when I do.

Today, I went around with my camera and snapped a few photos of the front and back, as it's unlikely I'll ever again set foot on the path and steps leading up to the front door.  Casting my mind back, it was in one of the bedrooms of the house that I scored my first* '180' at darts sometime around 1982, and I well remember the apoplectic fit my friend's brother had in frustration at me gubbing him at the game he seemingly thought he was superior at.  And maybe he was, but not on that particular day.  Ah, happy memories.  (*H'mm, or was that in Southsea the year before?  Same darts I was using, but regardless, it was the first time I scored 180 while back home.)

However, I'm becoming all too aware that, with the passing of time, more and more familiar places are passing beyond my reach - or disappearing altogether - and it's a sombre and scary reminder that all things must pass, and that eventually there'll be little or no signposts to my youth left to take comfort from.  I used to be able to visit my old primary schools whenever there was a jumble sale, but they were demolished around 6 or 7 years ago, so I can no longer walk the halls of youthful academia.  Friends have moved or died, so I can no longer revisit the interiors of their houses I was so familiar with when I was a kid or teenager.

I don't know about you, but I miss being able to reconnect with certain aspects of my past due to people or places no longer existing, or for whatever reason it might be that prevents me doing so - like a friend's familiar house now belonging to someone else.  Previously, I knew that if I wanted to chap the door of the house under discussion, I'd be made welcome and given a cup of tea and a biccie.  The fact I knew I could meant that I didn't avail myself of such hospitality as often as I might have, but now that it's forever beyond me makes me kind of sad.

Any of you feel the same way when such things happen to you, or am I just a great big overly-sentimental wussy-boy who should toughen up and just get on with things?  Make your feelings known.


Philip Crawley said...

I would say that those opportunities to connect with the past through places in the present are likewise dwindling in my case as well, but as I moved out of the town I grew up in 40 years ago and return less and less often as the years go by the chances to find out are few and far between.

Still have some (now elderly) releatives living there and I will say that in the case of one of their homes, to the best of my recollection, the interiors have not altered much at all since my visits as a much younger person!

There was one visit where we drove by my old schools, the primary and secondary schools just across the road from each other, and the additions, extensions and the like in the intervening years had rendered both places virtually unrecognizable.

Co-incidentally I used Google Street View last month to check out my old house, and while it looked much smaller than I recall and basically unchanged, a lot of the rest of the street had altered.

I'm at the stage now where when I think back to the past it's more often to the time when our two children (now young adults)were younger rather than when I was myself.

Kid said...

I daresay it happens to all of us, PC, but most people are probably too caught up in the dance of life (work, family, hobbies, etc.) to navel-gaze in the way that I do, so such changes as I (and you) describe pass unnoticed. In my case, not being married or having kids (grown up ones or otherwise), I have the 'luxury' of being mainly concerned with myself, so even the slightest change to the way things were appears much more significant to me than to others. I would imagine that the man's family will feel a sense of loss at no longer being able to drop in to the house they grew up in, but that might be because they miss being able to visit their father there more than the actual house.

McSCOTTY said...

I had a wee chuckle re Philip’s comments as I have also had a look at some of my old houses and streets where friends etc use to live on Google street maps . Saying that I have never really stayed in one house (apart from this one) for more than about 5 years so I have never really had that day to day experience of seeing people getting older or indeed fully bonding with the places in the same way you have, possibly the nearest to that experience for you is the actual town centres rather than the residential streets. On visits to my old family homes one has been knocked down and the others no families residing there from when I was originally a resident (but you are talking about in some cases 30 -50 years ago ). Even in my current house I am now the longest residing inhabitant of a set of 7 or so cottages (and I’m not the oldest lol). A bit off track but one day about 20 years ago I had one of those vivid dreams where I was back in my old home area where I lived from when I was about 9 - 12 years old. In the dream I was older and was driving when all of a sudden I got out my car and found I was walking up a path to my then best pal Alan’s house. The following week (to the day) I was driving into Glasgow and I was diverted due to traffic works through a (posh) housing estate so I stopped the car thinking I know this place and yes I had stopped directly outside my old pals house (I checked the door number name and sadly it was no longed the family name) - kinda spooky and I still remember that dream and event to this day.

Totally agree with you r last comment I don't really miss any house just the people (my mum dad wee dog etc) that are no longer here and made the house a home (sentimental but very true) I also miss the feeling of freedom child hood gave us (well those of us blessed with kid parents and good friends)

Kid said...

I've had to resign myself to the fact that I must be slightly (?) odd, because sometimes I think I miss houses and places more than the people I associate them with, McS. That said, it's probably the case that a house or place is the most obvious symbol of past times, so that's what draws my attention to them. It's probably impossible to separate places and the people who lived there anyway, so I'm likely just talking my usual load of old pants. Can't help but wonder why your mind was on your old pal Alan, almost like it was a premonition of some kind, especially as you ended up outside his old house. Did you ever see him again years later, or find out if he was still alive?

That was a good wee reminiscence - you should think about doing posts like that on your blog.

McSCOTTY said...

I think my mum and myself were talking about a neighbour from that time / area around the time of my "dream" so maybe that subconsciously triggered my memory of my old pal. I heard he was still alive around 1988/ 1990 as I was on "Friends Reunited" (before it went to the dogs) and had been contacted a few old school pals that knew me back then via the old Schools pages and someone mentioned he lived in Glasgow and was married etc but that was all anyone knew. I h have never seen him in nearly 50 years (hardly seen any old pals from my primary school days in that time either) I might pop a wee blog like that on my blog , I have a few ideas when I get the time Kid.

Kid said...

Ah, that explains it then. The power of the subconscious, eh? I wonder if that would explain my dreams of torrid nights of passion with Salma Hayek, Valerie Perez, Paige Spiranac, and Sybil Danning. Not all at the one time of course, because I'm not a greedy lad.

Looking forward to future posts.

Colin Jones said...

I too have used Google Street View to look at the house in which I grew up, the house in which my parents lived from 1968 until their deaths in 1999 and 2009. Tomorrow (June 1st) is exactly 12 years since I left that house for the last time and it was quite an emotional moment I must admit.

I recently came across a quote which is apparently from Dr. Seuss, the famous children's author:

"Don't cry that it's over - smile that it happened".

Kid said...

That's a good quote and eminently sensible, CJ. However, I prefer to do both - smile that it happened, and also cry that it's over. It's funny, but 12 years ago seems like only last month to me. Where did all the time go? (Dr. Who stole it.)

Colin Jones said...

On the subject of 12th anniversaries, Kid, did you watch the episode of Blue Peter on BBC Four on Sunday night? They were celebrating Petra's 12th birthday with a special doggy birthday cake and lots of home-made cards sent in by viewers. I remember Petra and Shep very well but I didn't remember Jason the cat at all!

I know exactly what I was doing on the day before that episode of Blue Peter was broadcast. On Sunday November 3rd 1974 the 4th episode of the POTA TV series, called "The Good Seeds", was due to start at 7:25 pm but around 3pm there was a power cut which could last for hours in those days so I was desperately hoping the electricity would come back on before POTA started - thankfully it did.

Kid said...

I never got to see it, CJ, so I intend to watch it on BBC iplayer if I get the chance. I've got three videos from years ago of The Best Of Blue Peter (the first was '60s, second '70s, third '80s), so they may well have the clips you speak of.

As you know, we never got POTA in Scotland back then (and I don't know if it's been shown since) so I've never seen an episode of the TV show. Got all the original movies though. However, I did have all the POTA comics at the time.

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