Writing 101: Day 11: Where did you live when you were twelve years old?


(Twist: Write about this topic using a mixture of sentence structures.  The beginning of this post contains some of the same material I wrote for the one on childhood food last week.)

I spent most of my childhood in a three bed semi-detached house next door to my maternal grandparents.  It was the first and last house my parents ever bought, and when we moved in in 1981 I instantly fell in love with the large garden that surrounded it.  A Sycamore at the front showered the grass below in helicopters every spring, while a Weeping Willow at the side of the house provided shade on sunny days.  I would often hide in between the Laurel bushes and eavesdrop on people’s conversations on the other side of the fence, and played with the ‘money’ picked from Honesty plants. I also loved going down to my dad’s huge shed at the bottom of the back garden to indulge a fondness for the smell of wood; I was allowed to saw some in half, although it took me quite a while, by which time I’d got bored and therefore never actually made anything.  Which come to think of it, I don’t remember dad making much either, except a rather wobbly bench that was supposed to have been a table.

My mum was a keen gardener and every spring and summer the garden was full of colour.  That was until dad came home one day with Lucifer.  Not the much feared lord of the underworld, but an extremely lively Doberman who he’d bought, probably from a man down the pub, and had already been given his ill-suited name by his previous owner.  Ill-suited because he was a complete softie, more fond of running around in circles, digging up mum’s plants and drinking cups of tea on cold winter mornings than frightening off potential burglars, which is what dad had intended him to do.

The house itself was heated by two wood-burners, which my mum still laments the loss of, and had a dark wood fitted kitchen, which she doesn’t.  The living room had a large, brown corner sofa and doors onto the patio, which dad had made with my help mixing cement.  My bedroom was at the back of the house, with a view over dense woodland and another housing estate beyond.  The fitted wardrobes in my bedroom were one of my favourite places to be; although not inside them but on top.  They were next to the window, as was my bed, from which I would climb onto the window sill, open the shelved part of the wardrobes and use them as a ladder up to my lofty perch.  I’m not quite sure why I did it, maybe I preferred the view from up there but mum was always furious if she ever caught me.  They probably weren’t that strong and I could have slipped while climbing up and gone through the window.

Aside from having a desire to climb things (I climbed trees too), I spent most of the time playing on my own until my brother was born when I was eight.  Once he was old enough, he became the willing participant in what is still my favourite hobby, photography, and played up to my camera at every opportunity.

By the time I turned twelve dad’s work as a roof-tiller had started to dry up, due to the slow-down in the housing market, and eventually the bank repossessed the house and we rented a small bungalow, which took quite some getting used to after all the space I’d been used to for so many years.  My new bedroom was much smaller and the view was of a hedge in the tiny front garden. My brother had the large back bedroom, which looked out onto concrete instead of the flowers and grass we’d had, while our parents slept in the living room on a mattress they’d lean against the wall during the day.

I missed our old home dreadfully, but the same thing happened to many other families too, and still does, of course.  The main thing was that we had a roof over our heads, and we had each other; oh, and Lucifer.



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