The area of Lancaster that we live in is not the poshest! Well, the street I live on now is a bit more posh than those I've lived on in the past, but it's still on the scummy side of the river :D But I'm proud of where I come from, very proud. I was driving around some of the little terraced streets while I was waiting for the chemist to open, and I have such fond memories of growing up there, of noticing all of the cracks in the paving stones on Gardner Road, of playing with friends on Broadway and Pinfold Lane and Norfolk Street, of belonging to a little community of people that squash themselves and their families into those beautiful tiny terraces with their postage stamp back yards. It was nine o'clock in the morning when I was there today, and the mums were all on their way back from dropping the older kids off at school. All of the mums had prams and there were lots of little children playing dangerously close to the roads, but always still having enough road sense to not to step off the curb. I can remember being one of those kids, though I didn't go near the road and stayed by my mums legs, and listened to her chatting to the neighbours, taking it all in and learning about people. All of this morning's mums were shouting at their kids, and they were all shouting to each other across the roads, and they were all looking absolutely perfect in their Ugg boots and their skinny jeans and pushing their Quinny Buzz 3-Wheelers. And it all just made me smile. The trappings change, but the people do not. There was bright sunshine, and everyone looked happy, everyone was smiling and the scummy bit of Lancaster was up and about, alive and loud.
Before we bought this house I had put in an offer by myself for a house on Gardner Road - you know, in the days when first time buyers could just buy a house without making themselves bankrupt - and was very excited about the idea of returning to where my parents had started out, where I had spent the first eight years of my little life. I had little dreams of decorating the two-up-two-down exactly how I wanted it, of having my own huge space, which was very tiny really, but still enormous to me who had been living in a box room with only enough space on my bed to lie curled up in a ball! In the end Kev decided he'd quite like to get on the property ladder too, so we bought this big house together instead. But I have always felt that I missed an opportunity in not living on Gardner Road for a little while - an opportunity to feel like part of a little community, to make some extra friends, and to have a place that was absolutely my own and not shared with anyone else (and not to mention making a small fortune on the house, as prices rocketed soon after we became home owners!). Those little streets with their ginnels and wonky paving, stone front doorsteps scrubbed clean (as they used to be, perhaps not so much now!) and their back yards remind me of The Family From One End Street, and Cider with Rosie a bit too.
It's good to be alive, even when life's getting too busy and too hard. If we can just get to a place where we can think clearly and slow down and find a smile everything is easier - even if that place is only in our mind. I'm glad I can make myself find something good in every day - even if it takes a bit of searching sometimes :)