The house that we moved to when I was about 6 was where I spent what was the happiest part of my childhood. Looking at it now brings back so many memories. The street has hardly changed, apart from some general cosmetic alterations to some of the houses. It was located in an area of town, which is now a designated conservation area. Even when I was a kid, it had delusions of grandeur, being part of what was known as Oxton Village.
It was a great place to grow up. 5 minutes from my local school, where I met my very first “girlfriend”. We were practically inseparable until we were 11 and she went on to the local grammar school and I to the secondary modern. It was also close to the local children's hospital where, at the age of 8, I spent what seemed like 2 years with rheumatic fever, but in actual fact was probably only about 6 months (this is something I failed to mention at my medical years later, when I joined the army).
I also got my first dog about this time. His name was Toby and he was a smooth-haired fox terrier. Talk about “a boy and his dog”, he hardly ever left my side (apart from the time he disappeared for 4 days and had the whole neighborhood out looking for him). His party piece was, if he saw you in the street, he would race up behind you and, depending on how he was feeling, would either run past you, undoing your shoelace as he went, or throw his body just behind your knees, bringing you to the ground with a thud. How I miss that dumb mutt!
At the end of the street was a large area of waste-ground. It was great for all kinds of games, and all the neighborhood kids gathered there. It was after one of these escapades that I almost gave my dad a heart attack. Whilst playing, I discovered a dummy hand grenade (probably used in an army exercise), which I proudly took home to show the folks. My dad took one look, grabbed it off me and ran up the road to throw it back to whence it came. I've never seen anyone move so fast!
We lived in that house for 6 glorious years and, if I had the opportunity (and the money) I would move back there tomorrow (despite what they say about never going back).
If I still have your interest, stay tuned for further adventures of a nomadic chidhood.