Happy Blog Birthday

From the park
This was one of my favourite views back where I used to live in Manchester; and this photo of it was taken this time last year. Coming home through Chorlton Park, I would look through trees to little rows of little houses running down to allotments and the park.

For a few seconds home looked like part of somewhere greener, smaller, without the surrounding acres of buildings, cars and people.

More photos taken back in December 2012 are on the Facebook page.

Now home is marked by the church tower seen across flat fields, sometimes from miles away. It is very strange to read my first post, written one year ago today, written when we were making ready to move but had no idea what the new place would be like.

It was a planned move, a long-desired move, but a step into the unknown for all that.

I stepped into a new life and found myself at home.

Goodbye, at last, for real

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Goodbye to this street. Any minute now we will drive off – removal men gone already.

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And goodbye to the alley at the end of the street, and the allotments (not ours) that are like a secret garden on the other side of the alley, and the park a little way on. I love all this pedestrian space just seconds from the house; but I’m heading for more space, more light and air….

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Goodbye and thank you, very kind friends, for last minute help.

Goodbye park, goodbye street, goodbye rain.

Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye

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On people and places

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This avenue of trees in the park near our house makes me think of walking back from school with our daughter in autumn, very slowly while she looked for conkers among the fallen leaves. And even further back than that, of walking with our first dog, in the days when I didn’t know that I would have a daughter or that she would go to the school in the park.

In these last days of life in Manchester I wonder how I will feel about the place once I don’t live here any more. I’ve spent so many years grumbling, never quite felt at home or at ease. And yet, it is here that I have had most of my ‘grown-up’ life, here that I became a step-parent and a parent and came to terms, of some sort, with my own troubled childhood. I have found good friends here, got to know whole families, watched my friends’ children and my child’s friends grow into young adults (some now with children of their own).

I conjure up the places where I have walked, where I have eaten, bought food, watched plays or heard music; and I see and hear the people who have been there with me.

So I ponder this paradox: that I don’t love this city, find little beauty or joy in its many faces, and yet so many places in it remind me of love.

It’s been grim these past few days: partner really ill with flu, me with cold and the packing an impossible task. At last it’s nearly done, with help from two brilliant cleaning/decorating women. Tomorrow, come what may, it all goes into the removal van; the morning after that we leave.