Tuesday, 21 March 2017

A House

(This isn't my house; it's one of Seven Answers).

When I was six, our family moved [...] to the Kent countryside on a brand new housing estate.  For the first time we had a garden although as the house was new it was mainly full of builders' rubble apart from a couple of apple trees, one of which was easily climbable.  At the end of the garden was a railway line that provided a regular backdrop of noisy trains but none of us cared; we were in a house, not a flat, and I could go to a school without constant playground scraps.  The house was a three bedroom semi-detached and my uncle, aunt and grandmother had moved into the attached property.

I shared a bedroom with one of my brothers, we had bunk beds and I had the top bunk.  Dad built some units which incorporated a desk and I remember feeling really grown up as I sat there playing Spirograph.  Our curtains were a pattern of old infantry soldiers and at night they looked a little spooky.  I was scared of the dark then and would lie in bed trying not to breathe in case someone or something would discover me.  My bunk bed became my safe house where I couldn't be touched.

Whilst Dad set about laying lawn and flower beds, my brother and I would play amongst the half-finished houses at the end of the estate, running in and out pretending to shoot each other.  We would pick up any junk left by builders that resembled a weapon and on one occasion managed to procure a new pick axe handle for Dad.  As more families moved in, our circle of friends grew ever larger and before long we were playing cricket in the street, breaking a few windows in the process, and organising marathon bike tournaments around the crescent.  Some of us even rode around hands-free, frequently coming off and grazing exposed body parts.

There seemed to always be people coming in the back door which was invariably open, our friends as well as neighbours that my parents had got to know.  One couple had a garage stuffed full with chocolate bars and biscuits.  He was a sales rep for Nestle and would often let us go into the garage and choose what we liked, our very own Willy Wonker!

After we'd been there for a couple of years there was a really bad flood that came up to the ground floor windows of most of the houses although it only managed to lap at our doorstep as our end of the estate was on a slight incline - I remember wading to school with my uniform in a plastic bag!

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