The Big House.


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Although crowded in the small house, life seemed settled for a couple of years. Larry worked as an HGV driver and this would take him away for days at a time.

I went along to a local nursery, skipping along to it every day with the boy from next door, sometimes wheeling my little pink, moulded plastic pram or racing along on my tiny scooter. The nursery was in a grand, big old stone house with an enormous garden and I loved going there. All the children had their own peg to hang their coat and bags, and their own little towels. Above the peg would be a symbol, mine was a squirrel, and there would be the same corresponding symbol on your towel, your desk, your PE bag, even on the deck-chair type fold out beds and blankets which we were made to snuggle into every afternoon for one hour.

Just before I reached the age of five another house move was made. With the benefit of hindsight, I have realised that the move was one of necessity. Given the age of Sylvie’s youngest daughter and the time of moving into this house, Sylvie was obviously pregnant again. Already cramped in the tiny house, it wasn’t going to be able to accommodate another child.

Still too young to really understand, I vaguely recall standing in a big room in a house, it seemed dark with a very high ceiling and there was some rubbish on the floor, old screwed up newspapers and some rags. I also have a recollection of standing in the garden looking back at the house surrounded by weeds and grass as tall as I was then. I realise now that this must have been when we were taken to view the house. Soon a ‘mortgage’ of sorts was arranged with a local business man who owned the house. The move was made and this was to become our permanent home.

The house was on a main road, opposite a park and about half a mile from the previous one. It was a large bay fronted end terraced house with a long row of lock up garages along its side. It was built around late Victorian times and still had some original features such as marble fireplaces, Minton style tiles on the hall floor, deep skirting boards, cornicing and ceiling roses. There were two large reception rooms, the front one with an enormous bay window and both with ceilings fourteen feet high. There was another large room which initially was used as a dining room and a large stone kitchen with an enormous stone fireplace, sadly not useable. It still had its original large walk- in stone pantry and an outside loo. Upstairs we had the luxury of five bedrooms, two of them enormous, one double, a single and 1 tiny box room. There was a large bathroom with a toilet and another separate toilet right at the end of the long landing. There was a long garden that was overrun with weeds and grass but soon put into some order by Sylvie with the rest of us enlisted as an army of helpers.


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