No Place Like It

Twenty two years ago today I moved into my current home in east Leeds, my relocation back to the north of England after nine years working in London. As I recall, a long hot day during which my young family experienced a multitude of emotions.

In an unintended homage to Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, my six year old son Jonny was happy, our toddler Rachel was sleepy and wife Karen (badly afflicted with hayfever) was sneezy. I continued the theme by being grumpy and our GP, who gave my missus treatment for hayfever, was doc…….. Bashful and Dopey worked for the removal company who transported our worldly goods up to Leeds.

Snow White didn’t travel with us, instead choosing to stay in the south of England to start a new life with a roofer from Flitwick.

At around 8am on that fateful day, we bode a sentimental goodbye to Bedfordshire, followed by a 150 mile drive north to the metropolis where my family roots have lain for the last two centuries.

Being born in West Yorkshire, raised 100 miles north in Gateshead, followed by residence in Bedfordshire, I think of that day in 1996 as an existential circling of the loop.

Although having good friends in the north east, a warm loving childhood and many fond memories, I’d always felt a draw to one day return to the area where I made my inaugural appearance in 1963. This came to pass on this date in 1996.

In what would be an amazing coincidence (if it was a coincidence) my son Jonny moves into his first house with his fiancée Jenny in a weeks time. A huge life event that’s recently led to an unhealthy number of phone calls to his mum on the subject of curtain material.

His mum, the organiser of the brood, is in her element bequeathing drapery advise, bestowing the merit’s of vertical blinds, along with advocating the cleaning versatility of soda crystals.

Her advice thus far has been invaluable. Without his mother’s verbal input he’d not have known to avoid securing curtain poles to the wall with Blu Tac; not to mention the prudence of measuring the window drop before ordering the drapes.

My role is to assist with some, as yet unspecified, decorating. My wife dodging the bullet with her far easier role of stating the bleeding obvious.

Why couldn’t Jonny have asked me for drapery advice and his mum to chuffing emulsion and gloss the chambers of his new home on the outskirts of York?……. I suspect his mum’s tendency to apply paint with a toothbrush, diminishing the overall quality of the finished task, may have some bearing on the decision.

That being said, my wife’s choice of toothbrush to apply paint, although idiosyncratic, pales into insignificance eccentricity wise compared to her use of a Harris 1/2″ paintbrush when cleaning her teeth.

I’m unsure if the missus deliberately employs these off the wall tactics to avoid being asked to partake in the more onerous chores. I’ll guarantee she’ll not forgo the opportunity to travel with me to casa Strachan-Cochrane next weekend.

I can picture Karen now, perching on a dust sheet covered seat as I emulsion the walls and ceiling. Watching my every brush stroke, pointing out any errors and making certain the Harris 1/2″ paintbrush I’m utilising isn’t the implement she cleans her teeth with.

These one score and two years in our modest three-bedroomed east Leeds home have been a roller-coaster ride. Great highs and extreme lows our existential companions for a predominant section of that time……. I will say though, there’s nowhere else I’d rather be.

house rules

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