I borrowed the van after work on Saturday morning and drove up to Glossop to visit, for the last time, the house I grew up in. It has been on the market for a while and a sale has now been agreed, so my mother asked if I wanted any of the furniture.
When I arrived my sister was already there and talking over the garden fence with the next door neighbour by the stream. An appropriate place to start the visit, I have so many memories of playing in that old farm trough. Building dams across the top of the chute so the water would flow through the adjacent flower bed, losing Matchbox toys in the mud, watching frogspawn hatch and feeding the tadpoles with raw bacon.
It’s dried up now, having stopped flowing several years ago when one of the farmers higher up the hillside diverted the field drain that carried the stream.
In what used to be my bedroom there is a shelf along one wall, all that remains of an N gauge railway layout that ran three quarters of the way round the room with a gracefully arched viaduct across the window.
It’s well over thirty years since I built that model railway and I still have the trains that ran on it, but they are used on a much smaller layout now.
The view out of the window has not changed much. The trees on the railway banking have grown so it’s not so easy to watch the trains passing on the Glossop branch. Beyond those trees there’s some new industrial development around the football ground and Tesco now stands on what used to be the corporation tip (hardly an improvement, but there you go). The rest of the town and the hills around it still look pretty much as they were when I was at school… Apart from that big chimney, which went up when I was working as a relief clerk at Guide Bridge and is still standing long after the factory it towered over has been demolished.*
It was living in this house, located right next to the railway line, that nurtured my interested in trains. The lane in front of the house crosses the line on a bridge. I spent much of my childhood playing on and around that bridge. Even under it at times, putting pennies on the line so that passing trains would squash them. I climbed on top of the parapet once and looked down the chimney of a goods train as it steamed underneath. Not the kind of thing you would want to do again. To be honest it’s not the kind of thing most people would want to do at all but I was only five or six years old and it seemed like a good idea at the time.
Since Dad passed away in 2010 the house has been let out as a holiday home but Mum has finally decided to sell because it was getting too time consuming for her and my sister to maintain. So I’m both sad and at the same glad to see it go. At least we can still hang on to memories of the past. Happy memories.