Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Goodbye Childhood Home (the conclusion)

Well, bye then.
This weekend was the last spent in my Childhood Home, whose impending decline was where Kate in the Countryside started last year.

When I was last at home, Dogface was doing his best to be as disconcertingly unfriendly and yappy as possible towards the couple who have bought the house, the Childhood Home Usurpers. This culminated in a notable incident where he tactically crapped in their path and fled. How things have changed. Now, when the CHU turn up (enthusiastic dog-owners themselves), treacherous Dogface starts gambolling about with enthusiasm and delight. They've even been taking him for walks apparently....

At least Childhood Home itself is not so fickle. Strapped for storage space, the CHU asked if they could keep some of their stuff in our - now empty - garage. MD agreed. Clearly unenthused, the garage retaliated in triumphant style when its roof collapsed on the boxes, moments after the CHU had moved in their things.

'Well that's never happened before,' I observed nonchalantly, brushing dust off them.

And packing is dull. The Cupboard of Terror on the top floor of the house in particular took an astonishing amount of time. I was told to extract the things I wanted from within the cavernous pit. Sifting through my childhood hoardings elicited many treasures, including: a small novelty tennis racquet wrapped in a golden cape, seven fake witches nails, half a Polly Pocket (blue), a locked briefcase with an unopenable combination and - bafflingly - three standard pound coins, stuck together to form a small tower.

Even as I boxed these items on a sunny Sunday (in the box marked 'Very Special Things': don't worry - they've been saved) with MD next door to protect me, the Cupboard of Terror seemed as terrible as ever.

Even the door I'd been sure to prop firmly open left me with no certainty that I was safe. Might it not spring shut and lock me in - as it had on that day sixteen years ago when three pals and I had thought it the perfect hiding spot? Sadly the adults (from whom we hid) didn't realise the game. They were not even looking for us and, once locked, the CoT was unopenable from within. That the four of us are still here today is a miracle of initiative and DIY.

Elsewhere, mouldy accessories from the hotel I once started in my bedroom (I was the Manager. Hapless friends were deemed 'Bellboy' or, if they were very lucky, 'Waitress'), fell stickily down from various crannies. Dogface munched the small soaps and flannels as snacks.

Later, we had an impromptu drinks party to say goodbye to the place, where MD's friends asked me whether I was sad to be leaving until I was. Then Dogface and I ran about in the garden one last time and MD drove me back to the station. 

Every memory I have from home seems to have happened in lovely sunlight or snow. To me, the mental image I have of CH looks like a Cambridge University Prospectus drawn by the Wizard of Oz.
If you remember anything from Lorne House that you want to leave at the bottom here that would be tremendous. Thanks chaps.

Next episode: The Women's Institute


  1. at least in the wizard of oz the dog had a proper name.

  2. I'll miss that place... weirdly I remember the random hook that was placed on top of one of the beams on the top floor. Was this for when Howard was hanging upside down doing his bat impression?

  3. Oh no!! I have lots of happy memories of Lorne House, mostly involving jumping around on your trampoline in culottes and eating tuna pasta in your garden.