We took the kids to see where we used to live yesterday.
Mr A and I first moved in together in Brighton. We bumped into each other in our home town Macclesfield in Cheshire, when I had just left Uni. We spent a year taking it in turns to visit London and Macclesfield at weekends, then a year travelling across London at weekends while I did my PGCE at Goldsmiths.
Then we both managed to get jobs in Brighton and Sussex. I had fallen in love with Brighton as a student, working as a chambermaid for a summer in the Grand Hotel with my friend J from Uni.
Mr A found an amazing sea front flat in Hove. It was the best start to our time living together. We cooked Jamie Oliver recipes in the tiny galley kitchen. Held random parties and wine tastings in the huge living room with bay windows overlooking the sea. We chased a seagull out of the office we shared and grew geraniums on its tiny balcony.
We only had a short time in Hove, we came down for a good friend’s 40th. But the kids were keen to see the sea…
It’s always a bit strange returning somewhere full of ghosts of your younger self. But we took a few minutes to reflect on how far we have come and how happy we are still.
We let the wind whip our hair…
We walked off into the sunset, towards our old flat.
He used to hold my hand along the promenade, but I loved seeing this.
I was busy holding hands with my boy and trying to explain how me and his Daddy and Gran and Grandad had once managed to do a tour of West Pier.
There’s not much left of it now, so he was fascinated by my stories of donning hard hats, picking our way through headless pigeons dropped by pereguine falcons who lived and dived from the tall tower blocks opposite, and walking into the creepy and abandoned old theatre at the end of the pier.
‘But where did it go?’ he kept asking, his Scooby Doo mind going into overdrive.
Going back to places I have been with Mum is always hard, little memories, that seemed inconsequential at the time pop up and are clung too, now she is not here.
I remember her listening as I worried about my first teaching post, stressed about my impossible to please head of department, but also shared my achievements. I remember her proudly taking pictures of our flat and posting them to me, I miss her letters.
We took another one yesterday, wish I could post it.
That tallest bit of scaffolding in the background between us, level with the top right corner of that car, well that’s our old flat.
Too fleeting a visit and many people I would have liked to have seen. But a magical trip down memory lane.
Of course when you have lived somewhere so special it is a little hard when you come back and much as I have tried to settle in Nottingham, I really miss the sea, amazing veggie food, culture, creativity and openness. There was much talk again about whether we are living in the right place now. That debate has been going on for years….