Wednesday, July 08, 2009
Helsby Hill at Easter (photograph by Phil Mann)
One of my blogfriends wrote about her village in a recent post (Mrs Nesbitt)and it got me thinking about the place I live, which is Helsby!
I haven't always lived here. Phil and I moved to Helsby 21 years ago when we got married. Previously we'd lived in neighbouring "villages" on the Wirral. I use the term villages loosely here, as some parts of the Wirral are now so built up that villages and towns run into one another with little to define them unless you look hard.
We chose Helsby because it was around half-way between our respective places of employmeny; Phil works in Wythenshawe and I work for Wirral Borough Council. Phil and I are both either exceedingly loyal and dedicated employees as we have stayed working for the SAME employers since leaving Uni or (more likely!) we are too lacking in courage/enterprise/confidence/talent etc to try working for anyone else :) Well, I did actually apply to Cheshire Council twice for jobs and they rejected me both times! Fortunately, I love my job (most of the time) and am reasonably happy working for WBC.
I remember very clearly the day we spent house-hunting in the area; we looked at a modern house in Frodsham (nice but backing on the railway and with a chocolate brown bathroom suite!) and our current home in Helsby. Our house is nothing unusual (a 1950s semi in a quiet cul-de-sac) but as soon as I went inside it I loved it and that feeling has never changed. The day we heard it was ours was one of the happiest of my life. I used to make Phil drive me past it in the dark before we moved in so I could visit it! I remember when we took possession, how huge and empty it seems and how little furniture we had, mostly handmedowns from other people. For quite some time our dining room contained a small fridge freezer and nothing else!
Our sitting room had brown velvet curtains, a brown carpet and a brown suite formerly belonging to Phil's parents. I am not a lover of brown in that quantity. But carpet, curtains and suite were all good quality and we had no money to replace them. We changed the curtains when Kate was born, bought a new suite when Sian was born and eventually replaced the carpet too!
Now the empty spaces are full of "stuff" and with two teenagers and two adults it no longer feels large. We have built an extra bedroom/shower room in the loft and redone kitchen and bathroom but we are still here. We've thought of moving, looked at other houses, but basically we are content here. We like the road, the neighbours, the village. We are withing walking distance of schools and shops and friends' homes.
Helsby has changed over the years; lots of new houses and a Tesco supermarket which I have a love/hate relationship with!At the moment it has two pubs boarded up which is somehow sad....I've lived here longer than anywhere else and I love it. I love going out for a walk and always seeing someone I know. I like going to village events like last night's fashion show at the Ex-serviceman's club. I like the fact it is right on the edge of beautiful countryside and also close to the motorway so the Lakes, Wales, Yorkshire etc are not far away. We can get to Chester, Liverpool and Manchester easily.
Helsby isn't pretty or especially interesting; but it's HOME.