Littleborough Memoirs

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A recollection of my childhood village as I pass through its streets. It brings back the joys, sorrows, and feelings of adventure that I had when I previously lived there, bringing into it the changes made over the years. It feels as though I am there in the past one minute, the next..now.

     The cold seeps through my trousers and blows up my coat as I emerge from the comfort of a warm cottage turning right up the hill. The smell of fire engines hit my nostrils, their sirens ringing in my ears when they emerge steamily from their hidden small bright red fronted station, with a rush of steamy air right up close to me.

     Slowly the sound of children playing and light traffic returns as I head onwards towards some dark trees covering a hidden walkway. I enter the ginnel, slowly descending the steps into an enclosure of which my perception varies every time I enter it. This time it feels eerie with its winter foliage and surrounding darkness lit with a yellow traditional light, contributing to my low mood from a childhood that is now gone as I recall the trauma of those days. I put it out of my mind coming back to the present once more.

     My eyes Ache from emerging into the light, although relief washes through me when turning into an open village street full of tiny various shops. Hidden in its depths is a park I played in as a child, with children playing smiling and energetically on its activities while parents watched with creased foreheads and tired bodies waiting. A library I knew from young also hides in the depths of the large beautiful park, but also enclosed over what used to be grass walkways is now another play area, made of recent years to accommodate the increased flux of children in the village. All is enclosed within a stonewalled entrance, which as a child I looked on the same, unchanged, with mystery and excitement, the sounds unheard from the trafficked street.

     I pass its gates with memories of my younger years in there, flashing through my mind bringing joy to a weary spirit. Baking aroma temptingly regales my nostrils, followed by the smell of blood as I pass the butchers, then the newsagents beckons with its billboard. I linger at the shops along the bustling street, tempted to buy some childhood recalled sweets from within while watching people scurrying along the street with children shouting and crying as they are gently pulled along the crowded street. Suddenly the bells of our village gently call the time from my old primary school’s church, round the corner. Heart sinking, I look to where the village square branches off towards the hills, then turn facing away from the square as I return along the longest road.

     Nothing seems to attract me along this road, as along its sides are only cottages, a few small shops which I do not remember as a child, and a police station which causes my pulse to race, as I recall the days I ran away from home  as a child. I gladly turn the corner.

     I ascend breathlessly our sleepy street, to view what was once the large field full of wild grass, trees and a dirty pond, enclosed by the three streets, now a small factory estate. I recall the days playing dens in the trees, making mud pies by the pond and examining with detail the plant life and hidden animals; while reflecting on our creator, protector with love and joy, and peace at being in that place. My soul lightens once more. Life does have its joys.

      I approach the rows of cottages edging the quiet street, feeling sweaty from exertion under my coat as I approach my cottage, my heart quickening with anticipation. I smell the aroma of this evening’s dinner through the open window, cooked by a hosting resident of today in which was once my home. I cheer to myself as I hungrily enter the heated room thinking of food and company, the heavy door swinging rapidly shut behind me.

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