Thursday, August 10, 2006


At a party last night I got talking to Elizabeth, who I have known for a number of years but never really chatted to in any depth about our pasts or families. It turned out, due to a misunderstanding about fourteen years ago, she had thought I was a Scouser not a Brummie.

Those who have heard me speak will know that I have a sort of accentless, adenoidal drawl which isn't easily placeable.

So when we got on to Birmingham she said what part and I said Selly Oak and when she said where I said Selly Park and when she said where I said Oakfield Road and it turns out that just before leaving home to get married Elizabeth's parents bought a house in Oakfield Road and she lived there for six weeks.

Not just any house. It was 128. The house opposite 107, the house I grew up in. Her folks bought the house off the Seers family, whose children Helen and James were the same age as my sister and I and in the garden of which we spent almost all the summer holidays from about 1962-1968 until they moved away. I probably spent longer in that garden than Elizabeth ever did.

We shared our knowledge of the neighbourhood, the neighbours and memories (mine childish; hers a little more mature).

The even numbered houses had one great feature - they backed onto a stream called the Bourn Brook, big enough to paddle in but too insignificant to drown in. Hard to believe that within three miles of Brum City centre a Famous five-esque childhood playing in trees and streams took place but there you go.

The turbulent rapids of those memories are pounding through the minimal gaps in my busy brain now. Strange place to fish.

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