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Saturday, 23 April 2011

Happiness, thy name is Appleton

And so we reach that point in my childhood where the memories become much more vivid, and indeed more numerous. Also, in what I'm sure will come as a surprise to anyone who's read more than a couple of my entries on here, much happier.

That's not to say that the misery is over, of course. My Mother was still on the slippery slope to alcoholism, my Father was still conspicuous by his absence, Maurice and his punch happy ways was a regular presence, money was extremely tight (although never so tight as to preclude the purchasing of copious amounts of alcohol and cigarettes) and one of the darker moments in my Sisters life wasn't far away. (I may or may not discuss that one at a later date. No problem airing my own stuff but that one, for all that it affected us all, was mainly her problem to deal with.)

For all of that though, the next few years were going to be the happiest of my young life. You see, for all the bad shit that was going on, it was balanced by the good. And a lot of that good was entirely down to moving into that new house.

It was a council house like any other. It was small and not particularly grand and it was slap in the middle of a grotty estate filled with yobs and druggies. It was also in one of the friendliest streets I've ever lived on.

The street in question was called Appleton Crescent. I'll never forget it. It was a dead end, which meant that if you didn't live in it, you had no reason to enter it. This, coupled with the fact that some divine intervention meant that this street, and this street alone, wasn't used as a dumping ground for the worst of the worst by the Council(my family, arguably, being the exception), meant that it became it's own little world, cut off from the rest of the Estate. Friendly people, who all got along, not troubled by anything beyond their own little bubble. You remember the old titles on Neighbours, where all of the residents descended on the street and had a massive game of cricket? That was us. A truer sense of community I've never known.

I made proper hardcore friends, had an awesome leisure centre on the doorstep (we could never afford to actually go in but it had a play area and was set into a wood, which provided hours of - quite dangerous - fun) and best of all, there was the wasteground. A massive great chunk of land that had once housed ,well, houses. A little terrace of three still stood, slap in the middle of it, we could never figure out why they were allowed to stand when all around them had been pulled down, but other than those a huge swathe had been cut by the Council, seemingly to no end because we were told it had stood empty for years and it would stand empty for several more before anything was done (and didn't it break our hearts when that day came, though we made them work for it).

So, if anyone is still reading this blog, you can rest assured that it won't all be unremitting misery any longer. I have happy stories too. Although come to think of it, a lot of my happy memories also contain random acts of violence and copious amounts of petty crime, so don't be expecting Little House On The Prairie.

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