Sunday, 11 January 2015

Leicester Born and Bred...

...but what if...

Me and the Clock Tower (in the photo on the right) have lived in Leicester for ever but I never planned it that way - I'm talking about me now, not the Clock Tower! I had once, in my teenage years, been on the verge of planning to go to Israel. I had booked myself onto a course to learn the language and the way of life on a 1960s Kibbutz. (They call them Aliyah Courses and they are still available today.) The timing of that course was crucial. I met the boy who was to become my first husband the week before and I cancelled the booking but what if...

I often wonder what it's like to live in another city or even another country. What's it like to make new contacts? I have known many of my Leicester friends since I was a baby and that's lovely but I sometimes wonder what it would be like to discover new shops, to find new places to visit, to learn about a new environment. I suppose I'll never know.

Every route I take through the City brings back a memory. I pass the street where I lived as a child, my old school, the garage where I bought my first car, the petrol station where I accidentally demolished the kiosk when I tried to put petrol into that first car, the spot in town where once a huge clock hung and where I met my first date, the house where my children grew up and where neighbours became dear friends, the University where I trained to be a teacher, the Adult Education Centre where I first learnt about creative writing. The list is endless and, whether I like it or not, these memory trips have become daily experiences for me.

I suspect that it's too late to move on now and so I shall try not to feel regret for those life experiences that might have been, but even so I can't help wondering what if...

16 comments:

  1. Never too late, Ros, if it's really what you want to do. New places are exciting, and alarming, and challenging - it that doesn't grab you then you're best staying where you know you are happy. Me ... I see the world differently!

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    1. You certainly do see the world differently, Jo, because your passion is travel which isn't the same as relocating. Of course, there's also the issue of family to consider and it doesn't help that we are geographically central to all of them!

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  2. You'll never know, but it would make a good story! I reckon that if you had your life over again the same paths would be taken and the same mistakes would be made.

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    1. I suspect you're absolutely right. As for it making a good story, that's not a bad idea. Exploring the issue in fiction could help to get it all off my chest.

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  3. Hi Ros - it's interesting how we reflect back on our lives ... in some ways I'd love to be in a similar situation to you 'at home' .. where you've always been. I've been lucky in many respects ... but at times I'd like the stability of some long roots ...

    But how interesting you were thinking of going off to Israel - travel wasn't on my cards ... but I dealt those visits .. thinking if others can I can ... but roughing it never really hooked me!

    Enjoy Leicester - after all you've travelled back over six hundred years recently - I'd call that travelling! Cheers Hilary

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    1. It's also interesting how other people's ways appear to be so much more attractive than our own - 'grass is always greener' syndrome, I suspect. I love the thought that I've travelled over 600 years. No wonder I feel so tired!!

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  4. It's odd to read this, because the first 'new' place I remember moving to was Leicester! (I've lived in 12 different towns and about 20 different homes. My first move was when I was a babe in arms so I don't remember it, but I left for Leicester Polytechnic after A levels.) At the time it seemed like an adventure. There were new places to visit and things to see and pubs to find and friends to make. I particularly remember (for your benefit) tracking down Silver Street with all its little boutiques and weird shops. We had nothing like them at home. And Leicester market amazed me (still does!) with its variety of stalls and exotic foods.

    I'd never been in a multicultural town before. I think I'd never seen more than a couple of black people in my life and suddenly there was a significant portion of non-wasp population and I had no idea how I was supposed to behave. My parents were deeply racist and I'd been brought up with a suspicion of anyone who wasn't like me. Suddenly I was mixing with people who didn't fit the 'pattern' I'd been taught. It was a steep learning curve. It was also very frightening. I'd not thought about that for a long time.

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    1. How fascinating to look at Leicester through your eyes, Anne. Silver Street is still fascinating and as for the market, my parents had a stall there and so I spent a lot of my childhood watching people on Leicester market.

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  5. The past has helped to make us what we are today.I felt that there was a lot of sadness and regret in your blog today.Please do not be sad.We are who we are and learn from our mistakes and the paths we chose.I am reminded of the song "Back down memory lane" by Minnie Riperton.Petra.

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    1. Thank you, Petra. I have to admit that it was written in a rather dour, early Sunday morning, mood. You're quite right. We are who we are as a result of the paths we choose.

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  6. There's a lot to be said for having life-long roots in a single location. It gives you a deep sense of belonging history, and grounding. But that doesn't mean you can't have wings, too. Jo is right. It's never too late for you to travel.

    Happy New Year!

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    1. Thanks, Susan, that's true but there is a world of difference between travelling and relocating.

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    2. Yeah... with travel, you get the best of both worlds! You get to keep the security of your home base, while exploring other places for the sheer joy of it.

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  7. As you know Ros, I retired and returned home to Leicester 12 years ago, having lived in Israel, London. Bath and Nottingham. As exciting as it is to see new places and have new experiences, the hardest thing for me was always arriving somewhere new not knowing anyone. You do eventually make new friends, but then, when you move on, it is hard to keep up the connections with more than a few of them.

    Since coming back to Leicester I have made close friendships that I know will last me for the rest of my life and that is something I have never known before. I think people are more important than places. You can learn about new places from books, films etc, but you can only really get to know people by long association with them. Don't knock your life spent here. There are many aspects of it that I envy.
    Judy

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    1. Thank you for that, Judy. I do appreciate what you say and would truly miss your friendship if ever we did relocate but I can't help having the occasional 'what if' thoughts. It's a whole wealth of experiences that I've never known.

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  8. As someone who moved 1500 miles at age 21 from PA to TX, it's been good. But now that I"m much older, I yearn to live closer so I could see my father and siblings more, etc. But in this day and age, it only takes money to hop a plane or train or bus to get somewhere else. So you can enjoy your roots, and then branch out too. I believe in fate - there's a reason you were meant to stay in Leicester - like writing your book on King Richard III and having his bones show up there.

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