Friday 28 March
It’s been about ten years since I last set foot in my old home town. Ten years since I saw my remaining friends here. Ten years since I wandered past the house I grew up in and chanced a peak over the garden fence. It was time to put that right.
Taking the bus from Leeds to Wetherby was insightful. A journey I used to know so well, I found much has changed. So too the little market town I used to call home. New things here, old things gone, some things that have stayed the same. Carrying a rucksack and booking into B&B accomodation, where usually I’d phone dad for a lift back up the road. Usually I’d munch a steaming plate of super noodles and eat an Oxo cube in front of Gamesmaster on a Monday night. I felt like a stranger in my home town.
As I stroll through the streets and alley ways I frequented in my youth, I hear the echos of the past. Conversations here, incidents there, a kiss, a fight, urinating in a bush, that first taste of booze. Hiding from mum on the walk from play group. Tomato soup and jumpers for goalposts. Trying to catch a peak at the first girl to get breasts changing in her bedroom. Times I’d laughed and cried. A solo trip down memory lane revisiting things only I know. Personal experiences and an angle on the past that nobody else could share. Days I’ll never see again.
Meeting old friends in old haunts and I’m glad to see that somethings never change; they’re still a bunch of wankers. Apart from the usual suspects, there isn’t a face I recognise. It’s as if the whole town has changed hands. Such safety in the familiar has gone. We’ve passed on the mantle to another generation. A generation that prefers partying in Leeds or Harrogate to getting hammered on ten quid on a Friday night and still having enough for fish and chips on the walk home. Times have changed in very sense of the words. Mates have lost their hair, some have kids, some have managed to steal a BMW, while others are still shit at pool.
There is a certain comfort I take in walking the streets my parents walked as somehow a return here brings me closer to them. I wonder what my dad would have thought of the total reconstruction of Wetherby Methodist Church, a centre of worship so dear to his (and our) heart(s). I wish they were here to see it. Something makes me wish we’d never left.
But such is the way of the world, and time and tide wait for no man. Once again I buy that one-way ticket out, and leave 19 years behind me. I think it’s going to be a very long time before I’m back here again; but when I do, someone will be at my side.