A Neighbourhood To Call My Own…

Nostalgia is a funny thing – it’s always there, and so much seems better than it really was, in memory, but when you actually sit down and examine in it, suddenly it’s not so rosy. Like watching that old television show you remember as a kid, it might have seemed fantastic, amazing plots, brilliant characters – but in the light of day it was actually pretty shit. Of course, this is not always the case, and when it is not, it is a wonderful thing.

Right now, I am watching Magnum P.I., which let’s face it, is crass populist television, but at its best. I remember watching this show as a kid, and I’ve got to admit the Ferrari helped (I loved cars as a kid, mechanics son and all that), but even now it seems quite fun. It has aged better than say Knightrider.

That is not the reason for this post however, I am sure I could fire up a poem – but I ended up watching it after flicking through the channels in the mood for something nostalgic. It all started with an email, from Yahoo, they are closing down Geocities, and it was their umpteenth reminder that I should go and download my website there, or transfer it to their paid for hosting service.

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Primrose Valley, Leeds – My Childhood Playground

I’ve just been on a glorious walk, went on to Primrose Valley in Leeds. Ever since I was a child, it’s been a magical place. Even now, despite the efforts of the council to tame it – it’s still magical.

That said, I was puzzled to find: Primrose Valley with Bailey May 09 00040.jpg

Now, I’ve lived in this area (on one side of Primrose Valley or t’other), for about twenty years. In all that time there were rumours about the council wanting to build houses on there, however there has always been strong local opposition to this.

The council went as far as to stop maintaining it (or so it seemed, I’m sure they would say otherwise).

So when I saw that sign, what first came to mind was bulldozers raking over my childhood memories, memories of football, rugby, laser tag, even school (I went to Crossgates Primary School – for my sins), and other childhood hi jinx. It’s a terrifying thought.

You may be asking what’s this got to do with poetry, or literature, technically it doesn’t much. It’s one of the places I used to write though,  and a place I’ve written about plenty of times. It’s somewhere special to me. I’m going to re-post one of those special stories at the end of this post.

Anyway, back to the point (yes I digressed, and that’s the subject of my latest poem), it turns out, I don’t need to be worried.  I put on my detective’s hat, and tracked down what was going on – despite English Partnerships being co-opted by Homes & Communities Agency, they appear to planning some kind of restoration and care work on the fields. Okay, yes I spent about three hours working all this out, but most of the documentation is from 2006, it’s just taken that long for bureaucracy to kick in and do something.

There’s very little on the Leeds City Council website about it – but I guess it’s been so long since it was announced it’s just slipped well down the relevant  results.

It makes me happy that it’s safe, makes me happy that one of my childhood memories remains intact, even as others vanish and warp out of recognition.

I mentioned before that I have an idea for a new poem – I’m going to be writing it there, in good old fashioned ink and paper. Though, as a matter of respect  for the maintenance and improvement of my beloved valley, I’m going to obey that sign (if I’d found out  that they building on there, I would have happily risked being arrested in protest).

If you’d like to see some more photo’s of my walk out across Primrose Valley, follow this link to more, including Bailey, our three year Yorkshire Terrier, oh and me (I’m the one with the ginger goatee, and bandana on – he’s the silver haired little dog, trust me)  – Primrose valley with Bailey – May 09

Anyway, as promised here’s one of my old stories, written back in December 2003 (I’d like to think I’ve improved as a writer since then – however it’s a story that means something, so I don’t mind exposing it):

Oh and I won’t bore you with the real history of Primrose Valley just yet – I’ll save that for another time.

A Journey into an Old Land

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