So I’m back at work; please may I have a second weekend to get over the first one..?
It was lovely to see Mum and Dad, to see Chorley and the ‘Ole Homestead, but this weekend was by no means a relaxing diversion.
It started with a wrong turn… I came off the train in Wigan, running a little late but filled with a willingness to live up to my stated plan and ride home, and it was all going terribly well, until I got lost in Wigan. In the end I did about an extra 4 or five miles (I’m not sure exactly how much more I did), so that by the time I finally arrived home at around 2300h I was tired and annoyed. Also, before I attempt to ride from Wigan to Chorley in the dark again, I need to buy some lights that are actually good at lighting my way, rather than just making my presence felt as a road-user. The lights that I have at the moment are definitely not designed for unlit streets.
Saturday morning saw an early start, a quick breakfast and then the task of rationalising my belongings began. There is no delicate way to put this; I __had__ a lot of shit in my room at Mum and Dad’s… Old magazines (I kept a couple of “important” ones), course notes from my A-Levels and Uni courses, and a metric-fuck-tonne of VHS tapes. We hope that the local charity shops will take the commercial / pre-recorded VHS, but all my “home-made” tapes went in the recycling at the municipal refuse / recycling centre; well all of them apart from my recordings of “Karaoke” and “Cold Lazarus”, Dennis Potter’s last works, which were produced jointly by the BBC and Channel 4 in the early 90’s, as I don’t think that I can replace them with a “bought” version. Anyway, by the time we went out riding (bikes) with Carey, a serious start had been made and a large pile of stuff to take to the tip had developed.
The bike ride was lovely – we did 16.25 miles through the Lancashire countryside, mostly down quiet lanes, and it only felt like about 10! At the very end we stopped in Astley Park (which is very near to my parents’ home) and visited the new tea shop there, which has gone considerably more up-market than the one I remembered!
Post-ride there was more sorting, discarding and general reminiscing, until we called it a day to have dinner and spend some time just sitting about, chatting and wotnot.
Sunday morning was more of the same, though kippers fro breakfast made for a bit of an ‘event feel’ to the morning. By the time 1500h rolled around we had got to the point where my entire bedroom was sorted and all of the stuff therein was neatly organised into areas of the room so that once the sale goes through they can box my stuff for move / storage / whatever without any confusion if I can’t make it up to Chorley. Dad and I made a couple more trips to the refuse / recycling centre, on one occasion posting what felt like years worth of magazines into the paper recycling; once we were done there was a big chunk of work done and one more thing off Mum and Dad’s minds.
The prospect of Mum and Dad divesting themselves of the home we’ve had as a family for 25 years is a weird one… I clearly see the logic of the choice, and the rational part of my head is completely on board with the plan, but there is no escaping that a small part of me is quite sad about the closing of this chapter of our family’s story. Friends of mine that have visited Broughton House will know what I mean when I say that the house is a singular and unusual building, and that uniqueness is one thing that I will miss, but far more important than that are the memories of the house being full of family and friends, life and laughter. In the end all things must end, and I am ok with that, but I would like to think that I will have a couple more chances to visit the place before we finally wave it goodbye.
We had a quick dinner and then Dad took me and my bike back to Wigan, so that I could catch my train and head back South. Annoyingly I needed to change at Crewe which meant a lot of to-ing and fro-ing with the bike, but once I was installed on the Crewe to Euston train I had the chance to relax and catch up on my tech reading, using iBooks on my iPhone – a setup I can recommend despite my expectations to find it disappointing. On arrival in Euston I had to ride across Central London to Paddington, and I ended up on a local stopper (slow train) that got me back to Reading just before 2300h.
After a swift ride home and a quick call with Lee-Anne I collapsed into bed, and was out like a light shortly after (I assume) – as I said at the beginning, I need another weekend to get over this one 😉