Our house was situated on the brow of a gently sloping street called Church Lane, which got it’s name from the old church that discretely nestles in an undulating, hallowed, grassy reservoir at the bottom end. A remnant of times long gone, parts of it Norman, the church is unencumbered by the hustle and bustle of contemporary traffic which traverses the busy main road that separates it from us. It is a visually charming site to behold: cream-coloured stoney façade; stocky castellated bell tower inset with a large, circular clock face the colour of lapis lazuli. Gold-coloured roman numerals and decorative hands warn that time is ticking, and that it will soon be time you meet your maker. To some, it remains a seductive and insinuating reminder and that life is relatively fleeting, and that God is forever.
Our house was one in the midst of a row of other houses of the same ilke: red-bricked with two large square windows facing the road: one up - the master bedroom window, and one below - the front room window. Beyond the lower front window, the logically named ‘front room’ is situated. Here inhabited the wood-framed, chintzy, really uncomfortable, three-piece suite, that was generously commandeered by my mum on the death of my great-grandma. A shiny, oak-veneered china cabinet stoically leant against the back wall, presenting to the interested observer a blue, flower-patterned, never used, china dinner service; and several highly-valued (though probably relatively worthless) cape de monte figurines that mum couldn’t resist purchasing from a handsome, sweet-talking market trader one sultry summer afternoon when anything seemed possible, even the implausible rise in value of dodgy pottery purchased on Sunday markets. The front room was generally cold as radiators were only turned on during the Festive Season. Unfortunately, anyone who came a knocking at the front door at other times of the year were invariably ignored as we couldn’t hear them from the distant living room, where we usually reposed. Mum looked upon this as quite advantageous, as she generally wasn’t in the mood to receive unexpected guests.
To cut a long story short: