643 Home, sweet home – part 1

“Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home” – so says Henry Bishop’s celebrated song; but, all things considered, I would like to try a not so humble home some time.

Looking back through the different homes I’ve lived in, I think I can see a consistent pattern of living in, or buying, or inheriting, a fairly decent house, staying there till it got too shabby, then moving on, often losing a good deal of money in the process. Let’s examine the evidence.

Enfield

lin-back-garden-elmer-close-1963.jpg

I was born in this house; no. 12, Elmer Close, Enfield, then in the county of Middlesex. It was a very ordinary suburban semi in a very ordinary suburban cul-de-sac, 3 beds, 2 recep., kitchen and bathroom, small gardens to front and back.

There’s a bit of history to add. If you look it up on Google Maps or whatever, you’ll notice that Elmer Close is one of three very short roads on the north side of Enfield Road, the only such turnings for some distance in either direction.

There is a reason for this; when the house was built, in the late 1930s, there was a plan to fill the area between (I think) Enfield Road, Hadley Road, the Ridgeway and Cockfosters Road with a big housing estate. They had only built about 100 houses in the three roads when war broke out; in effect they had hardly started. Building work was suspended, and after the War the remaining land became part of the Green Belt, so the rest of the estate was never built. This meant, when I was growing up in the house, that there was just one road between our house and open countryside. From my bedroom (at the back of the house) I could look out and see cows in the fields.

There were still some faint traces of the countryside in the area; many more birds, butterflies, bees and wild plants than you would see now. I particularly remember the cow parsley; I loved the smell of it. There were allotments, too, which I suppose were put in place in the “dig for victory” spirit of the 1940s, and stayed there long afterwards*. My father had a very big allotment. If the Google Maps satellite picture is up to date, the allotments are still there now (Feb. 2008) You can see a wide path going down the middle and curving at the bottom, near the trees. This is where his allotment was.

I think these surroundings may be why I feel so at home where I am now – but that will come a great deal later.

In total I must have lived there for about 21 years, in bits and pieces. My first move away came in 1965, which will take us on to the next page.

A brief aside: in 2007 the house was sold for £375,00, about 4 times the price I got for it in 1998. As far as I can tell it is now worth about £100,000 more than my present home.

*Many years later I heard a rumour that the allotments were there only because the developers were in danger of exceeding the permitted housing density and they needed to thin the houses out a bit.

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One Response to “643 Home, sweet home – part 1”

  1. Debora Webster Says:

    I still love the smell of cow parsley – that obviously remained into the next generation’s era.

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