Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Taking my Mum down memory lane

I took my Mum up to Tyneside a couple of months back to give her a chance to see how places had changed (or stayed the same).

We started in the West End, where she had lived with Neil (and eventually me as well) after getting married in the mid 50s. The West Road is a secondary retail area and some of the shops were still going, ran by the youngsters of the original tradesmen. It wasn't a wealthy area and still isn't, but it felt vibrant and on the up, especially with the increased cultural mix. We got some Black Bullets in Walkers the Newsagent, reminisced about Spicker the Optician (still going as a Partnership, I probably still have the odd glasses case with M.C.M. Spicker FSMC FBOA (Dunelm) engraved on it). We looke din the window of Jimmy Quinn the butcher (I burned my finger on his motorbike manifold and broke my Avengers John Steed plastic sword (in an umberella) with his Dad's knife sharpening stick in an "ON GUARD!" moment). We went to look at our old flat (plural, upstairs and downstairs, now amalgamated into one) and she reminisced about her friend who had a flat over some of the shops, different smells in every room!

After driving down to look at my first school (much bigger than she remembered it) we checked out the council estate where we moved to and where she ran a Goldfinch Wines shop for a number of years. (It did a good trade in draught sherry, bring your own bottle!) We went up to the smaller Leech Estate where we subsequently moved to (& they both lived in for another 15 years) where she was pleased to see the garden looking fine.

We then went over to Gosforth, where she had been the Manager of Moods, a Fancy Goods store. This was her first disappointment, the High Street looking bleak, grubby and uncared for. The shop had to go to make way for the Regent Centre, which felt so empty and bereft of shops that it almost had Tumbleweed rolling through the malls.

We finished off the day down by the "NewcastleGateshead" Quayside, an area that has improved by leaps and bounds. Pat wasn't really up to climbing Dog Leap Stairs but enjoyed the Baltic and the Millennium Bridge. The Sage Coffee Bar was a bit overpriced though, so we went to Scotch Corner Services instead on the way back to Leeds.

(This way to the egress...)


Liz said...

What's an egress? I thought it was something to do with birds. They definitely only want you to use it in an emergency though!

Sounds like a great trip for your mum. And you. Memories. They're so important, the past having played such a large part in who we have become.

Shades said...

An Egress is an exit or way out.

P.T. Barnum supposedly put up a sign saying "This way to the Egress" when one of his museums of curiosities got too crowded as people didn't want to leave.

Lord Straf-Ruhr said...

Sometimes we have to do these things, to touch base, s it were. I wish I could so I'll just do it vicariously through you.

Colin Campbell said...

I am not too nostalgic for my past except when I travel to Scotland. I hope to take my kids there before too long. They both got to meet my Grandfather before he died last time we went. It is just so bloody expensive to take the family.

Shades said...

Jocko, are you worried that they might hate it? The weather isn't exactly Oz!