Traveller's tales

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Diary of a genetically unmodified traveller: Nostalgia

Wandering nearer to home – around the haunts of my misspent youth – pubs and such – well, trying to, with all the non-stop traffic along the High Street of one of my favourite villages hindering my progress like it never seemed to do back in the days – and nights when I took two forward and one back on my way home after closing time.

Now it’s all Ye Olde Tea Shoppes and Estate Agents with windows full of overpriced des res’s, but it is a lot prettier than I remember it on my way to school, walking past fields and spaces between houses – patches of spare land – now mostly and sadly built on. Rarer than plutonium are spare patches of land in Saddleworth these days, and probably just as costly too.

Cash points in the gable ends of almshouses – it’s just a metaphor dear - former mills made up into so many nice flats – and me wondering where that good second hand bookshop went to.

Slices of pizza and a coffee to go instead of the Milk Bar in The Square – remember? You must do if you’re my age.

And nice sunny weather for a change, giving everything and everybody a summery look at last – shoppers looking up and smiling at other shoppers rather than looking down at the pavement to avoid getting their feet wet.

Shops with their doors open – rays of sunlight speckled with dust and pollen and me with time on my hands – time to crane my neck in the manner of lovers of books everywhere – a nice helpful bloke looking after his daughter’s shop while she ‘s at a Book Fair in Huddersfield looking for more books to fill her shelves.

And sandwiches and cups of tea – folks chatting on forms in lovely, flowery St Chads.

No, nostalgia’s not what it used to be – but it will be one day!

Robert L. Fielding

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