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A Trip Down Memory Lane

Blog date January 2017

Last weekend was a much anticipated trip to Mid-Wales for a long weekend away. The plan was to take the motorcycles and explore the delights of Wales in the winter. However the winter weather put pay to those plans. Freezing temperatures and a forecast of snow unfortunately caused the bikes to stay wrapped up while the car was called into action. We still managed to make the best of it and had a lovely time. We have vowed to return at a future date with the bikes because we discovered some gorgeous routes just made for motorcycle riding.

With a weekend off the bike it did mean that come the following weekend I simply had to ride, even if the weather was cold, damp and grey. I have to have my medicine you know, I go a bit crazy otherwise.

It is Envy's turn today. As soon as I am on the Kawasaki she makes me smile. I really am beginning to love this bike. I adore the soft rumble she makes, her agility and smoothness. Her torque has me grinning from ear to ear. Baaaaarrpp!!. This bike really is a dream to ride. If I could sum her up in one word what would it be...hmmm...fun, sexy, feisty...yes she is all those things but hmmm...QUALITY...yes that is the word I am looking for. Everything about the Kawasaki Z250SL screams QUALITY!!

The bike's amazing agility is unfortunately soon called into action. I am on a narrow winding road bordered by woodland on one side and a ditch on the other. For some reason (a 6th sense? a witches instinct?) I decide to pay very close attention to the next sharp bend. I mean I always pay attention when on a winding road but this was something different. I tell myself over and over...watch the vanishing point, watch the vanishing point. Just as well I had had become super vigilant...flying out of the blind bend comes a silver car, heading straight towards me, fully on my side of the road.

Due to paying such close attention to the bend I have time to take avoiding action...just!! I manage to swerve around the car. I have said it before and no doubt I will say it often enough to get on your nerves but this bike's agility is awesome. I did not have to haul her around the car. I thought it and she responded with my mind. Just as well because there was not enough time to think and then act in this situation. If I had been in a car it would have been a head on smash. If I had been on a less agile bike and had I not been so focused...well. errr...lets not dwell on that.

My heartbeat recovers soon enough and I continue on my way to meet up with Ren. Not long ago I found myself surprised to realise I was riding along with ease. Today I find I am surprised how quickly I recover from a scary situation. Yikes!! Does this mean it is about time I stopped thinking of myself as a new learner rider. Do I elevate myself into the dizzy heights of being a seasoned rider? Oh dear, oh deary me I like having the excuse of being a learner whenever I mess up. What will be my excuse now??

Ren and I ride with no particular destination in mind. Just good to be out on the bikes. We find ourselves in Lymm, Cheshire. I was born in Lymm the old fashioned way, not in hospital but at home. However my time as part of the Cheshire set was short . My family soon moved from Lymm to a rented council house in Partington. Geographically Partington is only next door to Lymm but a million miles away in lifestyle.

Due to currently being under investigation for a genetic condition it has been necessary to think of my family members, both past and present. I have, as most people do, some lovely memories from my childhood but also some not so pleasant. As these memories are swirling in my mind I decide that now may be the time to re-visit the home I grew up in at Partington. If you are a regular reader of my blogs you will know I have zero sense of direction. So when I tell Ren I will lead him from Lymm to Partington he is somewhat dubious. I am somewhat dubious myself. The last time I did this route was in my pram being pushed by my mother.

Fortunately the route is not complicated and in no time at all I turn into Oak Road. This road leads to Cheshire Road where my childhood home is situated. It has been a long time since I last came here. It is a very different from my childhood memories. The local shops where I once used to collect my 10 penny mixed bag of sweets now stand empty, derelict and graffiti scrawled. I ride past Bluebell woods, my place of escape and freedom. I spent hours here as a child running through the carpet of bluebells in spring, playing house in little wooden houses and sliding down the giant slide. My very first motorcycle ride was within these woods. My uncle had a motorbike and we went for a ride up and down the dirt tracks. I totally loved it and my biker spirit was born within the trees, (Maybe this is why my favourite riding is still down dirt tracks within woodland). Since that day I always dreamed of owning my own motorbike.

Today I suspect the bluebells will be few if any at all have survived. The wooden houses are long gone. A rusty metal swing stands silent and neglected......
Where have all the children gone?
Gone to computers, every one.
Oh when will they ever learn,
Oh when will they ever learn?
(Taken from the old hymm I used to sing in school, Where have all the flowers gone?)

Past the woods and the next road is Cheshire Road. I first learned to ride a bicycle in this road and today I ride in on a very different bike. This is so strange, it is sort of how I recall it but also not the same. Somehow the road has shrunk. The road is a circular design. The grass circle that used to be just at the end of the road has now been extended to fill the full length of the road and is now also fenced. Speed bumps have also been installed. I guess this is what made the road feel a lot less spacious.

Black and white photo from early 70s, Sharon in the arms of her motherTiny me within the protective arms of my wonderful mum

I pull up outside my old house. I moved into the house when it was brand new and shiny. 40 years on it has lost its shine. There are no flowers now in the garden and the fencing is old and broken in parts. Gone too are the large pink and blue hydrangeas I used to to sit beside for hours playing in the dirt with my Cowboys and Indians and my toy soldiers. I had few toys as a small child. Most of what I owned was pased down from my uncles and cousins, all of whom were boys. My first baby doll was a brick. Brick baby provided hours of fun. I would mix it up a pile of mud and spoon feed the lovely mud pie into its mouth (the hole in the brick). I would then lift up the brick and hey presto brick baby would go to the toilet. Who needed Tiny Tears? I did eventually find a real doll in a skip, he was scribbled all over in ink and had no eyes. I took him home, scrubbed him with Vim and made him eyes out of Plasticine. I called him Ricky and loved him very much. Even when I eventually got given a real new doll Ricky remained my favourite.Toddler Sharon grabbing a toy pram in an old colour photoGive me your pram I want to put my brick baby in it.
An inflatable 70's paddling pool in the garden of Sharon's old houseIt was all so smart and new when I was a tiddler. (Me staying out of the water)
A young woman in the 70's, Sharon's mother stood by the garden fanceMy mum chatting over the fence to the neighbours. The good thing about this road was we all knew one another and were forever in and out of each other houses.

As I stare at the house I recall some good memories but also the horrific. My father was a violent alcoholic and his whole family suffered for his addiction. My mother ensured her children were never hit, she took the beating for all of us. But I heard it all and sometimes witnessed it. My mother found the courage to eventually escape and that is when she, myself and my sister left this house for good.

Sharon, her friend and her sister when they were all young childrenMe and my sister with our shared friend Maria in the middle. I don't have Maria as my friend anymore but I still have that bloody dimple.

I am not sure why I came here. Maybe it is because I now feel like a strong, empowered woman on my lean green racing machine. I can recall now in safety the small frightened child I was here and tell her it all worked out ok. Despite those bad memories I smile to myself. I have ridden many miles from where I started. I am happy with my life now. I kick my bike into gear and off we roar. I don't live here anymore. I recall a quote from the very moving book Penguin Bloom by Cameron Bloom " We are not our past, no matter how traumatic or life-changing it might have been."

So I leave my past behind me in my rear view mirrors and I ride off into the present. I did not have a motorcycle to escape on when I was little but I most certainly do now. ..Baaaaarrpp!!

Reader's Comments

Pocketpete said :-
Ah memory lane. So cute. Bet everything looked smaller. I visited my old house not so long ago and instead of the big garden I remembered it was tiny funny how memory plays tricks on the mind.
4/2/2017 3:30:38 PM UTC
Ian Soady said :-
Very thoughtful and moving Sharon.

I must say I have no desire at all to revisit the various places I grew up. Not that they have horrific memories - just that I don't feel there is anything that connects the present "me" to the many years ago version.
4/2/2017 4:05:56 PM UTC
Sharon said :-

I guess everything is so much bigger when we are little because we ourselves were so much smaller. I might not have grown much ha, but even I was much smaller once than I am now.


My visit here fortunately felt somewhat cathartic. I was always afraid of facing the ghost of my past. It is not like they have haunted me, I learned to leave then behind long ago. However I was unsure how it would feel facing them up close and personal. But happily they had no power over me. They could not keep up with my Kawasaki so they got left behind in the past where they belong.

I am somewhat proud my past did not control me but I had the power to shape myself. I recall being sat in school listening to a teacher harping on about kids from broken homes or violent homes etc, how they fail in school and how they will repeat those patterns. Basically according to her no hope for the likes of me what so ever. I had no intention of becoming a statistic. I left school with a large number of "O" levels and the highest score in English Literature the school had ever known. Not bad from a kid with all the wrong starts in life. I hate statistics, they put labels on people and put them in boxes. I was never one to sit in a box so I got to choose my own way.
4/2/2017 9:08:22 PM UTC

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