Tag Archives: Lindsay Higgs

Scrap Book Project – Houses, Ledwell Drive, Glenfield

9 Ledwell Drive

After a couple of years living close to Leicester city centre in Tyndale Street my parents were ready for a move and were looking to go up a rung or two on the housing ladder, Dad had had a promotion at work at Leicestershire County Council working at the Education Department so the time was right to move on.

They chose the village of Glenfield which is three miles to the west of the city and in the 1950s was expanding quickly with new houses being built on the Frith Estate which was land that once belonged to nearby Frith Hall, a stately home set in parkland and surrounded by small farms.  What a shame that a house like that would be demolished.

Glenfield 1964

My parents bought a brand new semi-detached house built by Jelson homes in Ledwell Drive almost at the centre of the new development.  It was still a building site really because at the time we moved in only one side of the road was completed and the other was still under construction.

I don’t know why it was called Ledwell Drive, there doesn’t appear to be a local connection and the surrounding roads have no pattern as they would for example on a poets estate or a birds estate. The first house I ever bought was on Frobisher Road in Rugby on the Admiral’s Estate – Nelson, Drake, Blake, Freemantle etc.

I cannot find another Ledwell Drive in the UK but have come across two in the USA.  The first is in Seymour, Tennessee which looks like an up market sort of place in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains and the second is in the small township of Rocky Springs in North Carolina.

I was only two years old when we moved in and we left when I was four so I don’t remember very much about living in this house.  I do recall the building site opposite because one day I was crawling through a drainage pipe and cut my head open as I went through and I still have the scar to prove it.

Living here did provide one defining moment in my life – it gave me a life-long fear of dogs.  My dislike for them started when I was taken one day for a walk by my granddad and on a piece of waste land opposite the house and an Alsatian dog knocked me to the ground, pinned me down and stood on my chest.  The inconsiderate owner had let it off its leash and I was absolutely terrified.  Lucky for me that granddad was able to shoo it off and chase it away or else I was sure to have been a 1958, child chewed to death by a dog, statistic.  I have never recovered from the shock of that incident.

Dad worked hard on the house, he decorated it, he dug the garden, he put up pelmets, he put down paths, dug a vegetable patch and built a rockery.  Wherever we lived Dad always built a rockery!  The family got bigger and in October 1957 my sister Lindsay was born.

Andrew and Lindsay

We didn’t stay in this house very long, I am not really sure why but it probably had something to do with Dad’s job.  In May 1957 he was appointed to the post of ‘Land Charges Clerk’ at Hinckley Urban District Council at an annual salary of £533.  That doesn’t sound a lot but it meant that his salary had rocketed by nearly 125% in just four years.  That is a serious increase in anyone’s career and salary and I can only imagine how excited he must have been at that time.  In the year 1990 my salary increased by 35% in one jump when I got a new job and for a few months, until expenditure caught up with income, I thought that I was a millionaire.

Surely the sensible thing to do was move to Hinckley, Dad didn’t drive or have a car and it is about sixteen miles from Glenfield.  He used to cycle to work, there and back every day, I cannot imagine what a chore that must have been.

Assuming he could make ten miles an hour that would have been three hours a day cycling back and forth to work.  If he got a puncture he had to walk, in the rain I remember him having a yellow oilskin cape and a sou’wester rain hat.  Later he bought a moped but it was forever breaking down so he went back to the push bike.  In the Winter it must have cost a fortune in Ever Ready batteries just for the front and rear lights! Surely the sensible thing to do was move to Hinckley!

The house today is much the same as it was in 1956.  The front garden has gone and been converted to parking spaces, there is a garage at the side and it has plastic windows but if he could pull up on his bike at the front door and go back and look at it I am certain that Dad would recognise it instantly.

And so we moved house again – but not to Hinckley!

This is me doing my French onion seller impression sitting on Dad’s rockery…

9 Ledwell Drive Glenfield

And outside the original front door in October 1958…

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A Life in a Year – 4th February, Facebook and a Family Disagreement

The social networking site ‘Facebook’ went online on 4th February 2004 and whilst it has no doubt brought some people closer together, and has some value in that, it has also been responsible for breaking families up.  Unfortunately I am an example of the latter experience.

I joined the site in Spring 2007, principally to keep in touch with my children, and like most people set about setting up a big network of friends as it seemed that popularity was measured by how many gravitars started to appear down the left hand side of the screen.  I started in the obvious place with family and friends and then progressed to current work colleagues, old work colleagues, old school chums, random people with the same surname and then finally, and quite bizarrely (everybody does it), complete strangers.

Suddenly my life was a risky open book and I was living and sharing it with a dangerously increasing audience.  Luckily I realised this quite quickly and soon began to remove the strangers, the people with the same surname, the old school friends and previous work colleagues who I realised I had no real desire to keep in touch with and then finally the current work colleagues because sharing my holiday snaps and private thoughts with them served no purpose whatsoever and made me perilously accessible and vulnerable.

So my list of contacts started to shrink but I carried on reducing it even though I was teased by my children for having so few friends.  When I was back to family only, my own children obviously, and my brother and sister and their children, I thought this was a safe place to stop but how wrong I was because I was only days away from a family catastrophe that had the intensity of a tropical storm and nearly four years later still hasn’t blown over.

 

This is how it happened:  By the summer of 2007 I had grown bored with my ‘wall’ being cluttered up with nonsense and trivia and especially that of my niece who used the site principally to share the details of her love life, desires, sexual adventures and infatuations, sometimes dozens of times every single day.  So, having nothing particularly in common with her, except for a few shared genes, I removed her from my list of friends.  I meant nothing by it except that I didn’t think that it was appropriate for me to have access to her private thoughts in this way.  There was nothing malicious in what I did, it didn’t mean that I didn’t want her as my niece or even my friend I just didn’t want to share my life with her on Facebook. It was as simple as that.

One day in August, even though she didn’t have a clue what I was talking about, I told my mum about this, thought nothing more about it and then went off on a backpacking holiday to Greece.  In the first week or so we stayed in Athens and then visited the islands of Naxos, Ios, Sikinos and Folegandros and in this time it never occurred to me once to use an internet café or to access my Facebook account but in Ios for a second time there was a computer with complimentary internet access so one afternoon I couldn’t resist the temptation to log on.  There was a message that a picture of me had been tagged so naturally curious I had a look.  Yes, there was my picture and a tag that said ‘how disgusting, it makes me feel sick to look at it’ (Facebook wasn’t quite so secure in 2007) and it had been put there by my delightful niece.  At first I thought this could be explained by a sense of humour but I was a bit hurt and I didn’t like it so I untagged it, closed the site down and really thought no more about it.

When I got home however all was revealed.  It turned out that it had nothing to do with her sense of humour at all, she had taken unnecessary offence at her removal from my list of friends and she meant every nasty word of it.  Mum, you see, had innocently told my sister that I had taken her off my friends list and the reason why and she had blown her stack.  When I returned home I had even fewer friends on Facebook because my sister and her two sons had removed me, one of them was going to punch me in the face if he ever saw me again and the really sad thing is that I have barely spoken with my sister ever since except to squabble.

I don’t suppose that you could ever have described us as being devoted to each other, after all being related doesn’t oblige you to be friends or even like each other, but we used to get on well enough on the few times that we ever met or spoke.  For a short time in 2003 when dad was ill and passed away we became quite close but that was only temporary because shortly afterwards things returned to normal and sadly in respect of our fragile sibling relationship the Facebook incident has turned out to be terminal.

Since then I have met with Lindsay only one time.  That was in May 2008 when I was on a golfing holiday with my brother in Spain and she was staying close by in her apartment at La Maquesa so we arranged to meet one night in a Spanish restaurant in the town of San Miguel de Las Salinas.  It was a pleasant enough evening (except for Richard’s son Scott making an unfortunate gaff) and for a brief moment I thought we may have mended the broken bridge but at the end of the evening I put my arm around her and kissed her to say goodbye and her response was so cold and unresponsive that it made me shiver and I knew that the bridge was still in ruins. 

 We have never spoken to each other since.