Thursday, 24 October 2013

Our House In The Back Garden - Growing Up On A Building Site

It was the summer of 1976. I was six and my Brother was four. We were a bit different from most families because we lived in a big mobile home in the garden. For twelve months we lived in our back garden, while our Dad built our house. Hardly anyone self built during that period, especially in a London borough, so our Mum & Dad were quite the brave couple.

Mum & Dad


The caravan in the garden was big and it was green, with all the mod cons needed for a family to live very comfortably and when my memory wanders back to our time living there, I can hear the radio playing Leo Sayer's 'You Make Me Feel Like Dancing' and I can see my Mum doing her keep fit exercises wearing her bold 70's bikini, every time she flew into a jumping jack the whole caravan shook and we would giggle hysterically. Looking red faced and flustered Mum shooed us outside.

London suffered a heatwave that year, (the reason Mum was bouncing around in her bikini), so it was a long hot summer, this meant that we could spend most of our time playing outside. The surrounding garden was fenced off all the way around with six foot high wooden fence & trellis and a gate in the middle that had a big, black cast iron latch, the smell of creosote was intense. It was a very plain garden, with grass that had turned a dusty brown due to the hose pipe ban and the dry desert like conditions. Bright orange marigolds stood to attention around the fence, alongside tomato's and spring onions. My old grey rocking horse stood rusty and faded in the corner, my Brothers yellow Tonka dump truck left abandoned and full of sand, an Action Man precariously sat on top. 

From the other side of the fence we could hear the noisy crunching sound of Dads churning cement mixer and the tapping of the trowel as bricks were being laid. We chased our yellow Labrador Biscuit round in circles until we were dizzy and then we tried hopelessly to coax our tortoise, Catherine out from underneath the caravan, where she peacefully lived. Mum suddenly appears from inside the caravan, this time wearing a long, flower patterned, flowing skirt over the top of her bikini bottoms, her hair black and wavy, she is carrying a tray of tea for Dad and uncle Tom. I always thought my Mum looked beautiful. We were happy kids with dirty knee's and grubby hands because our life was an adventure growing up on the building site, that was our back garden.


Our newly completed house, from the back garden



Mammasaurus - How Does Your Garden Grow?

16 comments:

  1. Oh my don't you look like your mum! I love how you write, I was transported back in time then. How great to grow up in such a productive and fun environment, must have been a blast - memories of tonka trucks and action men here too.
    I remember thinking my mum was just the most beautiful woman too, admiring her clothes in her wardrobe - something I like to try and remind myself when I am having a day where I feel like crap and look like death, to my children I'm a shining vision of beauty!

    Thanks for joining in and sharing xxx

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  2. just hopped over from Annie's blog. I love this post, beautifully written! sounds like an exciting time x

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  3. What a beautiful memory and beautiful pictures. I've just commented myself about how I love my kid's having dirty knees. To me, it means that they have been living it up, having fun and exploring. And outside:-)

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  4. such loving memories. what a beautiful way to grow up!

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  5. Oh I have some memories of there, ah biscuit loved that dog. I remember coming to visit . When I arrived your mum had gone to collect you from school. I needed the toilet really bad lol. So one of the caravan windows was open so I decided to climb in. Half way in I got stuck because my skirt got caught in the window latch. You mum and me laughed ourselves silly over it for weeks . Can you imagine what the neighbours would have said if they saw legs sticking out of the window . Nice post as always em xxxx

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  6. Love your memories. Funny, but I can remember my mom wearing her housecoat and then dressing up just before my dad came home from work. She would never admit that she did that. But I guess she did not want to get her good clothes dirty while she was cleaning and cooking. My 88 year old mom just had heart procedures last weekend. You might enjoy her blog post about her experience. www.ridgesofleecounty.blogspot.com
    Linda

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  7. I love this post, so evocative and happy. I've just popped over from Annie's linky and have loved being transported to a different time xx

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  8. Hi there! What a lovely post, full of wonderful childhood memories and happiness! Thanks for stopping by too!

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  9. Great memories and wonderful nostalgia!

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  10. Wow what a fabulous post. Just love the way you write, almost feels like you're there with you. Such great memories too. Just wonderful :)

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  11. Aww great post, lovely memories :)

    Thanks for sharing ,,,

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  12. Such an evocative post! I grew up in rural Wales, where living out of caravans was more common. My best friend lived in one for several years, while her Dad built their massive home! Then promptly put it up for sale. I hope that you got to enjoy your home for a bit longer. A lovely blog.

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  13. Those are amazing memories.... so clear and vivid, and I remember that summer as well (we went on holiday to Cornwall I think). Very, very impressed your parents built your home!!!! There's a real free spirit energy that runs in your family.X

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  14. Wow you have an amazing writing style, it almost felt as if I were there. Lovely post :) xx

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  15. Oh I love this so much, I love the whole 70s picture you painted, it took me right back to my own childhood and I adore the picture of your mum and dad, it's wonderful.

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