Along a similar theme to the Car blog, I got to thinking about all the places I’d lived in the last 45 years.  Again, these are places I’ve spent at least a few months living at, and not just a few weeks visiting.  I’ll save that list for another blog!

  • St Wilfred’s Grove, Leeds – my Grandma and Grandad’s house, and where I was born!  I lived here for the first six months of my life until my Mum and Dad bought their own house just down the road.  Up until moving to North Wales, I spent most weekends here, as even when we lived in Harrogate, we came across to Leeds almost every week.
  • Foundry Avenue, Leeds – my first ‘family home’ where eventually my younger sister joined me.  We lived here until I was about 5 and had just started primary school before my Dad’s job moved us about 20 miles away to Harrogate.  Only thing I remember about this house is the swing in the back garden!
  • Olive Grove, Harrogate – I lived here for most of my time at Starbeck Primary School, before moving to a slightly bigger house about 10 minutes walk away.  It was an end terrace and remember playing tennis up against the wall for hours on end.
  • Woodlands Crescent, Harrogate – we lived here for about another three years, before leaving Yorkshire for the first time.
  • Grant Drive, Hawarden (North Wales) – my Dad’s job took us to another country, although it was less than 10 miles over the border from England and the nearest city Chester.  I finished my education at Hawarden High School and found my football team – Chester Football Club – here and also met many of the people I’d come to call ‘best friends’ for the rest of my life.  Some happy times here, and some sad ones too, as my parents eventually split up, and although my Dad stayed in the house for several years afterwards, and I continued to stay during the holidays while at University, it was eventually sold.
  • Folkstone Ave, Hull – my first ‘home’ away from home during my first year at Humberside Business School.  It was a small house lived in by the owner, and while we didn’t see much of each other, we got on OK, and it was a cheap and cheerful room for a student.  It was a little strange though, almost with an outside toilet (in a lean-to at the back of the house) and a bath in the kitchen under a lift-up work surface.  Looking back now, what was I thinking?
  • Millersville University, PA (USA) – during my 1st year in Hull, I’d applied for an exchange program in the USA.  I never imagined I’d be successful, but I was chosen as one of the lucky nine so got to spend a year during 1991-92 living in the halls of residence at Millersville University in Pennsylvania!  It was a fantastic year, and I travelled up and down the East coast of America during the semester breaks, hosted a radio show on the college radio station, and ignited a love for travelling around America I still have today.
  • Beverley Road, Hull – back to Hull for my 3rd year, which was a work placement year. I spent it working at what was now called Humberside Polytechnic, in the Placements Office trying to find placements for the current year two students!  I lived a short walk away with a friend of a friend from my 1st year and had a great time enjoying student life with the benefit of a modest salary and my Ford Fiesta to get around.  Getting up in the morning was often a challenge, but it was a good year and nice to be back in Hull.  I also met a girl during this year, who I’d spend the next ~seven years!
  • Folkstone Ave, Hull – for my final year at University, I went back to the house where I’d started as (a) it was cheap and (b) I thought I wouldn’t have some of the distractions living in a shared house.  It didn’t work out quite as planned as in early 1994 I had a major falling out with the live-in landlord and choose to move out into a shared house with some friends for the last 3-4 months of my University life.  Probably not the best decision I’ve ever made, but we live and learn!
  • Worthing Street, Hull – this was the shared house where I spent those months.  Although I had my space, it was much more challenging with the distractions of living with a bunch of other students, most of whom were in either their 2nd or 3rd years, so didn’t have the final year pressure to worry about.  In hindsight, I suspect this was probably the difference between a 2i and 2ii, although I’ll never know for sure.
  • Shakespeare Towers, Leeds – after leaving University and spending a little time back in North Wales with my Dad, I decided I wanted to move back to Leeds and try and find a job.  I ended up spending about six months living with my Grandma on the 15th floor of a tower block directly opposite St James Hospital.  I even managed to get a short temporary job working at the hospital, before getting the job at Unipart, in part through the friend I’d lived with at Beverley Road in Hull.  It’s not what you know….
  • Cardigan Ave, Leeds – living with my Grandma was good, although I think we started to get under each other’s feet after a while, and a room became available in a shared house with three girls who were doing the same course as my girlfriend at the time.  It was a big house, and while I didn’t spend much time there, was handy for the social life in Headingley.
  • Mitford Road, Leeds – it seemed like the right time to move into a house with my girlfriend at the time, and this is the one we found to rent.  It was good for a year or so, and one of her friends moved in for a while to help pay the bills.
  • Westerdale, Newcastle Upon Tyne – when my job took me up to the North East, we decided to buy a house together.  Big steps, but we’d probably been together about 4-5 years at this point!  We ended up buying it from a work colleague, who was moving back to Scotland, and whose job I was effectively taking over. It was a lovely house, in a quiet estate in Wallsend, and it was only when we came to sell it that it maybe wasn’t the greatest decision I’ve ever made.  I don’t think we got a full survey when we bought it, but when it came time to sell about two years later, we found structural problems that needed fixing.  We’d also spent quite a lot replacing all the windows, so while I don’t think we lost money, we certainly didn’t make any when we came to move, and given the housing market was quite buoyant at the time we probably should have done
  • Kelham Hall Drive, Oxford – when I first moved down to Oxford, I stayed with a good friend for about 3-4 months and travelled back up to Newcastle most weekends.  It worked quite well, apart from the time we were visiting a supplier in Holland and I’d left my passport at home.  A last minute change of flights, a long drive, and an altercation with the police resulted, although I did eventually make it!
  • Nineveh Farm, Oxford – we couldn’t find anything we liked to buy in Oxford, so as a short-term solution found a cottage on a farm to rent.  We ended up staying there for just over two years, although when I say we, for the last six months I lived there alone!  Again, looking back, not buying somewhere in Oxford was a big mistake as house prices rocketed and we lost out on that.  The house I’d stayed in at Kelham Hall Drive almost doubled in value in less than five years, but hey ho!  I had some fun times at the farm, and it was only 5 minutes drive to work, although I never really felt at home in Oxford and was happy to leave in the end.  I did meet someone else while in Oxford, who worked at Unipart, and we’re still together today, so this had a bearing on most (not all) of my future house decisions!
  • Bradford Street, Chester – After finishing at Unipart, I decided I wanted to move back to North Wales, where a lot of my friends still lived.  I ended up moving in with one of my best friends who had a spare room in his house in Chester.  I had a great six months here, although I suspect he found it somewhat more difficult having to head out to work each day, while I stayed home and played on the PlayStation all day!
  • High Street, Connahs Quay – I eventually moved out and into another friends house, who had just bought somewhere but needed some help with the rent.  I ended up staying there for about another six months, although some of my belongings stayed there for a little longer!  I also got myself a temporary job, which was required to keep the Lancia running!  I also spend quite a bit of time in the USA, as my girlfriend was working for GE in Stanford, CT.  I probably visited every other month, while she came back in between.
  • Velocity, Leeds – when my girlfriend returned from the US, we decided to rent somewhere together in Leeds.  It was a brand new apartment block, some of which were still under construction when we moved in.  It was only a 5-minute walk into the city centre, and we had a good 18 months living there.  Eventually, it was just too small, and it was time to get back on the property ladder.  I’d sold the house in Wallsend back in 1998, and it was now 2003!  In hindsight, those five years probably cost me thousands and thousands of pounds, but no point worrying over spilt milk 😉
  • Whyment Close, Leeds – this was the house we finally decided to buy, and we bought it without actually going inside.  It was a new build on an estate just outside Leeds, in Churwell.  It was a three-story Town House with a garage, bedroom/office, utility room and toilet/shower downstairs, a lounge and kitchen on the 1st floor, and three bedrooms (one ensuite) and a bathroom upstairs.  We live there for about four years, before deciding to move up to Scotland (she’s Scottish) but we still own the house today, and rent it out through an agency.  It pretty much pays for itself, and it’s now considered to be part of our pension planning!
  • Back Station Road, Linlithgow – when we moved up to Scotland, we couldn’t find anything to buy so rented a small 2-bed apartment for seven months.  It was nice enough and convenient for the town and train station.  A little too handy at times, as when large fast trains went past the place shook.  We knew it was just for a few months though and gave us the opportunity to find where we live today
  • Oatlands Park, Linlithgow – and that’s here!  We’ve been here now for almost eight years, and for the last five have been joined by our daughter.  Linlithgow is a great little town (more of a village) with excellent access on the train to Glasgow and Edinburgh.  While the small high street has most of the things you might need, it’s also quite rural, and we live right on the southern edge, can be out in the countryside in a matter of minutes.  It is up a pretty steep hill, but that’s my only complaint.  From the outside, it looks quite small, but it’s big enough for the 3 of us, and in a very friendly neighbourhood with great schools and some good friends.   Other than maybe Grant Drive, this is now the house I’ve spent the most time in, and I suspect will spend much more time here while my daughter goes to school.  That’s good though, as I feel at home here, and after some hard work and saving, we now own it.  Who knows, maybe my daughter’s house history will be a little different to mine…..

 

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