I originally scanned the two photos in this post for use in the epic My Worst Photos series. But looking at them today, and having applied a couple of digital tweaks, I figured they didn’t quite belong there. So instead here they are in a little nostalgic post about the first home we bought after getting married in 1984.

So here’s the first:


I call this grainy gem Back of the House But With the Top of the Roof Cut Off. You can see why I thought it might qualify as among my worst efforts. When we bought it there were two bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs; the bathroom is the top left window, and it had a net curtain because, having originally been a bedroom, there was no obscure glass in the window. (These houses were built with a downstairs bathroom; the space created by moving it upstairs became a dining room.)

The flat-roofed ground floor extension was billed as a “sun lounge” by the estate agent but wasn’t much use for anything except storage. Still, it gave us somewhere to grow our tomato plants, as you can see. It was also the site of a famous DIY cock-up of mine, when I was cutting a worktop and managed to confuse millimetres with centimetres!

The fence was rickety, the patio uneven. But it was our first home. You can tell how long ago it was by the presence of the dustbin by the back door. Back in the olden days, refuse collectors used to come round the back of your house and collect the dustbins. Recycling? What’s that?

And so we come to the second offering, entitled View from the Back Bedroom:


Just look at our lovely garden. It was a fair size but we never really got it how we wanted in the two short years we lived there. At the end of the lawn I was excavating for a raised bed or rockery that never got finished. And all that bare soil beyond that had been full of rose bushes, painstakingly dug out in readiness for something or other that never happened. To the right of the concrete path was an area we also cleared to try some vegetable and fruit growing. I think we had about eight strawberries, and our little lettuces were doing well until the birds ate them all.

The windows, as you can tell, were wooden-framed, with the openers having metal frames. They were single-glazed and horrible. We couldn’t afford double glazing and they regularly ran with condensation. Eeee, young folk nowadays don’t know they’re born…

Right at the end of the garden was a rather subtle feature: a massive Scots pine tree that regularly filled the garden with cones and needles. I suppose it was planted to try to disguise the less than glorious view of the factory. This was the William Cotton factory which made machinery for the textile industry. In fact, the company was sold in 1985 (the year we moved out) and the site finally demolished in 1987. There’s now a housing estate on the site, so I guess the view from that window will be a little better…

There are still a few more of my ancient pics to come, so watch this space!